Thursday, 28 August 2008

I'm taking a break from all the mopping to take advantage of the quiet moment during nap time. It's a blessing that both the boys are actually taking naps!

(PS: Someone's cooking something in the apartments around us, and I think it might be burning...)

Transition can be a real challenge. I think that there is this romantic vision of "missionary" (whatever that really means) life. There is this idea that it is amazing, heroic, and full of adventure and weird food. Well, at times it can be I guess. But at least for these last two weeks, it has been frustrating, hot, and "normal" (whatever that really means).

A line from a conference we took keeps coming back to me: "The first term is a learning term." Denia has more to teach me, than I have to offer it.

Last night as I was reading a line jumped out at me: "Whoever loses their life for me will find it." We have left most everything. Granted, we had a few things shipped to us, but for the most part we didn't bring it with us. We left "our life". Our grocery stores (a story all by itself), our understanding of how things work, our time frames, our air conditioning :), our family and friends...and last night, God quickly reminded me: It's not our life to keep. I want real life. I want what God wants for my life. This place is it. I don't know what that really means yet. I don't even know when I will know what that means....but I do know that I'll never find it until I let go of what I thought defined "life".

Well, enough for now...the 2 year old is up, and the laundry is waiting to be hung....

Monday, 25 August 2008

So begins a new week in the beautiful city of Denia!

Yesterday after church we had a wonderful picnic with the church family up the mountain between Denia and Javea (or Xabia, depending on your language). But, we forgot to take our camera, so we will have to make another trip to show it off!

Luckily the gate covering the church door is still working! Today we covered the thrift store in the morning, and checked out a child care center just outside of town in the afternoon. The center was beautiful, perhaps out of our price range, but great nonetheless. We're trying to see if childcare for part of the week will be possible, so that we can both be at the office for a few days during the week. One advantage to day care is that it will help the boys learn Spanish rapidly. School begins at 4 for most children here, so Bram wil lend up doing at least a year of school, and it will be important that he have at least a knowledge of Spanish before going in...

Tomorrow, the family will head out to camp to assist in a few things. We are working one day a week there to earn money for the corps a donation. :) And, perhaps we'll be able to swim in their beautiful pool afterwards!!

We have reestablished a Carr Family Schedule. If you know our family at all, you know that we live and breathe keeps us all happy. Lately the boys have been a little crazy and everyone is has been cranky. So, I thought it might be time to pick back up on the routine, and like "magic" everyone seems to be doing much better!

It promises to be a much better week than the last....

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Bram has memorized this phrase to say when he meets new people.

"Hola! Mucho gusto. Me llamo Bramwell." Hello! Nice to meet you! My name is Bramwell.

Now, granted, most people only understand up to "mucho gusto"...but everyone thinks it's really cute when he says it.

(sorry about the random parade shot, I couldn't edit it out...still learning to use this thing)

Lots still to learn...

In honor of my birthday/anniversary today, and in the 4 year tradition of this Carr family, I purchased my own birthday cake. There is a French pastry shop near the corps that some new friends pointed out as being one of the best in town, so I bought a ridiculously expensive cake to celebrate. I warned my husband that perhaps the prices of my birthday cakes will just keep going up as the years go by.

It has been an interesting and exhausting week. On Tuesday the gate covering the door to the church would not go up. The volunteer that runs the thrift store was a stumped as Jeff and I. We decided that there was nothing we could do since Spain runs on its own hours, and nothing would be open. We'd have to wait until Wednesday. So, I went to the corps early Wednesday morning to wait for the locksmith. As he explained to me that it must have been a motor malfunction and that a breaker had been thrown, he continued to explain to me that there was no need to call a locksmith that I could have fixed this on my own. When he realized that the manual override was not working, he cracked open the pull down gate the width of a stair, looked at me in my uniform and said "Now, just shimmy up inside there, open the door, and go flip the breaker." I said "No." So, he shimmied up inside, and well...opened the door. I think he felt sorry for us for making us pay for something that we could have done ourselves apparently if we had only known. He said he cut me a break on the cost...he said. The gate is still not completely working, but we're trying to make it work.

Today, the I learned what an asset my two boys can really be. People stop me on the street regularly just to talk to the boys. Mind you, the boys still don't respond to Spanish, but people are just so "attracted" to them. And this worked in my favor at the bank today while trying to open an account. The girls establishing my account were so enamoured with my two little flirts that they were extremely helpful to me.

We also found the local market. And I even bought homemade meatballs from a local butcher. We located the mall, and as Jeff says, it makes you feel a little less isolated. Being surrounded by mountains, in a small town, you can begin to feel like nothing really exists outside of you. We're still learning our way around town, and have become incredibly grateful for our Christmas purchase of a GPS. Now, if only I could figure out how to get around inside the grocery stores (nothing's placement makes sense to me yet).

And to top off the birthday/anniversary celebration we went to McDonald's Playplace. The boys had been in the strollers or car for the majority of the day so I wanted to give them a chance to run off some energy. Bram has yet to realize that the kids here don't speak his language. He came to me very frustrated this evening "I told the grills (girls) my name is Bramwell" He was upset that they didn't acknowledge him. And earlier at the thrift store a little girl, around his age, kept holding Bram's face trying to make him understand her. He kept looking at me like she was crazy. He's memorized a greeting phrase so far. And I think he's catching on that he'll get more of a response with 'Hola' than 'Hello'.

And as a great birthday gift: we recieved news today that our shipment of belongings should arrive within the next week!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Jesus Salva

Our first Sunday is under our belt. And what a Sunday it has been. We left early enough to be able to set up chairs in the chapel, but weren't able to get into the building! We weren't sure how the door opener worked, or what key went where, or if we even had all the keys! And parking a nine passenger van in streets that were designed to be traversed by horse and buggy is quite challenging!
Once finally inside things went really well! There were quite a few in church today to check out the new officer. Several Salvationists on vacation from England passed by the corps and we had a wonderful brass band ensemble! (You know you're a Salvationist if you bring your horn on vacation as a "just in case")
This morning Jeff brought the message and I translated. It was our debut in this capacity, and it is quite challenging. Translating is definitely a I will apparently have to master quickly. :)
We have be battling with our coffee maker in the house. I successfully have burned coffee, been confused by the operation of the item, and today I successfully melted the handle of the coffee pot (it's a small espresso pot that you use on the stove top). So, today we spent time looking for a new pot at the Eroski (kinda like Super WalMart). And after all of that I believe I may have come closer in reaching "cafe con leche" quality...
Tomorrow begins our "normal" life. Jeff will walk to the office in the morning. There is a small thrift store attached to the corps. And one of Jeff's passions in thrift store operations, so he is eager to get started on finding out the workings and details of the store! The boys and I will join Jeff later in the morning and have lunch with the officer couple in charge of The Salvation Army camp in Denia. It will be nice to establish some sense of routine and find a "groove" for our ministry and our family life.
Blessings from the beach!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Hemos llegado!

We have arrived.

We have brought our luggage the three flights up to our apartment. We've turned on the TV and we've connected to the internet. We're home...

We left Chicago on Monday afternoon, after many tears following a breakfast with family. It was 9 hour flight to Munich, of which the two boys only slept the last hour of. Arriving in Munich we went through European Union customs, and traversed our way to the gate for our flight to Madrid.

Now, moving an entire family requires a lot of belongings. We had the maximum limit for our carry ons, only to find out the way to board the plane in Germany required us to go down 4 flights of stairs without elevator or escalator, then board a bus to go up a very narrow and very steep set of stairs into a tiny airplane....but we have arrived.

We spent the evening in a hostel in downtown Madrid and had a lovely dinner with the Lt. Colonels in charge of the work here in Spain. The first night in Spain was a bit of rough one. At one point during the middle of the night everyone was awake for about 2 to 3 hours and all fighting for space in the same bed (there were 3 beds in the room).

Wednesday morning we made the 5 hour car trip to Denia. And are now "en casa". Bram and Jonas are doing extremely well with the transition. Bram is excited to try out new words in Spanish, and Jonas has never met a person he is willing to play with...

Tomorrow we will explore Denia a little more, with more sleep under our belt, and most likely walk along the beach. We have plans to get our van and visit the corps building.

It's still hard to believe when I walk out on our balcony that "We live here now". That view of the beach and mountain is my reality now. Surreal, but nice.

....maybe we will all get some real sleep tonight...

(check out more photos on facebook)

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Ask, and ye shall recieve...

We leave for Spain on Monday afternoon. After a long process, and other happenings, we are on our way.

Right now we are packing back up, cleaning out the refridgerator, and dusting and vacuuming this house.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

So, the anticipation of another possible 30 days to be passed in the waiting period has prompted me to take a moment to recognize and appreciate the things that are readily available to me here that will most likely be obsolete in Spain.

The list is as follows:

One stop shopping (ie: Super Walmart, Meijer)
Macaroni & cheese in abundance
Oberweis Ice Cream shops
Grass and large yards
air conditioning
Walking because I want to, not because I have to
Libraries with books in English (primarily in English)

That's all that comes to mind at the moment...

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again -- rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember the Lord is coming soon.

Philippians 4: 4 - 5