Sunday 27 January 2008

running away to the mountains

i lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?
my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
(Psalm 121)

this weekend i escaped to the mountains. i needed space and nature and height and openess... things distinctly lacking in Sevilla!

I caught a lift with a friend to Granada where i stayed the night (i didn't see the sights... but will save that for another time... everyone speaks well of Granada!) in a friend's flat - who seems to be havin much more of the stereotypical "erasmus" experience... actually felt kind of jealous!

Then on saturday after a night of no sleep (not quite what i had planned!) i went up to Sierra Nevada, a mountain range half an hour from Granada where people go to ski and snowboard. Of these two activities i have done neither, but again am leaving them for when i have more time. Instead i walked and walked and walked, surviving sleep deprivation with prayer, coffee and many many biscuits! I found out at the end of the day i probably could have used the ski-lifts for free (gutted!) but as it was after 3 hours or so i reached the snow - up above the hotels and random athletics track!

The views there were worth all the hassles before. totally worth it. as i sat at a cafe drinking coffee, listening to music, in the sun with mountains on one side and a snowy slope on the other full of families sledging i felt.... yes. this is why i came.

I've never been anywhere with "proper" snow before. It was funny how just like they would by a beach or a lake or whatever, families drove up there with picnics and music playing out their cars and instead of swimming or playing football they were sledging and throwing snowballs! It would have been nice to go with friends, but at same time it was good to have time to think and pray and take many many photos! :o)

Tuesday 22 January 2008


there are some Roman ruins just outside Sevilla, by the 'pueblo' of Santiponce. It was suprisingly fun! ...

Monday 21 January 2008


i like sundays in Sevilla.

the sun shines, usually, like most days.

and it seems that every person leaves their house to walk, to sit, to drink coffee and eat cake, to enjoy the city and enjoy one another. Little girls and boys are dressed in their best, in old fashioned styles of duffle coats and tartan skirts and their socks pulled up. Often all three children dressed exactly alike. Grandparents may accompany their children and grandchildren in parks or cafes. Every outside table is occupied, covered in coffee cups, glasses of coke, beers and plates of sweet treats.

Sunglasses are on and nearly every member of the female race looks glamourous, but this is nothing unusual in Sevilla. There is the feeling that every group of people be it family or friends, frequents the same bars, cafes or restaurants every Sunday. And that as a foreigner I am somehow intruding. (Although with my now dark hair i blend in a lot more, unlike the blond americans that wander past exclaiming at the weather, examining maps and taking photos...)

The river draws couples to relax on it´s banks under the shade of palmtrees, or sip mojitos at the outside-bar-which-plays-good music.

Everything is done slowly. There´s no hurry. Just treasuring the good things in life.

I like Sundays.

Wednesday 16 January 2008

in other (people´s) words

this morning two songs played one after the other and...

this is part of what I feel...

"Stained Glass Masquerade" (Casting Crowns)

Is there anyone that fails?
Is there anyone that falls?
Am I the only one in church today
feeling so small?
...But would it set me free
if i dared to let you see
the truth behind the person
that you imagine me to be
...Would your arms be open
or would you wlak away
would the love of Jesus
be enough to make you stay?

this is where i´d like to be... or would like to hear and do...

"Rise Up" (Third Day)
Well, I was there when you were torn apart
Now a piece of you is gone
Somehow you wish that you could only find
A little strength to carry on
You've tried so hard to make it on your own
That your heart has come undone
So I am here to prove that I alone
Have the power to overcome
Don't let your heart be troubled
This world will never keep you down
It will never keep you down
So rise up, my friend
No, this will never be the end
So rise up, my friend
And live again
I didn't want you to feel this way
It's not what life was meant to be
And so for you, my friend,
I'll take your shame
You can give it all to me
'Cause you've wrestled demons every day
And they've dragged you to your knees
But in your weakness you will learn to find
That I will always be your strength
In life or in death
Through joy or regret
And all of the secret things you have done
No matter what comes, my friend
Nothing can keep you from the love of God

Friday 11 January 2008

decisions and loneliness

I told my housemates today that i´m moving out this month.

Which leaves me to find another flat, and also to decide whether I´ll stay in Sevilla or not.

Big decisions! And it feels quite overwhelming. I know i could have made things easier for myself. But i think I´d regret not taking the risk...

So here i am, feeling quite small, not ´feeling´Sevilla so much, but thinking that might change once i get settle again, feeling lonely quite a lot, which frustrates me because it makes me feel really pathetic. like i should be able to cope spending several hours by myself... (not even a whole day!) knowing that i DO have friends ... not SO many in this city, but some. I am not as 'tough' as i thought. I am not enough by myself. I guess i just need to accept it!

Quite a few friends i´ve talked to over the last few weeks seem to be in a similar position... of having no major problems, nothing perceptibly 'wrong' with their life... yet feeling like life is more of a struggle than ever before, almost that since things are going OK our brains have to make up some problems to balance it out... and those 'head' problems are the worst because you can´t get away from them. We get so frustrated, over-thinking yet not knowing how to switch the thoughts off. And it feels like you just get more and more entangled in fragments of dreams and memories and plans and ideas and feelings and they all contradict each other and change constantly and we are left wondering what the truth is. And if the things we are struggling with really even exist or whether our insecurities are clouding our view.... and we don´t want to admit it but are slightly worried that we are going crazy...

oh to step out of my skin and leave my thoughts behind... and then i´m not sure what i´d do or where i´d go but it would involve flying of some sort... and sky and big spaces but big spaces where you didn´t feel lost and you didn´t feel scared.

hmm i´m not even sure that made sense. and i don´t mean to sound really depressed. but just trying to express it. i don´t know why. but here i am...

Have exams this month and no internet so won´t be writing so much. but when they´re done want to write a little less self-focussed! we´ll see how that one goes....

Saturday 5 January 2008

the end and the beginning

so tomorrow i fly back to Spain. Tomorrow! I can't say I'm feeling particularly ready for it, and would really like another few days to catch up with friends and SLEEP... but hey the bus and flight is booked and i'll be on a jet plane...(or ryan air...) but i DO know when I'll be back again as i've decided to return in february to see uni friends and my family again.

It's tiring having all these worlds going on at once... i feel like i'm part and yet not fully part of three completely different places at once namely Oxford, Brighton and Spain which in themselves hold many different circles of people and activities and thoughts and memories and plans. But i don't feel there's much i can do about it except continue trying to balance somewhere in between, and attempt to give my best to each place when i am there physically, although it's something I'm not very good at.

The last week's been good, I spent a few days in Brighton including New Year. It was weird to be back in the city but without all the people that give the place meaning for me. But it was good to see the sea and feel the wind and relax and see a few people that were around.

I don't feel like I've had proper time to think about the fact that it's 2008. I feel i should sit down and make resolutions and aims and all the rest but i feel like i'm already being swept along into it without quite knowing where i am heading. But hey let's treat it like an adventure...