Saturday, March 16, 2013

Today's Life Lesson: Never Too Old, Still so Young

I'm not sure if it's the way they've created the world to be, that some of us get to a certain point in our lives where we think it's too late to learn something, but I've realized that I have thought this so often about things. For example, last night, I was in my favorite spot in Sevilla to pass the night, and ended up stumbling upon (not literally..haha) the most amazing live music I've heard in a long time. The singer/guitarist was Renny Jackson, and he was playing with Ian Scionti on the flamenco guitar, and another guy, who was playing a flamenco percussion box (drum that you sit on and hit). It was such beautiful music -- a combination of folk, bluegrass, and flamenco -- and I had so many closed-eyes moments of joy.

The flamenco percussion box is something that I tried before on a different night in Los Corralones, and while I did not have the hang of it, I really enjoyed sitting on it and hitting away to make music. Watching it be played last night, and seeing all the different rhythms that can be created with it, made me really think about how much I want to learn to play it. I was also very intrigued by the flamenco guitar, and decided I want to learn that as well. I had decided before coming to Sevilla that I wanted to learn to play the Spanish guitar and to flamenco dance, and those are still on my bucket list, but now even more, I want to learn the flamenco guitar or the banjo.

I have never played an instrument before, my only experience has been a few failed ukelele lessons my first year at uni, but always adored music and watching people make it. But I think that at some point, I thought I had become too old to start learning how to play an instrument, because today I had the most profound realization...

I am so young, I have my entire life ahead of me, it is never too late to learn something new, and it may take time to learn, but I have my entire life to learn and practice!

I do not know why this message came through so clearly to me now, as though I've never had this thought before, but this has been today's lesson in my life.

I am thrilled about this new hunger that I feel inside of me to learn many things. I want to finish learning Spanish, and then learn Portuguese and Italian (since they are very similar to Spanish), and then I want to go on and learn French. I'd also like to learn Japanese at some point, and perhaps German as well. (And when I live in Belize, I fully intend to learn to speak their language. It's such a cool mix of languages, it will be incredible to speak it.) And now, I want to learn how to play some musical instruments. Also, I am going to learn how to wrap crystals, so I can make them and send them off to my friends around the globe.

There are so many cool things to learn [about] in life, and I am only 24-years old, with a full, amazing life ahead of me, so I am going to learn a lot of things! Why stop learning? We're never complete, we don't get to a certain point in our lives where we know all and are perfect, so why not spend each day learning something new?

Ahh, such an amazing feeling I have inside of me right now -- I can feel my heart chakra ablaze!

What do YOU want to learn?


International Affairs

If you read my last post, then you know all about my current housing situation, and how it was completely opposite of what I thought I was going to be getting. But I am now here to write a more updated version about what it's like to be living in, what I have dubbed, an international hostel.

First, I should start by saying that I love my housing situation! It may not be forcing me to speak Spanish the way I need it to, but it's a really great situation, and it's giving me everything that I wanted and needed -- connection, friendship, and an amazing blend of cultures and life. I get along extremely well with all my roommates, and really enjoy spending time with them. The gal from England, who I didn't know would be living here, and I spend a lot of time together, and have become fast friends. We are very similar people, and I feel so blessed that we got placed here together in this time and space. Overall, everything here is really great, and I am in such a happy place inside and out!

I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again, because, as those who have previously lived with me know, it's incredibly important to me... everyone is so clean! I would never believe that so many people lived here with a dog, because everyone does a nice job of picking up after themselves and making sure the kitchen is ready for the next person to use it. It's a really great thing that is happening here in my life, and I feel so inspired, in different ways, by each person that is around me.

Last Friday night, one of my roomies had a couple of her friends over for a cocktail night. Her friend's boyfriend is from Brazil, so we had an incredibly international evening, making a traditional Brazilian cocktail of fresh fruit, ice, sugar, and vodka. It was a great, great night, and I was smiling from the inside out the whole time.

I am not going to say that I am so anxious to be able to speak Spanish better so I can better communicate with my other roomies, because I am only saying, "I am so happy and grateful right now that I can speak Spanish," to help manifest it into reality more quickly and easily, but...I am anxious for that day to come! I know for sure I need to be more proactive about starting conversations with them, and just dealing with the fact I need a dictionary to tell me most of what I'm trying to say. I have a perfect opportunity to advance my Spanish, right here in my home, and I am not taking advantage of it as much as I should. Especially since I really want to talk to them, learn from them, and experience with them, it would be mildly helpful if we could communicate better. Haha. But it will come, it is coming, it is here! I've actually done a much better job in the last week, and I can notice a huge difference in my comprehension!

As for the neighborhood we're in, I enjoy it. We're very close, I mean like less than five minutes, to the city center, I can easily walk to everything I need to get to, and we're just slightly removed from the city center, so our barrio ("neighborhood" in Spanish) has it's own vibe. It almost feels like it's its own city within the city, kind of like all the little villages within San Francisco. Actually, now that I say and think SF, I realize that's exactly what it reminds me of. It reminds me of how, in San Fran, you can find so many little cities/villages within the city itself. Pretty cool situation!

All in all, I love life. It's treating me right, and I can't stop sending out peace, love, thanks, and blessings to it, so it just keeps coming back. Moment after moment is filled with goodness, smiles, and a warmth within. I feel so alive!

Today's Thoughts: Overall, I am one happy girl. I am getting to such a wonderful place spiritually, and really starting to open up to all the possibilities within me and accessing it all. Not just accessing it, but releasing it. I feel like my soul and my heart are on fire, and I am just letting it burn and burst out of my chest and body to take control of each and every moment. It's glorious, and I strongly encourage everyone to just release the love and bright light that is within them -- it's wonderful what happens when you do! You were meant to shine bright, so why bother trying to blend in? :)

And here we feature the lovely Joey. Hahah
(Not in my bed.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

God's Got It

Written on Monday, the 11th of March

One of the things that I have been chanting and saying to myself repeatedly since I got here is, "God's got it!" Remembering that my life is in His hands, and that I have nothing to worry about, because He is looking out for me, has been such a saving grace, and really helped bring me inner peace.

It's really hard to stay calm and not let the anxiety get the best of you when you are in certain situations, but seriously, even if you can't sooth away the fears completely just by reminding yourself of this, the simple action of trying helps.

This morning, I was running a little late. My morning yoga/abs/meditation time ran a little long, which had me running a little behind. (Or maybe it was the fact I snoozed once or twice instead of waking up when my alarm first went off...hmm..) No matter, I was running a little behind this morning. I couldn't have been bothered by it, because I had such a good morning yoga sesh, and a really great devotional, but when I left the house to go to work, my mood shifted a little bit.

There is a city bike system is Sevilla that is really amazing and brilliant, and it allows you to rent a bike from one of these stations (they are literally everywhere in the city), and click the bike back in at any other station. If you ride for less than 30 minutes, it's free, and even if you go over, it's still really cheap. The only problem is, the bikes are really heavy, often times a little broken, and for me, the two stations closest to my home are usually fresh out of bikes, as was the case this morning.

I didn't get too stressed about it, because it's only about a 15-20 minute walk to the metro as is, and there are other Sevici stations along the way. So I decided to speed walk and try to get to the next one. I passed by one, but thought, nah, I'm enjoying this high-speed walk, so I'll just catch one at the next station and be perfect on time. Well, the next station was broken and I couldn't get a bike. This was when a little bit of panic and "oh crap" set in. I knew I could make it, but a fellow educator was picking me up from the metro in Mairena (the village where I teach), and I didn't want to keep him waiting on me. I still thought I could make it and be just fine, until I got to the metro and missed the one I needed to catch by about 30 seconds, leaving me with five minutes to wait.

Now, I know five minutes is a very little amount of time, but when someone is going to be waiting for you that needs the time before class to make copies, five minutes is the difference in someone who's doing you a favor waiting on you, or you waiting on them. Not good to be found in the first scenario. So, I sent a Whatsapp to say that I was running a little bit late, and not to wait for me at the metro. Naturally, I didn't realize until after I had sent it how crucial me getting a ride was.

It takes about 15-20 min for me to walk from the metro to the school, and if I was already going to be a little late to catch a ride at 8:00, I was definitely going to be late to work if I had to get off the metro with less time than I can make it there on foot. So, I did what any reasonable person would do, I started to prepare myself mentally for the run I was about to take, in a giant, white puffer jacket, with a backpack on, and in shoes that can't exactly be called comfortable. It was my only option.

But more than start to prep myself to run to work and likely pass out from a heat stroke, I started to worry. I started to get anxious, fearful, and let the panic set in about being late, not making it, and looking like a bad auxiliary, when I really want to get accepted to the program again. I replayed the morning and went over the things I should have done differently, or skipped, that would have given me the extra five minutes that I needed. I knew that this would only make it worse, so I turned my attention to God, and just kept repeating to myself that He controls time, He can move events around to make it work out for us in the best way, and He has control over everything. I didn't know how, but I knew I would be okay. I just kept pushing the worries away, and telling myself that somehow, even if I had to run, I would get to work, it wasn't a problem, and in the grand spec of life, it's nothing important at all.

One of the things I've been learning a lot from my daily devotionals is that, of course, God is greater than all things, but even more, that when we can adapt His mentality and look at things in our lives from His perspective, our problems hold absolutely no meaning or relevance. The things that happen in our lives that we consider to be such huge deals, really, are nothing at all. The Universe is so much bigger than our problems, so much greater, and adapting this mentality has helped me remain patient when normally I wouldn't, remain calm when I would freak out, and remain realistic about how important things really are.

And I know, without a doubt, that it is because of this, that Edu did not see my Whatsapp message telling him not to wait for me, and that the metro happened to make it to my stop only three minutes after eight, instead of the five or seven I expected, and that as I was coming off the metro, Edu was sitting there, waiting for me, with no idea I'd told him not to, and that it's because of this mentality, that as I was walking across the street, he started to drive away, but saw me, and I made it to work, in a car, on time.

You may not find this story to be an incredible testimony to the power of faith in God and manifestation, but any victory counts, it doesn't matter where it falls on the scale of grandeur. And I'm not trying to convert everyone and tell you that You have to rely on God and turn to Him, but I am telling You that it helps a whole lot. And it's good to have faith in something and someone who can never let you down, even though to our human hearts, it can feel that way sometimes.

This has been my experience, and it has been phenomenal. I can see, daily, the difference it makes to think positively, and keep the demons at bay. We all have them inside of us, they all want to come out and take over, but we have the power and the control. We can make them run back to where they came from, and stay hidden away, deep inside of us, to a part of us that never sees light or is accessed. Life is beautiful, but you have to decide it is, tell it it is, let it be, and not fret over the little things in life.

Today's Thoughts: Live it, love it, live it in Him!

Blessings to one and all,
Love and light that knows no bounds,
And a life full of joy and precious moments.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Puerta O's Hostal Internacional

Note: This post was originally written a few weeks ago when I first moved into my apartment. It is the "first impression post," and will be followed with a new post about what my housing situation has turned out to be like. :) Love life :)

If you are my Facebook friend, then this isn't going to be new information to you, and I'm not sure I actually have any readers who aren't my Facebook friends, so this one goes out to my family. (Hopefully they read my blog... haha.)

I have now been living in sweet Sevilla for one month and ten days. It's been full of little adventures, missteps, getting lost, getting found, and following God. When I first came here, I was graciously offered a place to stay by the family of a friend of mine in Bilbao. It was such a blessing to have an unfamiliar, but familiar, face pick me up from the airport and bring me to the flat, and more than that, to have a place to stay while I got adjusted and settled in. The flat looks out on the river, and was large and beautiful. But, it was too large for just me. I often felt more alone than I needed to, because when I got home, there I was, all alone, in this giant apartment meant for a family of four. I kept the master bedroom and other bedroom doors shut, because to look into the dark, unfamiliar space when I got up in the middle of the night to pee was a bit scary. I also kept the door to the living room, aka "The Fridge," closed, because it was like a giant snow globe and I only entered it to exercise. (Shout out to my amazing FestiFam, can't even write the word "snow globe" without thinking about them, smiling, and getting a warm, powerful feeling of love sweeping over me! Love you guys, miss you all, come soon my beautiful soul stars!) So I pretty much confined myself to the room I was staying in, the bathroom, and the kitchen.

The time I spent there was very nice. It gave me a chance to really dive in deep to my relationship with God, talk to Him often, and as usual, talk to myself. Many-a-dance sessions were had in the flat; some headbanging went on that left my neck sore for days, and some conversations with myself that left me cracking up crying. All in all, it was a good time, but I needed to make connections with other people and begin to live a life full of interaction and Spanish.

I looked only at two apartments before making my decision, partly because I don't speak enough Spanish to want to go and have partial conversations with countless people, trying to figure out if I like them, and understand all they say, and partly because since I started and ended college, I've moved 12 times and do not have the energy or motivation for house hunting, especially when just for five months. So, I didn't really try too hard, and figured I'd just do what I always do, and follow my heart and soul. I put my profile up on a website and was flooded with emails. I looked at pictures of the flats and the locations on the map, so I guess you could say I tried hard (hah), but I only actually went and saw two in person.

The first was on a street that gave me the creeps and had me thinking, "Law & Order episode." The flat wasn't very large, and the room I would have taken was completely fun-sized, with a bed that could flip up against the wall and all! But, the benefit to this place was that three Spanish girls lived there who don't speak English. They seemed incredibly nice, and a friend of mine went with me, and verified this fact, so I know it wasn't just because we had a language barrier that I thought that. And as they say, actions speak louder than words, and they really do! Especially when you can't fully communicate with words, they speak volumes, so the tray of coffee and magdalenas (muffins) said a lot about their kindness. They even had a poster of a VW van that said "California!" It gave me good vibes, but in the end, I didn't choose this place.

I am now living in an international hostel. Not really, but basically. When I came to visit the place, I met a gal from Spain and a guy from Uruguay (who's lived here 11 years), and was told that the other girl was from England. There was some dog food on the terrace, so I asked if they had a dog, and I was told that no, but the girl from England's boyfriend does, and that it was there some nights, some nights not. So naturally, I figured that meant the bf was too. The flat itself is quite large, and it has a nice big area that we can hang out on outside (balcony/terrace/whatever). The guy saw my fork-ring and showed me some hair pieces he makes out of spoons, and the girl also makes jewelry. I picked up on the super hippie vibe, and was a little intimidated, but also stoked. So, after a couple weeks of debating with myself, I decided to move in. The location was on point, and I liked the people.

I started to move my things over on Saturday (the ninth), and when I brought over my first load, I was quite surprised by what I learned...

TWO Brits, one Uruguayan, TWO Spaniards, myself, and a dog. Instead of the original one Brit that I was aware of, another girl came out of the room across the hall from mine, also from England. And instead of the bf and the dog being here some nights, they live here always (he's the other Spaniard). And instead of the house constantly speaking Spanish because the original Brit I knew about is fluent, there are actually more of us that speak English than Spanish (as a first language). Which is good because I can't have too much conversation in Spanish, but bad because I need to be able to, and now, there's more English being spoken than I thought there would be. Oh yeah, and I learned that the gal from Spain and the guy from Uruguay are actually a couple and share a room, not "two of my three roommates." That one took a couple days for me to figure out.

So the situation is pretty much the opposite of what I expected I was going to get. I don't want to say that I was tricked, but that's almost how it feels. Instead of four, we are six and a dog, and instead of only Spanish + English when I'm asking how to say something, it's take your pick, but mostly English. The redeeming factor in it all is that I really do like these people, we have similar interests, or they know about things I'd like to learn, and everyone is really clean, so the place is actually better kept than in homes I've lived with fewer people and no dog.

Of course, it's entirely possible that I just didn't understand everything, but I am pretty certain that some of the bigger factors (two instead of one, permanent instead of part-time) aren't things I simply misunderstood. I know I'm here for a reason, and I know that this is going to be great, it's just a matter of adapting and waiting to find out what it is. Like I said, I really like the people that I'm living with (what I know, see, and feel so far), and there's a reason why I didn't know that it would be the way it is, because if I did, I wouldn't have moved in. Obviously this is where God wants me to be, or I would have known it all from the start. It's a great lesson in patience, waiting to see the end result and look back thinking, "best decision ever."

And I can learn Spanish, but also speak English when Spanish becomes too exhausting, and I can learn how to do some cool, creative, healthy, crafty things along the way as well. It really is a good situation, especially because everyone is clean. So this, this is great. :)

Today's Thoughts: We can think all the ideas, images, and thoughts we want in our heads about a situation and our lives, but we have to remember, we're not actually in charge. We can control just about everything through our thoughts, but in the end, God's got the final word, and sometimes, all those visualizations, don't actually come to be real life (when we expect them to). And in these cases, we have to know, it's for the better, and what will come in the end will surpass all of our previously thought thoughts and visualizations. "Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing's, gonna be alright." -Bob <3