Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recorridos... i.e. paseos.

**Mostly written about Monday 30/5**

Um, today (Monday) was a big day friends. I think I experienced almost the full range of Annie-ness in one day, moving from complete overwhelmed-ness and brief dip into negative-land, to complete confidence and affirmed feelings. Wow.

So okay. We began with community breakfast, which honestly was super awkward. I was still feeling, well, jet lagged, even though it doesn't really count because the time difference from home is only an hour. So what can we call it? Altitude something? General having trouble switching to Spanish and feeling not awkward. So that felt a little weird. But then the next couple of hours were spent in the George Fox Library with Nico (the co-director of the Casa) and Hayley (the Volunteer Coordinator) learning about the history of the Casa, which is rich and amazing. I'll include a few notes because I've perceived a lot of interest from people who, understandably, don't understand where I am or what I'm doing this summer. But the main point for now is just that the hours gave me this warm glowy feeling - I feel connected to this great tradition of Quaker work and the values it’s based in. Hearing Nico talk about the struggles and the success all felt familiar, and hard, and amazing, and mostly importantly comfortable. Home-like. Inviting. Enticing. Once again, I’m so grateful for the foundatio that YALD gave me in all of this. Among all the other gifts I received from that experience, I was given a window in the Quaker world, a foundation in the language that Quakers use to talk about their spirituality and their work, and an access point to a community that feels like I’m meant to be a part of it. So yay.

A telling cross-section of my wardrobe.
Next on the agenda was a recorrido (paseo, walk) around the barrio (neighborhood). This ended up being strangely overwhelming, and I’m still not quite sure why. The city feels different than any place I’ve been before. I love seeing new places, but in the short time I’ve been here I feel so much more connected to the Casa than to this city. It’s just really hectic, pretty dirty, and oh yeah, it probably doesn’t hurt that we pretty much get stared down wherever we go. I mean, those are the negative things – it’s also exciting and new and great, it’s just that during that walk today I was pretty much on the struggle bus. Just feeling like my Spanish really couldn’t keep up, and feeling much more independent and much less secure than I felt in Granada. We got back to our room, and I learned that I wasn’t the only one feeling overwhelmed, so that made me feel better. I took a moment of silence to center a bit before we headed into our next meeting.

Nico and Licelot (from Germany, super awesome and important but not sure what her job title is yet) met with us to tell us about the Casa’s peace programs. This session was great for lots of reasons, two of which I want to name: 1) Their Spanish was measured and clear, soothing in its beauty and understandability. Perfect timing – just when I was about to hate my second language because I was totally failing at it, the way Nico and Licelot could express themselves through it made me love it again. It really is gorgeous, it’s just structured differently than English so you can express things with just a slightly different sentido that is concise and pretty and super cool. 2) Nico said, “La hospitalidad es como un practio espirtual.” This resonated with me, and reminded me of Mary Margaret’s (?) words to us at the beginning of YALD, about how chores like dishes were an opportunity to care for the community, an expression of love for the community, and in that way a spiritual practice for her. Love it love it love it.

Me and Lici with our pimp cups.
After a brief descanso, Molly came into room and said, “Okay! Let’s go buy our phones!” I was so not into it, but Linet was like, "right, we have to go,” so we did, and I am soooo glad. Walking around by ourselves was somehow was less stressful, and made me feel all old and good. It didn’t hurt that I ended up being the one to approach some people at a phone store, and totally did the interaction in Spanish, and we got a good deal, and whatever it was great. So walking home I just felt much more comfortable and grown up and happy. We checked in at the Casa, but then headed back out again to get dinner at el Tigre, one of the voluntari@s’ favorite lunch places. We all got huge delicious sandwiches, and I asked the old guy next to me what he was drinking, because it looked delicious. He told me it was leche, platanos, avena, y chocolate. I asked him what it was called so that I could order one, and he said, “… leche, platanos, y avena.” Ha! So I ordered one, and it came it this huge luxurious round glass, which Linet dubbed a pimp cup, and I asked the guy to be in a picture with me with our matching drinks. Hurray new friend! He asked us where we were from, and we talked a little bit with him and the sandwich guys. Hurray hurray being grown ups and having all these potentially creepy but probably just really nice guys think we’re such beautiful Americans. Ha. So anyway, that was super great and delicious and fun.

Came back for a long meeting at the Casa, the team’s weekly meeting. Cool, but oooohhh goddddd we were so full it was hard to sit up and be awake for so long in Spanish. But whatever, it was great and we had chocolate, and then met with Jim (Professor Krippner, who by the way is just the biggest sweetheart) for a little bit. The three of us came back to hang out in Linet’s and my room for a whiiiillleee, so that I couldn’t finish this entry until now. Slept better last night, and woke up this morning (Tuesday) for a breakfast at which Linet and I did a much better job of actually talking to people. Just got back from a two hour-ish meeting with Hayley in a café to learn about how the Casa works, and what everyone does, and what our time will look like here. I really love learning about all that stuff. I like the systems and routines that are in place and the experience of becoming familiar with new structures. Also, Hayley is only the most awesome chica, and I get the sense from her (and others) that our time here will be a really good balance of independence and support. I’m experiencing really cool connections between my Pendle Hill experience and this one already – this feels like a step beyond YALD. I feel like I’ll be able to find spiritual support here, but doing more independent work than with YALD. But of course, I couldn’t do this without my time at YALD. Ugh my life is just too awesome. I love the world.

Okay friends, that’s it for now.

Lots of love,


  1. aw girl i'm glad its going so well, it sounds like a good mix of challenging and interesting and fun.
    <3 you!!

  2. I love your story about connecting with the guy with the drink--everything. Finding out what it is "called" (funny), reaching out to a person and finding a connection, and then taking a picture of the whole dang thing. You're not taking anything for granted that's for sure.

    Also glad to hear that Professor Krippner has a first name and it is Jim. Excellent!

    It's hard to have so much new stuff and so many new people to push out toward all at the same time. It's okay to have limits to your own capacity to do so. Even extroverts have to shut down sometimes and regroup. Don't feel bad if you don't feel like talking at breakfast. Quakers respect that, too! :-)

    Love you,


  3. I LOVE EL TIGRE. just sayin.

    Enjoy your time at the Casa! --Elizabeth (Lamkin)