Some things about Sevilla:
IT IS BEAUTIFUL. There’s a river (I cross one of the bridges every day to get to school). The buildings are old, ornate, and colorful. There are parks and gardens all over the city, and orange trees and palm trees are everywhere. Details make all the difference—there are hand-painted ceramic tiles on walls, buildings, sidewalks. Everyone dresses super classy and the people themselves are beautiful. And it’s been sunny! Almost everyone walks or bikes everywhere and the sevillanos love to be outside instead of inside the house most of the time. The school is about a 20 minute walk from my house, and the rest of the day I walk everywhere as well. I want to get a pedometer app because I’m pretty sure some days I walk like 4 miles. I had blister-ish things on my toes from wearing heels Friday night (stupidstupidstupid). I forgot for a moment how much walking I do and the fact that the streets are uneven and cobblestone-y. They are basically healed now after a few days, but my feet will not forget that mistake.
Saturday I walked almost the entire day… It had to be 10 miles… for a photo scavenger hunt. Despite being given wrong directions and not being able to follow the right directions from nice old people on the street who were probably laughing at us, it was worth it. First of all, WE WON!! We get a free trip to the movies! So there’s that. But also I got to talk to people instead of practicing the Spanish glare and avoiding eye contact on the street, trying not to smile at strangers. And I got to know the girls in my group better—they are awesome!
That night, I went with my new friends Halie and Leah to find a homeless person to give food to. Halie had grabbed the leftover snacks from an outing earlier in the week, and so we walked around the city trying to find someone to give them to, but there was absolutely no one to be found. We prayed and prayed, but didn’t see anyone. We started walking home and after crossing the bridge, we saw a man sitting off to the side of the sidewalk by himself, looking a little run-down. He was either talking to himself, was schizophrenic, or was praying. (We had no idea, but now I’m pretty sure it was the last one.) This whole time I’d been praying, just put someone in our path that needs this, and I’d been frustrated that no one appeared. It seems that Jesus had him waiting on the other side of the bridge, right in our path. We asked him if he was hungry and he said yes, and smiled so big when we gave him the bag of sweet breads. «Cómo te llamas?» we asked him. «Jesús.»
Granted, there are lots of hispanohablantes that have that name, but it was a cool and crazy moment. I can’t explain how full my heart felt after talking with that man for just two seconds, but it was so good to connect with someone who was probably really lonely and take the focus off myself in my first week here. In the midst of culture shock and information overload, Jesus was the same, and he was still calling me to follow him. When we walked away, it was clear that we were all sort of in a good kind of shock.
[[ Matthew 25: 34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ]]