18 May 2009

some erratic but sensible thoughts (mere procrastination)

I'm desperate for an excuse not to do Cervantes homework. While I was searching for something to do besides facebook (blah), I was thinking about some things, and I decided that I really, really like big cities. This had been decided long ago, but I rediscovered this earlier today when I remembered flying into Barcelona in April. It was my second time there, but when Rosie and I got to the airport and starting walking towards the train that would bring us to the city center, I looked outside and felt like I was approaching a really big mysterious giant. We weren't even in the city; we were in Girona, about an hour outside of Barcelona. I felt like a tiny mouse coming up to the toe of a big elephant. It was enormous, and I didn't even know where to begin. It was gloriously, fantastically huge, yet there were so many tiny details, so many things to be discovered. The city (or elephant, if we want to continue being metaphorical) wouldn't be itself without all these wonderful little hidden secrets. The people, the free admittance to public places, the market with a bunch of old stuff, the other market that sold lamb heads with the eyeballs still intact, the little one-of-a-kind store where I didn't buy anything because it was too expensive, the huge buildings that didn't make any sense. It was so imperfect and ugly that it was beautiful! Diverse, artistic, big, spacious, unorganized. It was wonderful.

Also, to update you all on my search for cupcakes, I stumbled upon an idea online to make cupcakes in a cup in the microwave. I tried it with my extremely-off measurements and homemade cake flour (apparently, corn starch and all-purpose flour.. hrmm). The result was a steaming hot, rubbery, doughy, disgusting blob. I decided to wait until I get back to the states.
Also, during our 2-hour Cervantes lectures every week I make a list of all the places I want to see before I leave Europe. Unfortunately, I won't make it to all these places (at least not this time!).
This is where I've been so far:

Santiago, Baiona, Pontevedra (all in Galicia)
Porto, Portugal
Barcelona, Spain
Milan, Italy
Lugano, Switzerland
Rome, Italy
Madrid and Alcalá (birthplace of Cervantes), Spain
Paris, France

Here is where I want to go:
England (London and Oxford, to be specific, unless anyone has any other suggestions)
Cannes and Marseilles, France
Oslo, Norway
Barcelona (again)
Sevilla, Spain
Trapani, Sicily

I called Travelocity today to ask how much it would cost to move my flight back to July 9th. They said it would cost over $2000. That's probably not happening. So, with divine intervention, I believe I'll make it to Sevilla, Germany, and Sicily and Barcelona all before July 2nd. I guess I'll save the rest for another time.

To add some spirituality to this blog, lately I've been so preoccupied with all the "wrong" things I've been doing in my life, along with all the things I need to get done (i.e., Cervantes). This is not a good combination. Add busyness with a bunch of dark rainy days, and you have a recipe for disaster, just like my cupcake experience. Going to church this morning was definitely a good choice. We talked about Psalm 27:4, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."
Salmo 27:4, "Una cosa he demandado a Jehová, ésta buscaré; que esté yo en la casa de Jehová todos los días de mi vida, para contemplar la hermosura de Jehová y para inquirir en su templo."
I know this verse is used so often today in Christianity that it's so easy to just skip over it and think, "Oh yeah I've already read that verse a bajillion times; I know what it says." But I'm going to really take this scripture to heart this week and seek, inquirir al Señor. From what I have seen and experienced here in Europe, there is such a drought of the reality of God's grace in the world today. I'm reminded of the Quechua language in Ecuador (but don't quote me on this), in which the word "grace" doesn't even exist. If it weren't for God's grace, we wouldn't even be able to enter into the house of the Lord or gaze upon his beauty or seek him. We would be doomed. He is alive, his grace is still active and working. So much of it is a matter of us accepting that and asking for it and living it out. When we live without grace as a reality in our lives, we are stubborn, frustrated, irritated, and unforgiving. When we surrender and submit to the Lord, we are able to live under grace (and not under the law) and live freely. I am in desperate need of this reality. "He's doing a new thing, so we're singing a new song."

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