I am a missionary in Spain who desires for the power of the Holy Spirit to be unleashed in me, to be unabashed about the love of Christ, and unafraid to go where God calls. These are my stories in this journey of letting God have everything.

24 May 2006

Fun Tidbits About Me

How well do you know me? My cousin, Karen sent this to me in an email a while ago and I thought I would share it here with you. I was suprised that I learned some new things about her even though I have known her my whole life. Karen I love you and can't wait to see you!!! Here goes:
  1. Four Jobs I have had in my life:
    1. Cedar Ridge Adventures (High Ropes Challenge Course)
    2. Whitetail Ski Resort
    3. Pizzaria Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill
    4. Moving Company Dance School
  2. Four Places I have lived:
    1. Chicago, IL
    2. Williamsport, MD
    3. Grand Rapids, MI
    4. Madrid, Spain
  3. Four Movies I could watch over and over again:
    1. Newsies
    2. White Christmas
    3. Count of Monte Cristo
    4. Good Will Hunting
  4. Four TV shows I love to watch:
    1. Right now, anything in English!
    2. Friends
    3. ER
    4. Amazing Race
  5. Four songs that will always be on my IPOD (I'll actually have an IPOD soon!)
    1. In Christ Alone
    2. Anything U2
    3. Anything Derek Webb
    4. Movin' Out Soundtrack
  6. Four Places I've been on Vacation
    1. Florida (West Palm Beach, Orlando)
    2. Out West (Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, etc.)
    3. Costa Rica (if you could call a 3 week back packing trip that ends with a broken foot vacation)
    4. Spain (I live here now, but I have vacationed some too)
  7. Four Websites I visit daily
    1. About 20 different blogs
    2. My yahoo mail
    3. Various online magazines
    4. MSN news
  8. Four of my favorite foods
    1. My mom's spaghetti
    2. Anything chocolate
    3. Breakfast food (I love breakfast!)
    4. Fresh fruits and vegetables
  9. Four places I'd rather be right now
    1. In bed!
    2. In the states with family and friends
    3. Laying on a beach somewhere
    4. Greece, I really want to visit there someday
  10. Four jobs that I wish I could do
    1. Professional Dancer (preferably ballet)
    2. Tri-lingual interpreter (maybe someday, I'm working on my Spanish and once I am fluent in that, I'll brush up on my German)
    3. Professional Chocolate Eater
    4. Professional Shopper
So now you know a little more about me. I hope you enjoyed this little diversion and that I didn't scare you. By the way, this pictures are of my cousin Karen her daughter Naomi, and her son Joshua. Sorry there are no pictures of Sam (Karen's husband). I love Naomi so much and get to see thier whole family soon. Karen recently told me that Naomi looked at a picture of me and said "Amy! Dance wis you!" This makes my heart so happy. Naomi is 2 now and I haven't seen her since August. Karen thanks for not letting her forget me. That means so much to me. Karen has also had a son since the last time I've seen her, so I can't wait to meet Joshua too. Yeah, 15 days until I get to see them all!!!

23 May 2006

Gibraltar, Malaga, and Cordoba

Last weekend was incredible! This is the first time I have really traveled here in Spain and it was so wonderful. Although some of the trip wasn't really spent in Spain. Last Friday, 12 May, my roommate Victoria, one of our friends, Jo, and I set out for the train station to begin our journey. We were very excited as all three of us would be experiencing a sleeper train for the first time. We decided it was worth the 10 extra euros to have a bed rather than spend the whole night trying to sleep in a train or bus seat. It was worth it. In my mind the idea of sleeper train was much more romantic than real life. I think I had romanticised it because of "White Christmas" (my favorite Christmas movie ever). In reality the beds, and room for that matter, are very small and every time the train stops there is the danger of being flung out of your bed. I must say though that I did sleep better than I would have sitting up. We arrived in Algeciras, a small town near Gibraltar Saturday morning moderately refreshed and ready to explore. We found a cheap and pretty nice hostal and set off for "Little England."

Gibraltar is so interesting. It is on the southern coast of Spain, but is owned by England. When you cross the border, everything instantly changes to English. It was great haveing Jo with us as well, as she is from England. Every corner we turned revealed another shop or phone booth or post box that is reminiscent of Jo's homeland. She was so excited, and I was learning so much. Some day I'll have to travel to England to see how accurate this "Rock" is.

After just walking around a bit, we found a typical English pub to fill our growling stomachs with a typical English breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, baked beans, and tea. It was delicious! Once we were sufficiently full, we headed out for more exploring. We visited a glass blowing studio and shop, window shopped in some posh stores and then meandered through the botanical garden. By this point we realised it was too late to head to the top of the rock to explore so we set off on a quest to see Euorpa Point, the southern tip of Gibraltar, and the light house there. It was a long walk that took us past numerous huge Navy ships, the 100 ton gun (weird huh?), through two tunnels, a pit stop by the Mediterranean for oranges and English chocolate bars (we also saw a dolphin), a small cafe' where we learned the Spanish word for Lighthouse, Farola, and finally to Europa point. Unfortunately it was pretty hazy so we couldn't see Africa, which is possible on a clear day, but it was a fun adventure. By this point our feet were killing us so we caught a bus back to the main square for a dinner of fish and chips. Once again our stomachs were full so we headed back to our hostal to rest up for our next adventure.

Sunday morning it was back to Gibraltar to conquer the top of the rock and see some apes. That's right, there are apes that are native to the Rock of Gibraltar. Victoria, Jo, and I dished out the money to take the cable car to the top and so started a day of firsts. Once we reached the top, it was amazing, there were apes everywhere. You are encouraged to not take any food with you and not touch the apes as they may bite. We treaded softly but apparently not softly enough as one of the smaller apes decided that Jo's back looked like a fun place to climb and that her blond hair looked like some sort of delicacy that it should try to eat. While this is quite possibly one of the funniest things I have seen in a really long time, Jo I am pretty sure would disagree. She managed to thrash violently enough to throw the ape off her back without being scarred, unless you count emotionally. We proceded to explore the top a bit but couldn't see much as clouds tend to cling to the top of the rock. As you can see by the picture, there wasn't much to be seen. With the fear of being attacked again we began the descent back down the rock. We decided to walk half way down and then catch the cable car at the mid-point back down to the bottom. It was a beautiful walk, which we thoroughly enjoyed. As we waited for the cable car to pick us up, we struck up a conversation with an older local gentleman who shared many interesting facts and tid-bits about Gibraltar. One tid-bit for you, there are more roads inside the rock than there are outside of the rock on Gibraltar. When we finally made it back down to the bottom we set off for the bus station and city number two, Malaga.

Two and a half hours later we arrived in Malaga. We found another hostal, put our things down and set out to explore this tourist trap of a city. It actually was pretty nice. We visited the Alcazaba, not sure what exactly it was, but it was old and beautiful. It was even better because admission was free on Sundays. It was very peaceful as we wound our way through various courtyards and gardens. From the higher spots in the Alcazaba, you could see pretty much the whole city, the cathedral, the castle, the bull ring, ruins of an ancient Roman theater being dug up, and the coast line. The water began to call to us so we left the Alcazaba in pursuit of the Mediterranean and seafood for dinner. We were successful in finding both. Dinner was amazing and then another first for me, putting my feet in the Mediterranean! The water was actually pretty warm. It was so much fun to just walk along the shore, pick up shells, skip rocks, and enjoy the company of friends. The last time I got to do that was in August with my family at the Atlantic near Ocean City, Maryland.

Monday morning we made our way to the last bus station for the trip to Cordoba and eventually Madrid. Monday was hot. When we arrived in Cordoba we saw signs showing the temperature to be 37 degrees celcius which is somewhere close to 98 degrees F. We found a nice little restaurant with a decently priced menu and a terrace to sit outside and enjoyed a leisurely lunch while shooing pigeons away from our good food. After lunch we eventually found the main attraction of Cordoba, the Mesquita, a former Mosque turned Cathedral. The Mesquita is claimed to be one of the most beautiful sites to see in Europe. I would now agree. It was amazing. The mix of Muslim arcitecture and Catholic statues and such was bizarre and awe inspiring at the same time. The enormity of the Mesquita simply added to its brillance. This made the trip well worth it.I think I will leave you with this because I really don't want to relive the 5 and a half hour bus ride back to Madrid with the obnoxious teenagers, the man next to me who sneezed and had snot all over himself, the German movie in Spanish that we couldn't hear, the woman in front of me who kept leaning into the aisle so I couldn't see out the window, and the fact that I couldn't sleep at all. It would just bring up things I don't want to think about. All in all, this was an incredible trip and I had so much fun visiting new places with good friends. By the way, Jo is my guest writer in the next blog entry. Check it out. Also I have posted more pictures from the trip in my webshots albums. Just click on the link on the side. Until later...God bless!

21 May 2006

Guest Writer!!!

First off I have been looking into getting a blog and so i went to blogspot and they told me that it could be my "personal pulpit"- I like that idea a lot more than having to go to seminary to become a priestess. Maybe we could call this my temporary pulpit, and so, to all you laypeople i best introduce myself- My name is Jo. Not Joan as most spanish people assume. Another thing the spanish don't understand about me is my slightly crazed fashion sense that comes out once in while. Don't get me wrong i'm no super model but today i thought my top looked better inside out (there were no labels showing- this wouldn't be cool- it's a thin line). So, with my cool attire i embarked the market in Madrid....i made it a few hours until the bus where a lady told me- 3 times- "you are wearing your top backwards". and when i thanked her she gave me a look which spoke volumes of her opinion of me.....

the thing about blogging is once i start i have to subject people to ever increasing amounts of my own self important thoguhts and credences. and do i really need any encouragement? i feel, after this, you know me. have i exposed myself too much?! The other percieveable danger is that i could become a blog-abuser. Building the hopes up the internet population with my witty insights only to forget to blog and thereby deprive them. it would be abuse in the form of neglect- what would i do to them. i don't know if they'd cope- so maybe the good christiian thing to do would be to shut up, de-blog and leave you all in peace.....

This is my friend Jo from here in Madrid, although she is actually from England. She is trying to decide on whether or not she should get her own blog. I think she should! But until that happens, I told her she needs to share some of her unique experiences through mine. Hope you enjoyed the guest appearance and look for a new post from me in the next day or so. Last weekend I went to Gibraltar, Malaga, and Cordoba with a couple of friends, Jo being one of them. I will tell you all about it soon. Until then...

12 May 2006

In a Funk!

Every time I blog I have such noble intentions of blogging more regularly. Some how it stops at intention and isn't followed through on. I guess life gets the better of me. I am always thinking of things to write about but actually sitting down at the computer to write is easier said than done. (Side note: I took that picture of a rose from Heather's garden.) Anyway, I'll just let you know what has been going on in my life recently. Last weekend was pretty full. On Friday I went to a going away party (No Tawney family, it was not a "Go Away!" party.) for Rosy, a friend from community group and church. We had dinner out at the Cady's house. It was a really fun time of telling stories and just laughing. When we left to go home we saw a bus go by not realizing that we should have run faster than our legs could carry us because this was that last bus going into Madrid. After waiting awhile we realized that we would have to have Heather take us to the last train which was in half an hour. Half of the group went with Heather on the first trip while the other half of us walked down the street to check and see if there would be a night bus coming. There was. However I think we all wished we would have had Heather come back and take us to the train too. There aren't as many buses at night so of course they stop at every stop possible. It was so bizarre too, I felt like I was on a school bus, besides me and Jonathan (who was part of our group with me, Victoria, and Jo) I am pretty sure everyone on the bus was under the age of 21. All these kids were in their hottest outfits to go out in Madrid. Another really odd and hilarious thing that happened on the way back into Madrid was that we got to a round about (pictured below) and the street we were supposed to go down was blocked off. Needless to say, the driver was as surprised as us. The funny part was that he didn't know what to do and ended up driving around the round about twice before calling for back up and finding a new route. It was definately interesting!Saturday we had our service, which was awesome. Troy finished our series on "Body Parts". After the service Nic, Troy and Heather's 6 year old son fell outside and had to be taken to the hospital for stitches on his head. After that fiasco, I went home with Victoria to change quickly before going to a birthday party for Jonathan. While at home Victoria decided to cut her hair. By cut her hair I mean she chopped off about 5 or 6 inches of hair. It was hilarious, but it looks really cute. She did a great job. I could never do that. We then went to the party. It was a lot of fun. Food, friends, and dancing, what more do you need?!

Sunday I visited Mountainview Church, the other church here in Madrid that was started by my organization, Christian Associates International. This church is actually located out is the suburbs of Madrid. This week has been pretty normal. I have had work, Spanish class, dance class, and watched movies with Kelly and Victoria.

This weekend, as in tonight through Monday, Victoria, Jo and I are going to the Rock of Gibraltar. Madrid has an absurd amount of holidays in May and Monday is one of them so we have a long weekend to travel. Be sure to check back next week, I'll tell ya'll about my trip and have some pictures posted. Until then, God bless!