What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Relationships Trump Siteseeing

Last time for me in Spain was four years ago.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to return two years ago for the birth of our first grandchild, Andrew, as Deb did.

This time she got to be in Spain for the birth of the grandtwins, Caroline & Daniel, and I arrived a few days after their birth.

Last time in Spain we were able to travel and see some amazing sites: the Roman aqueduct still standing in Segovia; the throne room where Columbus was commissioned at El Escorial (and what a library!); The Valley of the Fallen; Madrid; and much more.

This time we have spent almost the entire time at home with the newborns and instead of sites we have met more of Brooke & Matthew's friends.  

We met Raissa, who we'd heard a lot about, Brooke's friend from the Phillipines.  They met at language school several years ago.  She gave over eight hours of her time on Sunday to take over two hundred family photos and is a very sweet person.  Raissa speaks fluent English so that allowed us to get to know her a little better.

We met Orlando and Anyela, immigrants from Columbia who dropped by with traditional Columbian food before leaving Spain to go home to South America for a month.  They spoke no English and Deb and I spoke no Spanish, yet through a little interpretation we enjoyed great company.

We met Lannah, from Great Britain, Pastor Jhon Fredy's wife.  Pastor Jhon is from Columbia and speaks no English, but Lannah is a Linguistics Major at Cambridge University who speaks English, Spanish and French.  One Sunday morning in Villalba she was looking for another evangelical church while visiting Spain and asked Pastor John for directions to it.  He told her that he was on his way to his church and she was welcome to attend.  

Can you say "providence?"  I knew you could.  

Lannah came over with Susan, Matthew's mom, while their husbands were in a church council meeting.  Her British accent was a pleasure to hear and she was a pleasure to meet.

Rubén and María, with their daughter Maria, almost five, came over on Sunday as well.  They are good friends of Brooke and Matthew's that we met before.  Once again, not much communication for Deb and I, but it was very enjoyable to listen to the animated Spanish of everyone else.  I have a new-found desire to learn the Spanish tongue.

A few other people came over while I was asleep.  I hate that I missed them.

Originally I thought nothing could beat the site seeing of my first visit to Spain - but I was wrong.  Nothing beats relationships!  Being with family and making new friends is a more cherished memory than any castle, museum or architectural wonder could ever be!

Meeting and getting to know Caroline and Daniel, and seeing Brooke, Matthew and Andrew again was best of all of course.  And it is always a pleasure to get to visit with Matthew's parents, Jeff and Susan.  But meeting more of their friends and getting to know them had a charm for me that reinforces the teachings of God's Word - Love God supremely, then love other people like you love yourself. 

It's great to love history, art and architecture, but they can't love you back!