Friday 28 March 2008


What/where is my focus?
So many thoughts, questions, people
Is Jesus at the centre?
Make the most of every day
I want to be wise
Stop. Appreciate the skies.
Like I used to.
When did I last look at the stars?
Where have I run
Run from?
Rushing around
Achieving nothing really of value
Who’s measuring?
Tip the balance….what balance?
Lost it.
Ah this flipping balance!
Every conversation conclusion
Walk between two extremes
Down the line
Chalk on a playground fading fast
In places I can’t see it any more
Why do playground ground grounds
Hurt so much
When u fall?

A balance
Of knowing and not knowing
Grace and discipline
Sitting and standing
Resting and running

A balancing act
Tightrope of clung onto sanity
Fix my eyes on the hopeful blue above
So as not to see how I far I could fall

(i wrote the first part a year or so ago. then added some more. but it's generally always relevant!)

walking thoughts

not having internet means.... build up of thoughts and then not knowing which ones to put down on the blog. life is diffcult. i know. haha!

it's been a good week. i've been walking around quite a bit. and each time felt something different. ON monday i walked along the concrete river channel thing (there's no river in it, just graffitti and rubbish) to a part of town i hadn't been to before. It seemed to me like everything i saw - both the people and buildings and landscape was colourless and sad and forgotten and struggling. I don't know if that's a true reflection of the city. Maybe every place has parts that feel like that. I want to walk with open eyes and see the beauty that is hiding, to find hope and not despair. there has to be hope somewhere.

Yesterday i walked and i found places i hadn't seen before, surprising squares and parks and old buildings. I like it when that happens. I also walked two children to school and felt "i am SO not ready to be a mother, not for many years!". Also yesterday when i was walking i realised i felt the most content i have done since i've been here, and excited about the next few months.

Today when i was walking i felt thankful, thankful for contacts and new friends. And a little nervous that tomorrow I have to drive on the right for the first time with a car full of young people!

As well as walking yesterday i also managed to go for a run! Go me! And it actually felt really good. Let's hope i keep it up!

Saturday 22 March 2008

happy easter

When Mary Magdalen first sees Jesus after He rises from the dead, she mistakes Him for the gardener...

"Here is the Alpha and the Omega, Creator of the rolling spheres, the One whose resurrection from the dead heralds the bright dawning of a new dispensation. The earth has quaked and angels worship, but He himself is mistaken for a humble, bumbling horticulturist with dirt beneath his fingernails at the start of a working day."
(Pete Greig in "God on Mute")

more badajoz snapshots (when Onyi and friends came to visit)

Wednesday 19 March 2008

week 3 in Badajoz

This weekend I had a friends birthday party in my flat which was a great success. It was grand to be able to use the lovely space i have and to have it filled with people. I've missed that!

A couple of us also made a birthday cake which turned out really well... and so begins my resolution to bake more! I made another one today so doing OK so far! Another resolution is to start running. So far i have been on an "investigative fast walk" - you know just surveying the territory - seeing if it would be possible to run around where i live without bumping into too many people! The next time, i tried going with a friend but after about 5 minutes Brenda was worried her heart was going to stop, so we walked instead and then did some exercise of sorts back in the flat. I have never been able to do sit-ups and i don't think i ever will. Shame. So the next attempt may be tonight, if it's not raining too much!

This weekend I also went to Caceres, to accompany Holly in selling books at one of the churches there. The early start and one hour drive and all new people turned out to be worth it and we had a really good day. It's great when you feel really welcomed in a church. We shared lunch together afterwards which was cool, and increased that sense of being family. And this is what attracts people. Like Paqui, an older spanish lady who sat on my right who's a Catholic but comes to this evangelical church when they have events like this because she doesn't think anyone should have to eat alone on a Sunday. She told me she doesn't like Caceres much because people will look at you funny even for wearing a hat, and we talked about how God shows himself in the small things that come just at the right time; just when we needed them. Like a smile or a phonecall or a sunset. On the other side sat a Portuguese grandmother, who piled her plate so full of pudding that everyone noticed and laughed! At one point her and Paqui got out their mobile phones which were both newer than mine and Holly's. It was a funny moment.

Afterwards me and Holly drove round the city (a couple of times - looking for the centre!) and then finally parked and explored the historic old part. It reminded me a bit of Salamanca. Pretty, yet felt a little unreal, like stage set especially for tourists and people dressed in their sunday afternoon best.

Extremadura is beautiful though. It's always nice driving through it.

Yesterday we celebrated Brenda's actual birthday. With malibu and pineapple in the morning and evening and in between lunch at her house with her family, who are from Peru. Amongst other things her father told stories of accidentally eating human flesh and sucking a rat out of a pipe. Fun times!

Saturday 15 March 2008

i miss hanging out with boys!

sometimes there's nothing better to take your mind off things than lie on the grass in a park in the sun or rather run around and attempt acrobatics and just be kids again for a while

stay and go

i think a lot of people are scared of GOING, uprooting, leaving and arriving.

I think i am more scared of being asked to STAY.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

badajoz life so far

so yes. back to Portugal and Mercedes. Badajoz is really close to the Portuguese border, literally about 10 minutes drive out of town and you are welcomed into Portugal by a road sign, just as if you were entering Hampshire in England or something. crazy. and it's funny how it looks different almost immediately. prettier i have to say. white buildings with red rooves and small towns atop green hills with castles at the top, like Elvas which we drove around.

We, being a very random selection... i had had lunch at the house of a Columbian family after church and after a massive meal another of their guests, a middle-aged Spanish taxi driver offered to take their 11 year old son, Sebastien, Tim (an english guy staying the weekend at their house) and me on a drive to the countryside. I don't think any of us really understood why, but there we go! So we went in his car (which later, after he had let me and Tim try driving it, i found out was a classic mercedes) to his parents farmhouse in the countryside, where nestling in their garage was another classic old car (citreon something?) which we he then "took for a spin" - taking us all round Badajoz and then to Portugal and back, explaining some of the history and geography as we went! The random afternoon was finished by him driving from school to school in attempts to vote in the national elections. I'm not sure he ever managed. The Socialist party won again.

But anyways it was great to see more of Badajoz and it's surroundings, and very kind of Daniel to take us!

So what else have i done since i've been here?

Well i've been reading up in preparation to start an 8000 dissertation/essay (ah!) which i'm writing instead of studying at uni in sevilla. still deciding the exact topic... will let u know more specifically when i know! I've been to watch the children's choir (made up of children from several churches in Badajoz) sing in one of the 'plazas', i've played games with the youth group, drank coffee on my balcony in the sun, walked around and explored Badajoz, babysat, cooked and hung out with people. all good :o)

it's been so nice to feel welcomed and be remembered by people i've met on previous trips here. It's so crazy, 2 years ago when i came here for a week i'd never guess i'd be living here, actually sleeping in the same room, and building on the friendships that began back then. but God knows. so it's ok!

how many people feel like this?


After years of expensive education,
a car full of books and anticipation,
I’m an expert on Shakespeare and that’s a hell of a lot
but the world don't need scholars as much as I thought.

Maybe I'll go travelling for a year,
finding myself or start a career.
I could work for the poor though I’m hungry for fame
we all seem so different but we're just the same.

Maybe I'll go to the gym, so I don't get fat,
aren't things more easy with a tight six pack?
Who knows the answers? Who do you trust?
I can't even separate love from lust.

Maybe I’ll move back home and pay off my loans,
working nine to five answering phones.
Don't make me live for my friday nights,
drinking eight pints and getting in fights.

I don't want to get up, just let me lie in,
leave me alone, I'm a twenty something.

Maybe I'll just fall in love that could solve it all,
philosophers say that that’s enough,
there surely must be more. Ooooh

Love ain’t the answer nor is work,
the truth eludes me so much it hurts.
But I’m still having fun and I guess that's the key,
I'm a twenty something and I'll keep being me.

(Jamie Cullum)

Sunday 9 March 2008

this afternoon

so today, within the space of a few hours, i went to portugal and back.

and drove a mercedes (on the right)

la vida.

more soon... :o)

Friday 7 March 2008

some snaps of badajoz exploration


this is kinda how i felt:

"The way if trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, into ambiguity, not into some pre-determined clearly delineated plan for the future. The next step discloses itself only out of discernment of God acting in... the present moment. The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signalled the movement and offered his presence and his promise".
(Brendan Manning, quoted in "God on Mute" by Pete Grieg)

Wednesday 5 March 2008


>>> is where i'm now living!

on the next phase of Spanish life. and i feel it will be quite different. but i'm feeling positive about it :o)

Badajoz is about 3 hours north of Sevilla, right near to the Portuguese border. It's a lot smaller and definitely not as pretty as Sevilla. But, i like it. I've been here twice before, once 2 years ago with a group from England and once before Christmas to visit the friends i have here. The link is a church, that is connected to my church in England and I will be a part of it while i live here. It's been really good to see old friends from there and start getting to know people.

I'm living in a lovely 2 bedroom flat which i have to myself for the next 2 months - feel quite spoilt but am determined to enjoy it and make the most of it... by having people round lots. Already arranged to have a friend's birthday meal in a week or two. Yey! this is what i have missed doing this year! Also going to enjoy having a kettle, toaster and oven - all of which were lacking in my last flat (and in most flats in Spain!).

Also having a "tranquilo" flat will be good for writing the dissertation which I'll be doing here (instead of studying at university in Sevilla). 8000 words in Spanish...hmmmm fun fun.

So yeh, as i said, i think it will be different to Katrina's "usual" life. well to begin with anyways. No internet, no job, no university... no big plans, no full diary. Really is taking one day at a time and enjoying what does come up. Obviously not planning to spend all day in the flat and want to get out and about and involved in things going on in the city, but i'm also trying not to rush in either.

we shall see. :o)