|With my Mission President Pres. Deere and Sister Deere at the airport|
Hurray! The adventure has finally begun! I’ve had my first full week of serving the Lord and the people of Spain and it’s been totally awesome.
My first chore was to get here. The plan was to fly from Salt Lake to Minneapolis-St. Paul, then from there to Amsterdam, then to Paris, then to Malaga. I left Marie’s house about 6am, and the plan was to arrive in Malaga about 1 pm the next day. With the 8 hr difference, that made for 23 hrs of travel. Well… the flight to Minn-St. Paul went fine (except that I discovered I had left my computer cords in Utah), but the flight from there had some late connecting flights they waited for, so we got to Amsterdam way late - after my flight to Paris had already left. So I got to sit around in Amsterdam for 8 hours (I got to know that airport very well!). Fortunately they fed us decently on the transatlantic flight, and I had some food I brought from Marie’s, so I was fine. The flight over was actually pretty decent, although I didn’t sleep at all. I got to watch some movies I’d been meaning to watch, so I wasn’t too bored, but just as I was settling down to try and sleep the kids around me woke up, so I never did get to sleep. I think I may have dozed off an hour or so in Amsterdam (I set my cell alarm just in case), and for another hour on the flight to Malaga (maybe - that one had crying babies pretty much the whole way), but other than that not much sleep. Once I got to Malaga it took a while to collect my luggage (although customs was no problem, and miracle of miracles my bags were all there!), but the Deeres (my Mission President and his wife) were there to meet me and boy was it good to see them! It turns out that the mission office and home aren’t in Malaga itself, but in a smaller city about 20 min away called Fuengirola. So by the time I got “home” it was about 8pm and I had spent about 30 hours traveling, almost all of it awake. I actually didn’t feel all that bad then, although of coarse with jet lag I didn’t sleep all that well the first few nights. But by Friday night I was sleeping just fine (although still dragging a bit) and the last few days have been pretty good, so actually it hasn’t been bad at all :)!
|Malaga from the air|
First I’ll tell a bit about the area I live in. Fuengirola is very much a tourist town, and I live maybe a block from the mission office, and a couple blocks from the beach. That has a walkway that goes alongside it for as far as I’ve been able to walk (and see from there) in both directions, and the Mediteranean Sea is a beautiful blue that I just love. The sky has also been blue almost all the time (except for a couple hazy mornings) and the trees and flowers are blooming… it’s a very beautiful area. The streets are clean and everything is orderly, and it’s hard to get too lost between the mountains on one side and the sea on the other, although I did manage it once for a while. I’m lucky though - my piso (apartment) is on a one-block very narrow (just enough for one car and less than a yard on the sides to walk on) street that just happens to have two veterinary clinics /pet stores on it, with accompanying two feet square very green signs on both ends of the street to mark them that I have been able to use as landmarks. I haven’t visited them yet (they’re open kind of weird hours), but it’s on the agenda :). There are a ton of tiny shops selling pretty much everything imaginable, and a couple of larger grocery story closeby too, so shopping is absolutely no problem. There are a bunch of tiny “Chino” stores that have a little bit of everything - I found weights to exercise with in one and the owner gave me both for the price of one! (11.5 euros, or about $16.50 - not bad). I also found some crock-type shoes there for like $5. Some other landmarks where I live - the “naked lady” fountain (that’s what they call it here) with mermaids and mermen that marks the major road (still pretty narrow by our standards) through town and which is near home and office, a “fair” grounds - like a parking lot most of the time, but fills with booths a couple times a week - and advertizing signs that look like street signs trying to get you to go visit (the street signs are tiny signs on the buildings that usually aren’t there and as the street names typically change every couple of blocks it makes navigating challenging if that’s what you’re going by. I just usually wander around and don’t have anyplace specific to go, so no problem :) The chapel is about a 20 minute walk from home, so that’s no problem, and I have plenty of offers of cars available, so I can pretty much do what I want that way. They often go exploring different areas on Saturdays, so I look forward to that! More later….
|The Mediterranean at Fuengirola|