So today was pretty cool. Like so many days here, most of it was great, there were some bumps along the way, but enough nice things happened close enough to bedtime that I end the day feeling pretty content. After breakfast the three of us headed out with Nico to a nearby park, and he talked to us for about an hour and a half about lots of things: how our internship came to be, a lot about Quakerism and its history, and how he sees Quakerism manifesting at the Casa. I really loved hearing him talk about it - I got those happy butterflies again at the sense of pride and connection, safety and home, and it made me think of all the people I already know and haven't met yet who are connected to me through these values and this work. In particular, a certain friend of mine from Portland kept coming to mind, just because I know how much he would have loved hearing Nico talk, and that he would ask such good questions. Anyway, it was just such a pleasant morning, sunny but cool in the shade, in a pretty park next to a fountain, watching homeless people get up from their benches as wealthier people came to sit (that part was less pleasant, more awkward and concerning).
But yeah, Nico asked me to chime in whenever I had something to add. I seem to be calling myself Quaker here. Every time I do I'm reminded of those first days in Granada, when we were all learning each others' majors, and how I responded when folks asked the inevitable question after my self-identification as a Religious Studies major - "Oh, are you religious?" "Well, I'm more Quaker than anything else. Still on the journey, you know?" I realized that I quite clearly have made progress on my journey. As the months have passed since the end of YALD, Quakerism has become less of a new thing, and more of a safe thing to return to with a sense of familiarity, understanding, and belonging. The excitement and wonderfulness hasn't worn off since the summer, and I do feel like I'm discovering it anew every time I settle into silence - but it is different than it was a year ago. So many things are. Anyway, here I've been identified as Quaker - understandably, given all my talk in my application about my involvement in Quaker communities. But still, whenever anybody asks, I say "Cuaquera, más o menos." Definitely an answer/label I'm more comfortable with - I still want room to grow and explore and ask questions and change my mind, and somehow giving such a simple answer as "Soy cuaquera" doesn't allow for that in my heart, so. There ya go.
I was really excited to learn that Linet and Molly were interested in what Nico was saying, too. Because I mean history isn't for everyone, and especially the history of something you may or may not care about, but it turns out they were into it. Plus, by the end of the story, space was created for us to talk a little bit about our own spiritualities, which was really cool. Nico asked me to talk some about Pendle Hill and YALD, which was great (I will always love talking about YALD), and we both encouraged Molly and Linet to share a little bit about where they were coming from. The three of us had talked some, so some of what they said was familiar to me, but I really loved the feeling of sharing that with Nico. I'm very aware of how many people want his time, so I am not harboring any expectations about the possibility of him as a source of spiritual nurture, but I feel like if he has any time at all for it, he would be good at it. So it was great to have a little time with him today to talk about that. It was interesting though, because I think Linet and Molly were a little... not shaken up, but, you know, this is big stuff to talk about, especially if you haven't had the time or space to do so before. So we kept talking about it when we got back to the room. I wonder if this summer will be tough in a different way for them, because these important and wonderful questions are coming up... and the Casa is really supportive in a lot of ways, but it simply isn't the same setup as YALD. The focus is not on our spirituality, but rather spiritual growth may come as a result of our main work. So it's not as insulated, safe, and held as it would be at Pendle Hill. At the risk of sounding condescending, and in the hopes of offering genuine care and concern, I hope I can somehow be a support to them. At the very least, I can hold them in this space. I just feel lucky at the progression my personal journey has taken - but then, it needs to happen differently for everyone.
So hey. Great talk with Nico. Then we had our first real training in recepción with Hayley, which was fun but pretty intense. Tonnnnnns of new information and processes and systems to learn, but I feel like we'll get it down soon enough, and I'm really looking forward to being a more stable, grounded, contributing member of the team. So it was great to learn stuff and hang out more with Nico and Hayley. Plus Linet and I got lunch at el Tigre, and they love us there, so yay. After recepción, we had a little break before the screening of a documentary about migration, which I couldn't understand most of but got that it was super depression, so blar. I'm really bad at using my breaks during the day - I keep staying up too late, so whenever we have down time I'm just exhausted. So for those of you who have written to me, I'm sorry and I really will try to get it together to write you back tomorrow! That's my goal. Anyway, so I was feeling sort of bummed and icky after the film. It was really upsetting in and of itself (the parts that I could understand), and my mind decided to wander to really upsetting personal matters during the long stretches when I couldn't understand the Spanish and zoned out. P.S., universe, I am so so ready for my mind to stop wandering to those particular things. So, if you please, just leave me alone. I'm so bored of being sad about that relationship, and I'm really surprised that it followed be all the way here. So I'm really hoping that some sort of thing will happen so that the relapses cease and desist. Ahem. ANYWAY okay that was maybe a little too personal for a blog that's still public, but whatever. Everyone knows anyway. Ha.
So right, so I was feeling sort of icky, but then all the sudden just little gems of niceness started to happen, and all the sudden everything was better. The beauty and the danger of being an extrovert - I do seem to be rather dependent on interacting with other people to pull me out of bad places, but it really doesn't take much on other people's part to do the pulling. I was supposed to meet Lydia to get fruit with her for tomorrow's breakfast, but couldn't find her downstairs so asked Alejandro if he knew where she was. He's a volunteer who I've felt really intimidated by for lots of reasons, including the fact that he's a native Spanish speaker who I have some trouble understanding and whom I don't want to butcher the language in front of in my feeble attempts to speak it. But anyway, I just asked him how he was, and he did do. "Y tú, cómo estás? Estás comoda?" "Are you comfortable?" I think the sentido was maybe just, "Everything good?" but I took it literally because it made me feel good that he apparently cares whether I'm comfortable or not. So I said, well, yeah, for the most part I feel comfortable in the Casa, but I'm feeling really nervous about speaking Spanish. And whatever, he was just really sweet about it, saying that I've only been here a week and it will start improving really quickly. It's just, I totally thought he'd been judging me at failing to speak it, and it turns out that he's actually nice, he just isn't super into trying to be friends with us right off the bat. Whatever, so that made me feel really optimistic about being able to really feel comfortable with everyone here quite soon.
I finally met up with Lydia, and she showed me all the getting ready for breakfast stuff, which was cool. At first I was bummed about having to get up so early, but now I think it'll be great, once the struggle of actually getting out of bed is overcome. I'm excited to spend some time with her, and to do kitchen-y things and eat yummy breakfast food. On the way back upstairs, I ran into Hayley, who invited me to go out with a group of them for a beer. Basically, she is the coolest, and I'm totally happy that she thinks we're cool enough to want to be actual friends with us. If she heard me say that, she would think I was being ridiculous, and that of course we are super cool, but still. She's just great, sort of big sister-y in my head but in a way that I think will turn into feeling like same-age-y eventually. Whatever, so that made me feel good, and I just thanked her for being awesome and doing reception stuff today. I really love articulating my affirmations of people. People aren't really used to it, and it feels good to let people know how fond I am of them. I like to think it brightens their day as much as it does mine.
So now I'm blogging it up, as you can tell, and thinking about all the great people I know. Grateful for each and every one of them. Looking forward to doing breakfast tomorrow, and my first day at Barrio Activo! Que bien! I've been SUPER nervous about it in general, but Nico is going with me, and I actually had some good interactions in Spanish today, AND everyone thinks I'm going to love it, so. I do expect the Spanish to be really hard to understand, but we'll just go with it and see what happens. Hold me in the light! If you do that sort of thing. I'll be leaving la Casa around 3 our time.
Besos a todos, please write and let me know how your summers are going :)
OH YEAH and P.S. I had so much fun posting and tagging all the millions of pics I still had from our last night in Granada. Big love to the whole IES fam, I really hope you guys are doing well. Special besitos to vosotros.