Sabbatical year

We have arrived!

Our living/dining room.
Our living/dining room.

As many of you know (and the rest of you at least hoped) we are in Spain. Paul and Sylvia Cummings had a wonderful welcome committee to meet us at the airport, had cleaned our place and had scheduled several nights’ meals to prepare for our arrival. We arrived in the afternoon last Monday and spent the first week getting settled (with great thanks to Peggy Ray), figuring out our surroundings, having lots of conversations in Spanish, and going to the pool to cool down. Our chalet (i.e. a townhouse) is a good size and has worked well for us. We are on the top of a lovely hill which affords an extensive view of the surrounding area, although it also means a pretty good hike to get home from the center of town. (We’re going to take pictures of all of our calves and compare again next year!)

It’s hot and dry here in August. Really dry. I find I can’t be more than 2 meters from a tube of chap stick. There’s a nice breeze that comes from living on top of a hill which keeps us comfortable during the day. We all have fans in our rooms which helps to keep us comfortable at night, but I must admit that this is when I miss air conditioning the most.

The front of our chalet
The front of our chalet

Like most Spaniards in August (who aren’t gone for vacation), we spend daily time at the neighborhood pool. It has been a great early way to meet neighbors. We’ve already met one little boy who came over to play with Hunter while his dad (a local English teacher!) helped us with Internet problems.

Already we have had a wonderful welcome party at the Cummings’ house to meet some of the missionary family, and they took us to nearby Segovia to see the huge, ancient Roman aqueduct there and a Spanish castle. We have also been to out to eat twice (both way too early—meaning that we tried to eat dinner at 8pm) and tipped the waitresses way too much! Oh well, they got paid extra for the inconvenience of patrons who had no idea what they were saying.

On Friday we attended our first prayer meeting for the budding church here in Algete, and on Sunday we attended a worship service in a neighboring town and met a number of beautiful people. For its 21,000-person population, Algete has only one Catholic parish and one small Baptist church. Combined, they may have 150 people in worship each week. We’re excited and hopeful for the many new families that a new community of believers may reach.

I’m really glad that we’re here during Spain’s vacation month. It has been nice that our primary job right now is to learn to speak Spanish better. For the next two weeks, Teddy is away at formal language school from 8-3, the kids get tutored daily for 1-2 hours, and I have a tutor a couple of times a week. Teddy and I will switch roles after two weeks. Everyone we have talked to has been very kind and tried to work with us through our broken Spanish. Language learning is a humbling experience.

I know this post is somewhat random but it wouldn’t be fitting to end this post without a couple of funny stories or interesting things about Spain:

  • In the grocery store I almost dumped a skinned rabbit (head, eyes, nose, and all) out of its bag.
  • On the plane on the way over Ella said, “How much fun is this?!?” and Hunter exclaimed, “The clouds look like cotton candy!”
  • When taking his placement test for Spanish, Teddy said he had brought his husband with him to Spain.

We have a few pictures here. Look for more on Facebook.

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