here now (survival + renewal)

Today’s post is coming at ya in honor of both Thanksgiving drawing near (stateside anyway) and the fact that we’ve officially passed the 20 day mark in the countdown to our departure from Spain (cue the ugly tears here). This post will probably also be a bit longer than some of the more recent ones, just as a disclaimer. #themoreyouknow

For the books, we’ll be departing from Madrid on Friday, December 11, so we really only have 19 days left in Spain, since that last travel day doesn’t really count. It’s really quite soon, and it’s hard to believe that we’ve already spent close to 3 months living in a completely different country, in a different language, with families that were strangers to us not too long ago. So, everyone back home, prepare yourselves. We’ll be back to terrorize you with endless stories, suitcases full of European clothes, and flubbed uses of English in no time.

But anyway, for the majority of this post, I wanted to write about some of the things that I’ve been reflecting on as Thanksgiving approaches, namely: survival + renewal as the title of this post suggests. And what those things mean may surprise some people, because while I like to think of myself as an open book, these aren’t the things that immediately bubble to the surface.

So let me start here: Continue reading “here now (survival + renewal)”

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it’s good to be alive

Hmm. Well, I figured that since I haven’t been around in a good month, now would be as good a time as ever to update the blog a little. (I’m blaming the whole craziness/wonder/excitement/what have you of studying abroad for the lack of consistent blog activity.)

Today officially marks day 80 of our #100daysinSpain, meaning that we have so little time remaining in this adventure. It’s been an absolutely wild ride. Since my last post, we’ve traveled to both the north and south of Spain, getting to see the cities of Córdoba, Sevilla, Málaga, Granada, and Barcelona over the course of 9 days, which was incredible and fueled many an Instagram, which I’m sure the world is well aware of at this point in life. We’ve gotten to walk along beaches in November, watch a flamenco tablao, visit one of the most famous (and still currently under construction) basilicas in the world, visit the site of the 1992 Olympics, and visit Hillsong Church Barcelona among a myriad of other exploits. It’s honestly unbelievable to think about, even writing this blog post. So, yeah, studying abroad, I would highly recommend that. You won’t regret it for a second.

But amidst all of our adventures, there’s also been a lot of time for reflection, which is something that continues to surprise me about Spain Term. I never would have thought I’d have so much down time to just think about life and the world and the things that God is doing in our lives on a semester of study abroad. That’s just not really what you picture when you think about it.

Hence, we’ve arrived at the title of this blog post. One overwhelming thought that I’ve had over the past few days is that it’s so good to be alive right now, a thought that while simple, encapsulates so many different things in so many different contexts. Continue reading “it’s good to be alive”

a case against self-defense

As many people know, Love Does is one my absolute favorite books. Aside from the incredible stories of the things that God can do when we open ourselves up to all of the very real possibilities, I think that part of the reason I like this book is that the stories also exemplify a sort of selflessness that we may or may not have thought much about before, selflessness in the form of complete unconditional and unabashed love. And I think that’s pretty cool.

If you watch any TV at all or happen to read any sort of article/magazine/what have you on relationships, it seems to me that they all try to get you to play this game where you sort of hint at your own feelings while making sure that there’s still enough space to play it off in case the other person isn’t feeling the same thing, and I don’t really like that making relationships has deteriorated to that in our culture. I think I resonate a lot more with some of these lyrics. Continue reading “a case against self-defense”

in between places

I think it’s the middle places and the in between times that I think are the hardest in any situation. You know, like the middle of a roadtrip, or the middle of a long line, or the middle of a class, or the middle of a difficult season in life (even though you probably don’t actually know that you’re in the middle). And I think that’s because there’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with being in the middles of things. You’re not really sure how much longer you have to go. You’re not sure how long it’ll take to get there. And you’re not quite sure if it’s worth it to keep going (or if it’s worth it to quit, considering that you’ve already gotten that far).

That middle and in between place is where I think a lot of us on Spain Term are at right now. Continue reading “in between places”

finding rest in the desert (literally)

finding rest in the desert (literally)

Sometimes I think about the way that God works things out and wonder why keep insisting on worrying and not trusting Him. But then I also remember that we’re human and that’s what we tend to do. We tend to get all nervous about things that God already told us would be just fine. Funny how that happens so often.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about the past week and a half or so, because I was definitely worrying about a lot of little things before I left to come to Spain. I was worried that I would forget to pack things. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to understand when people spoke to me in Spanish. I was worried that people wouldn’t understand when I tried to speak to them in Spanish. I was worried that I wouldn’t like or wouldn’t get along with my host family.  I was worried that this semester would be too hectic for me coming off of a period in life where I just burned myself out on school. I was worried that fall break would be stressful and difficult to plan. I was worried about this. I was worried about that. I was worried about a lot of things that I ended up not needing to worry about that much. Continue reading “finding rest in the desert (literally)”

the fingerprints of God on a “secular” society

the fingerprints of God on a “secular” society

Tonight when I go to bed, we will have already spent 12 amazing days in the beautiful country of España, meaning that we’re already more than 10% done with our 105 total days on Spain Term (I know it’s not exactly 100 days like the hashtag, but hey)! Isn’t that crazy? It feels like there’s no way that we’ve been here this long, but at the same time, it feels like we’ve already been here for a month. And that makes absolutely no sense, but I’m sure everyone has experienced that sensation at one point in life or another.

Recap:

Anyway, for this update, I want to talk a little about finding Jesus in the little things around you and appreciating the fact everyone single one of the 7 billion people on this planet was made in the image of God. It’s just something that I’ve been thinking about for a day or two. But first! Update! Continue reading “the fingerprints of God on a “secular” society”

#100daysinSpain

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Well, it’s definitely been quite some time since I’ve posted anything, so I figured that arriving safely in Spain was a good excuse to hammer out a post detailing some of the crazy things that I’ve been doing over the past few weeks since my last post J Also, this post is also gonna be pretty scattered, so sorry for that in advance.

Anyway, if you hadn’t heard or hadn’t gathered, I’m studying abroad in Spain (specifically in Segovia, which is further north and toward the center of the country) for the next few months (3.5 to be precise), which is also where the title of this post comes from! It’s the hashtag that my group will be using on all sorts of social media in order to inform others of what we’re doing, and it also serves as a fun way for us to look back on all the things we’ve decided to share with the world!

The main reason that we chose this hashtag is that it subtly reminds us that even though it feels like we’re going to be gone for a long time, we really don’t have an infinite amount of time here. On the way here, a lot of us were caught up in a lot of emotions related to leaving home, leaving family, leaving familiar surroundings, and leaving friends. While we were all really excited, it’s still hard to leave all of that behind. Thus, we came up with this hashtag because it points us back toward positivity and away from homesickness or anything else that might taint our experiences here, reminding us to soak up every moment that we get in this beautiful country, because after 100 days it’ll be over (well…more like 105 starting when we got here a couple days ago, but that’s beside the point, really). So, hop that on if you feel like it. I’m sure lots of interesting things will happen in the coming weeks and they will all be shared with you right here!

As for the first two days, I don’t really have that much to report about Spain yet, except for that fact that literally everything here is beautiful, the weather, the school we’ll be attending, the city, the aqueduct, the cathedral, the castle that we’re going to see later today called the Alcázar, everything. It’s been so much fun and it’s still feels surreal to all of us on this trip that we get to live here for the next few months. I can’t reiterate enough how picturesque everything is and how unreal it all seems.

Finally, while we don’t have the usual access to our phones and such like that, seeing as we don’t get proper service in Spain, I’m still available through WhatsApp, Facebook, here, and mail once I eventually figure out what my address is…

Pues anyway (the Spain Termers will think that’s funny), I’m so excited for everything that’s to come. So, stay updated right here (because blogging is incredibly fun & it’s in English which gives me a brain break) with everything we do! Hasta la próxima vez!