Sunday, October 19, 2014

Horses, Horses, and More Horses. Oh, and a few Trajes Gitana (dresses) and suits too!

One thing about the Spanish - they do love their horses!  The week before last was Fuengirola's "Faria", which is a week-long celebration during which there were not only the usual carriage horses on the streets, but also random people riding around in their Spanish suits and dresses.

"Public Parking"
It was pretty cool occasionally coming upon a group of riders arrayed in front of a small restaurant refreshing themselves with drinks (still on horseback). They had a parade at the beginning of the week, with the traditional parading of the huge (and heavy) Virgin Mary statue and lots of horses and carriages. At the end of the week all the riders and carriages gathered at the Faria grounds, and paraded around the grounds, and even into the streets nearby (there were a LOT of them), showing off their traditional (and beautiful) Spanish dress.
Speaking of dresses, a month or so ago I went to a Trajes Gitana (Flamingo dress) fashion show where they had a brief Flamingo demonstration before-hand that was pretty cool. I was way behind a bunch of people, so couldn't see the fashion show too well, and the pictures were taken with the camera way above my head, but it was still fun.
But for the Faria just about everyone (young and old and everywhere in between) wore their traditional finery, and many brought their horses, which they would ride down the street amongst all the cars, buses, and scooters as just part of the traffic. You could tell everyone was having a great time!

Also, the Saturday before this they had a show at the Fuen bull fighting ring that I went to with my friends the Castillos. We knew it had something to do with horses (it was called "Doma Vaquera"), but we didn't know quite what to expect. It turned out to be a horsemanship show/demonstration that was absolutely fabulous!  Watching the horses and riders "dance" together was very moving to me, and I'll write more about that later, as I have a TON of pictures I'd like to share :)

A few more random thoughts - I have now been on my mission for six months - hard to believe!  I'm progressing with learning how to speak Spanish, and am working on it pretty hard, although silly things like referrals and the office tend to get in the way (seriously - I am still really enjoying working with the missionaries with the referrals, and it has been very gratifying to know I have contributed a small part in bringing some of the great people of Spain to the joy that can be found in the true gospel of Jesus Christ). I really don't think I'm speaking much better than I did 3 or 4 months ago, but I'm starting to get the hang of all the tenses and different endings and exceptions that I have been struggling with and hope to actually be able to use that knowledge in my speaking before too long.
At Zone Conference with the Hermanas and Hermana Wiscomb (one of our awesome Sr. Missionaries)
 I'm continually depending on God for help with all the different things I do here as I am stretched way beyond my comfort zone in quite a few ways. Communicating (kind of) in Spanish,esp. calling and talking on the phone (not my favorite activity, esp. when I can't understand all or sometimes even much of what is being said) is one challenge. I have also been teaching adults (Gospel Doctrine class - sometimes it turns out pretty well, other times, not so much. The ones that are the best are the ones I  prepare hard, but then turn it over to God. My own ideas?  Well....), playing piano in Sacrament Meeting (even the "easy hymns" can be a struggle for me, esp. in front of people. Today we had someone from the States that could play again, which is always a great cause for celebration for me! I will NEVER take the pianist for granted ever again!), cooking, instructing groups of missionaries, and going out with the missionaries on appointments. Okay, that last thing is just a pleasure - I LOVE going out with the missionaries. They are awesome!  :)  Anyway, I keep pretty busy, but also find time for some fun, as you can tell. One of my favorite things is still going for a walk along the beach and spending time just looking at the beautiful sky and water. City life just isn't my thing, and that helps. Through all of it, though, I have felt the hand of God, and it has been much easier than I would have thought possible. Things that are hard have been made light, and even fun, which has been pretty amazing. Once again - I have been so blessed!  Missions are awesome.

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