These last weeks...

Oh, it has been far too long since I've updated this space! I can't begin to include everything that's happened since the last time. So, a few glimpses at life here.....

1. Food. I survived cooking for a week! Actually, I was given a two-day reprieve, so it was five days in a row. My community were treated to tacos (none had heard of them), chili, and tuna casserole, among other things. I am happy to report that it was all well-received. (More or less... I only messed up one thing!) And no one went hungry.

Also, I had an occasion for churros y chocolate. Mmmmmmmmm........

2. We visited another community to have a conversation around the future of life in the Society of the Sacred Heart, following the Dreamcatchers process given to us by the congregation. It was in a sweet little town called Priego de Cordoba, which is in the middle of fields of olive trees. One of these days I'll compile a collection of all the weeping Madonnas and bleeding crucifixions we say ther…

Almeria y agricultura

(A few pics from the weekly market...)

One of the most interesting things here in Almeria is the way the agricultural industry has changed the landscape. I was shown a photo of Las Norias de Daza (the little town where I'm living) from probably 50 or 60 years ago, and in the photo there are maybe 16 small blocks of houses, a church, a school, and a community hall/center. And outside of this small 4 block x 4 block radius, all is desert. Nada!  Now, while the town is still pretty small, almost all of that land is full of houses, greenhouses, and all the other stuff that comes with more people and more industry. It is unbelievable to consider how much has changed in a very short time.

The history of this area (as told to me--so it might be only so accurate!) is that up to 40/50 years ago, it was the poorest part of Spain. We are in the desert, and so the people who lived here had very little. And then someone discovered a way to grow things: greenhouses. Using greenhouses, this area…

Two Migrant Stories

Hello, friends! It has been an interesting two weeks, with ups and downs, and several celebrations. First, my birthday was last week, and we celebrated with lovely food and an outing to a nearby town! I translated my family chocolate cake recipe into the measurements and ingredients available here, and by some miracle it turned out delicious.

Two stories....

We met our next door neighbors the other day, and it was delightful. They are a family from Morocco, a couple with three children and various other relatives living nearby. The father came to this area 20+ years ago, alone, and his family came to join him maybe 12 years ago. The father no longer works, though his wife and eldest son do. Their daughter, 20, is in college in Granada, and their youngest is in grade school. They have a lovely house and it seems they are close to others in the community. When we knocked on the door, they welcomed us in and make Moroccan tea, which is served in a beautiful tea set and with lots of sugar…

En mi salsa

This is the beginning of my second week in Almeria--which means that I'm doing things for the second time around rather than the first! It strikes me that there's a lot of anxiety in experiencing the new, at least when absolutely everything is new. The second week is therefore much easier!  Though maybe I should wait until Friday to say that for sure.

My schedule is still in process, but certain things are certain. Until the end of January, I will teach Spanish classes (basic vocabulary) on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-7:30 pm. We're working on the rooms of a house and the types of furniture in each room. Spanish seems to have a richer vocabulary than English. I keep finding things that have multiple words in Spanish and only one in English.. For example, a "sink" can mean basically any basin with running water. In Spanish, there's a word for the sink in the bathroom (lavabo) that's different from the one in the kitchen (fregadero), which is still differe…

Getting Settled

Hello, Friends and Family!

I have finally arrived in my home for the next several months, in a town called Las Norias de Daza, which is in the greater area called El Ejido, which itself belongs to Almeria. I haven't yet figured out what the divisions are called, but they roughly work out to municipality, county, and province/state for English speakers. The picture above is from my trip here, on the bus. I could see that from my window, and in the opposite direction the Mediterranean Sea.

Thanks to Google Maps, we can see where I am in Spain:

Epiphany in Granada

Hello from Granada! I got here late last week, with a cold.. so I had a few quiet restful days, and just a couple of adventures. First up: the Alhambra!  My visit was scheduled for 4 pm, so I got to see the light changing as the sun went down (sundown was just after 6). This is a view from the Generalife, which is at the top part of the hill on which the Alhambra sits. You can see the Alhambra over below the sun, and part of Granada down below. The gardens surrounding the Generalife are gorgeous (even though it's winter).

Many of the gardens were shaped in ways like this, and all of them had signs saying not to touch the plants.

 The arches of this style (I'm not sure what to call it--Mozarabic?) are all over Granada, and in some cases you can see them behind later modifications that were made when Christians returned to control. There is a great mix of architecture and art here in Granada, and not just at the Alhambra.
My weird little medieval heart went pitter-patter over this…