Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Spanish tales

There are certain things that are almost obligatory when spending some time in another country. The first of these, of course, is getting lost. I managed to do this pretty spectacularly on my second day here whilst heavy laden with shopping bags. I nearly reached the point where I thought I might just have to give it all up as bad job and accept that I was now homeless with nothing but a bag of macaroni and a bottle of Rioja to my name when I remembered someone mentioning that the road the Church is on is split in two as some bright spark decided to built a hospital smack bang in the middle of what was once one long street. Ten minutes late I found the right place, had a little chuckle to myself and promptly collapsed on the sofa.

I've also been treated to some of the curiosities of Catalan culture. On Sunday night on my way home from lunch (at nine pm, nine pm!!) I stumbled across a huge group of uniformed locals forming human pyramids in the town square topped, about five levels up, by a five year old in a crash helmet. Only in Spain! I'm slowly adjusting to the different timing of life. Lunch mid afternoon, dinner later evening and everything being done at a gentle pace. Being on the Metro is like being on the London Underground but running at a quarter of the speed. I haven't seen a single person run through a station since I arrived!
Relaxing on the rocks
By far the greatest part of this pace of life is the conversations you can have with people. Rather than a snatched half an hour where you barely cover the small talk topics of job and family long lunches and late warm nights give a chance to talk about things at a depth that is impossible when everything is on a schedule. I'm reminded that time where no one is looking at their watch is precious indeed. The only factor driving people to get moving seems to be that the metro, Cinderella like, stops at 12 or pumpkin hour!

So, getting lost and navigating meal times aside, I'm getting rather comfy indeed. Luckily the church is keep me on my toes with a big challenge of leading my first solo service in the church this weekend. Its both daunting and thrilling to be putting the first part of my training into action. Still, there's only one way to learn to lead services and give sermons and that's to give them. The great advantage of living above the church comes into play again giving me time to do an awful lot of play acting to empty pews before I 'go live' on Sunday. There will be a large glass of celebratory Rioja after that! See you on the other side!!