Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top Ten Signs Your Airline Is Cutting Costs

  1. During flight they hit you with additional $200 "landing charge"
  2. It's day 4 of your honeymoon and you're still on the tarmac
  3. Plane has a "Hyundai" hood ornament
  4. When you arrive, Hawaii looks suspiciously like Detroit
  5. Inflatable vest replaced with smaller inflatable bow ties
  6. Plane can't take off until you lose 20 pounds
  7. In-flight entertainment: watching two fat guys fight for an armrest
  8. Flight attendants wearing clothes you packed
  9. The pilot -- Andy Dick. Seriously, Andy, we love you and want you to get help!
  10. During the captain's preflight checklist, you hear him say, "close enough"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Guardia Civil has beaten me up like Chris Brown did Rihanna

Man...ya'll gonna make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here/ya'll gonna make me go all out up in here, up here/ya'll gonna make me act a fool up in here, up in here/ya'll gonna make me lose my cool, up in here, up here...ONE me outside, meet me outside!!!

The Guardia Civil, has missed up my life for the past eight months by withholding J.'s residency. This nonsense has put my man on freeze, meaning no papers, no job, now work! To make matters they refuse to give us reason for the delay. He was approved for his residency by the Civil Government of this banana republic last June. Please tell me, who is in charge, the government or the police? I am leaning toward the police having the upper hand here. I will give you an example, there is a popular joke here regarding the police; There was a contest between the police of the following countries: the USA, the UK, and Spain to find the biggest rabbit. At the determined hour all of the countries had to present their rabbit, the UK police (read: Scotland Yard) went first and presented a very large rabbit found in the English countryside. They thought surely they will win the prize until they saw the HUGE rabbit the USA presented to the panel. Then all eyes turned to Spain. The Guardia Civil unveiled their find to the surprise and amusement of the panel, they police unveiled an ELEPHANT! 'Our instructions were clear, we asked for you to find the biggest rabbit!', said the head judge of the panel. The captain of the Guardia Civil answered, 'THIS is a RABBIT, just ask it!!!', to this the captain turned to the elephant which was shivering with nervousness and front legs in the air said in a high pitched voice looking at the captain and the panel of judges, 'I'M A RABBIT, I'M A RABBIT!!!'

I no longer think as the Guardia Civil as the police, they are really the mafia...I am sure I am going to get deported for this, but that's how I am feeling right about now.

Over and out....

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thanks to my sister for reminding me of '88/'89


First of all this website is can find EVERYBODY and their mama on this for real, I'm talking about people you shared a seat with on the school bus to elementary school. Osama probably has a page, can somebody check that out please, 'cause this dude has too many connections, gives too many videotaped interviews, plus uses a dialysis machine and nobody can find this guy?!? What did I miss?!? sister sends me a Hip Hop Old skool track 'gift', from De La Soul, 'Me, Myself, and I'. That song took me back in the, I started reminiscing all the old skool songs...then I thought of 'Warm It Up Kane' I remember my friends and I back in high school would blast that song on repeat in the fifth floor bathroom. Prince, the security guard would try to catch us but we used to outsmart him by running up to the ninth floor bathroom when one of our lookouts alerted us. We would practice dance moves to that song...when you are 14 you have the energy but not necessary the coordination to do the dance moves they were doing in the videos. A dance like the 'Steve Martin' (You Gots To Chill -EPMD video) was easy compared to the complex dance moves of Kid N Play or Scoop and Scrap Lover (Big Daddy Kane's dancers). Heavy-D's dancers were also nice with the steps (although Trouble T-Roy died as a result of a dance move that had gone bad).

Shout to Miz were way too cute in Kid N Play, '2 Hype' video! Remember...Ole,La,Ole,La,Ay...Rollin, rollin, roll with KidNPlay now...'Rollin With Kid and Play'

Soul Food...

Last night I dreamed of fried chicken, crispy brown, thick juicy pieces of fried to a crisp chicken! Man, I miss southern fried chicken with a serving of creamy macaroni and cheese next to it. What I won't do for some collard greens and corn bread...did I fail to mention stuffing with chilled cranberry sauce, let me not forget candied yams and smothered pork chops. My hands are getting clammy and I am having heart palpitations as I write this...I NEED to get back to the States and E-A-T!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Wedding Part II - September 27, 2008

I woke up at seven o´clock with only three hours sleep from the previous night. Was I nervous, perhaps a little, did it show? Nope. I had only one thing on my mind that day....yes, a bride thinks of two thousand things the morning of her wedding, but my biggest concern, better yet fear was of being late. I am notoriously late to everything! I handled everything with clockwork precision and nerves of steel, of course this caused my bridesmaids to be slightly alarmed because I guess they thought I was going to have a meltdown at any moment. My biggest problem was adjusting my heavy veil...of looks light but that thing is cumbersome.

I managed to arrive on time to the Kingdom Hall with time to spare! I had to wait in the car around the corner a few minutes getting teased by wedding party, but it was all in good fun. I was suffocating on my pefume, can you believe it?!? I went back to an old favorite of mine from my childhood days...I always loved the smell of the perfume, White Linen by Estee Lauder when I was younger but for some reason in my adulthood, it no longer agrees with me. Normally in Barcelona indian summer with high to moderate humidity I would be sweating buckets, but for some reason I was dry as the Sahara.

Finally the time had come...I was a bit nervous because the elder that was to give the talk told us there was no need to rehearse the night before *raised eyebrow* first off, let me tell you, you need a rehearsal for ANYTHING takes coordination and good timing! yea, its my fault because I didn´t put my foot down on that one, but I was already an exhausted bride the night before. Well, everything went wedding party managed to get down the aisle and my Dad met me at the front door and walked me down the aisle...okay this is where the rehearsal was Dad gave me to hand shake, 'Take care of her, son!' kiss from father to daughter...most important NO LIFTING OF THE VEIL! Julius did not think to lift it either! Oh goodness, I get faint just thinking of it! Soooooo, I sat through the wedding talk with this veil covering my face and inhibiting my already shallow breathing. During the talk the bride and groom have to read scriptures, Julius stood up to read his because he wasn't told that he is not supposed to stand up. I told the brother I was going to sit just where I was : ))

The elder gave a wonderful wedding talk. He mentioned that a marriage is much like a tandem bicycle...a tandem bicycle is a bicycle built for two riders one sitting one behind the other. The person in the front steers with the handbars and the one behind helps by pedaling the bicycle. So, Jules is in the front and of course, I am behind pedaling dispensing advice, suggestions, and unsolicited opinions which my husband is most grateful to receive *smirk*.

The talk winds down and we get to the vows...remember we didn´t rehearse....I had no idea what I will be expected to say but I was thinking the brother would ask us to repeat very other word, not give us long passages to memorize and repeat on the spot in front of an audience on our biggest and most special day. Well, you can figure out what happened. I butchered my vows and got a case of the giggles to boot! Vows...oaths...promises...they should be said in a somber way due to its solemn nature...and there I am standing there holding my belly.....hahaha! Pathetic!

We managed to get through the wedding talk and, time to go to the restaurant to have a lunch reception with close friends and family for the first reception....later pictures....then, the evening reception....

The Wedding Part I (Legal Wedding)

Yea, that´s my Dad nervously handing me the ring to slip on Julius´, this is it...the legal wedding. Here in Spain, you must prove you really want to get married because I cannot see any other reason you have to jump over so many bureaucratic hurdles and through so many hoops in order to get married. Julius and I were very fortunate to get married in September because most couples have a one year wait, sometimes longer!

We were married in a small town up the coast called Vilassar de Mar, only a few kilometers outside of Barcelona, the funny and long-winded Mayor married us. He doesn´t speak English and can manage with a little Castellaño, his mother tongue is the regional language, Catalan. Julius understands Catalan, as for me, *chuckling* I understand few our little ceremony required an English translator for the bride and her family. Julius´ cousin, Walters, a long-time resident of Catalunya and fluent speaker of Catalan was our translator.

We were legally married at noon on September 25, 2008. The bride managed to keep cool and tear free -probably because she was concentrating so hard on the translation- all went rather smoothly. The groom was beaming like a kid in a candy store.

We took a few pictures at the beach and raced back to Barcelona because we had to finish our last minute preparations for the BIG wedding on Saturday, the 27th!

The weather couldn´t have been more perfect!
: ))

The Story of Adriana and Julius

Many have wondered and asked… how did these two come together? How did their story begin?

Julius arrived in Barcelona in December 2004 after a two year stay in Libya. He had many formidable challenges to face in Spain, but this determined young man began to take on the tasks of learning a new language, making new friends, and making himself a home in Barcelona.

Then in the summer of 2006, something changed Julius' life…

In July 2006, Adriana arrived in Barcelona after having spent over a year in Rome. She too had many challenges ahead of her…for example…when was the best time of day to go to the beach? Should she preach in Torre Baro or Fondo? Yes, she faced SO many challenges in this new country but she was a survivor and determined to remain in Barcelona!

Julius longed to meet the ‘new’ sister in the congregation, but he couldn’t seem to gather the nerve to approach her. He just thought to himself, ‘One day, I will say something…one day *heavy sigh!*.’

Adriana quickly found out life as an English teacher wasn’t nearly as exciting, adventuresome, and rewarding as all of the TEFL programs promised! She was one private student cancellation away from begging for a meal on Las Ramblas. She knew she had to make a tough decision and that was to leave her beloved Barcelona and go to another E.U. country for reasons of survival.

In the summer of 2007, Adriana returned to Barcelona after having lived in Germany, and unbeknownst to her she made the heart of one young man very happy. He earnestly hoped for the day he would see the woman he had fallen in love with, but his hopes grew dimmer and dimmer until that hot summer day he saw her again. ‘What can I say to her? Is she seeing someone?’ these questions pestered him relentlessly. Julius knew he had to say something, but every time he saw her, the words would linger in his heart before finally getting caught in his throat. He could only imagine what could happen if and when he’d speak to her…

(Julius humming the lyrics to Just My Imagination- The Temptations)

Adriana, known for her strength, independence, and straightforwardness was determined to get her footing in Barcelona and settle down in a place she considered a ‘second home’. Although, she did not know of the feelings of Julius, she too was thinking of matters of the heart...wondering when she would meet that special someone….

(Adriana whistling...I am Ready For Love – India Arie)

For the next five months, Julius watched and waited…and...waited
…until the right opportunity presented itself. During those long months a calm and cool Julius carefully guarded his feelings, but his eyes were continually fixed on the woman that captured his heart…and all the while he thought….

(playing softly in the background...I Wanna Get Next to You - Rolls Royce)

On a cold December evening in a warm cafe, Julius finally met with Adriana to tell her how deep his feelings had become for her and in hopes she would give a shy, but nice, likeable guy like himself a chance. The poor girl, nearly fell out of her chair upon hearing the words of love and admiration being uttered by…wait! What’s his name…yea, Julius….nice name. ‘No way! I didn’t think he even knew I existed,’ she thought to herself.

‘Wait a minute, why does he have that look on his face? Is he trying to read my thoughts? Oh, no…he ‘s just nervous! Whew!’ she dabbed a napkin to her brow and wiped imaginary breadcrumbs from her skirt as she pondered, ‘Does this guy really know me? Does he know a woman like me?’

(the intro to 'Woman Like Me' – Beyonce stirs Adriana to re-evaluate her situation)

‘No! No! No! He’s not my type…we’re so different...we’re so, so…hold on a minute...Then, she thought of his forward but sincere approach, his love for her, his courage, and his polite manner. ‘Ummm, I should not give this up so quickly, let me see what this guy is about,’ she thought.

This humble, handsome, and honest unassuming young man courted the woman he loved with the intentions of getting her to fall for him…and as the saying goes…the bigger they are, the harder they fall! She was so smitten by her new beau she could hardly contain herself. Soon she was humming….

(`Best Is Yet To Come – Nancy Wilson')

On May 17, after a long conversation with Adriana’s parents via telephone and in the presence of close friends Julius promised his beloved to love her for the rest of his life and proposed marriage. Adriana readily accepted spending the rest of her life with the man she had grown to love …truly, deeply, madly.


Woo-hoo! I´m back! I´m back!

Wait a second...I need a job! I need a place to stay! Ok, if it doesn´t work this time, then I am leaving for more returns (yea, right who am I kidding)?

Everyone knows, it is next to impossible to find work in the middle of summer in Barcelona, but I was going to give it a shot. I funny thing I found work in Italy, so I thought maybe I was going to have to go to work as a nanny in Italy over the summer and return to Barcelona to teach English in September/October.

I received a call about a Spanish family that was looking for a tutor/nanny in Barcelona and the pay and hours were excellent! I couldn´t believe it...I knew I was meant to be back was only much later that I realized how right I was!

Frankfurt & Munich

On March 2006, I left Barcelona to Germany to pursue residency and a work permit in the E.U. I really liked Barcelona, so this was a tough decision to make, but I was struggling to remain in Barcelona and work legally.

I arrived in Frankfurt on a cold, blustery evening and met my friend Feli. I stayed with her for a few weeks as I combed the city looking for work, going on interviews at English institutions and meeting with self-employed teachers wiling to give me a few tips on how to manage in Germany. The first week, I started to slowly slip into a mild depression due to the language, the weather, and my lack of contacts and stability. I had a job offer in Munich as a kindergarten teacher, but I didn´t know a soul there and I was relunctant to move there. Two weeks later, I was on a train headed for Munich.

Munich is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It is something out of a fairytale, but the day I arrived it was cold, windy, and heartached for Barcelona and warm sunshine.

I worked in Munich as a kindergarten teacher at a small, wonderful kindergarten called Die Zappels. Before I tell you about the kindergarten, first let me tell you about my living accommodations. When I arrived in Munich, I didn´t have a place to live....yes, a job, but no place to live. Die Zappels is a parent-initative kindergarten, that basically means the parents are responsible for everything...the building, the hiring of teachers, the structure, the food served, etc. You get the picture. They were supposed to help me find housing in Munich, but by the time I arrived, they had not secured housing, so basically I was homeless! I stayed with one family for one weekend, then stayed at their neighbor´s apartment for the rest of the week (she worked in Cologne during the week). This went on for two weeks and then I had to find another place to stay. One of the parent´s had an American friend, I will call him Dave, that had a room to rent, but it wouldn´t be available for weeks, so he kindly spoke to an acquaintance of his to see if he had a room available to rent for a few weeks. This man, I will call him John, called me and told me he spoke with Dave, and he would be more than happy to help. We made an appointment to meet at 9am on Saturday at his apartment *sigh!* it went downhill from there.

I arrived at Dave´s apartment at 9:10 on Saturday. My back was hurting from sleeping on a couch for over two weeks, so I wasn´t in the greatest of moods, but I managed a cheery smile when Dave answered the door and led me into the apartment. He introduced me to one of the other tenants that lived there with his wife. Then Dave showed me to the kitchen, offered me a seat, proceeded to make a cup(s) of tea and poured out his life story for two and a half hours *blank stare* My left foot fell asleep and I almost followed suit but pity for this man kept me awake. I kept asking myself, 'How do you get yourself into these situations?' Dave told me about his first wife leaving him when he lost his fortune. His second wife (she was a nurse, they met while he was the hospital recuperating from surgery, I´m leaning toward a lobotomy) left him after 11 years of marriage, she went to church and never came back after the services! *blank stare* you think Davey-boy would learn, oh no! he was trying to get wife number three..she was a woman he met while on holiday in Spain, Granada to be exact. The problem was she was a total psycho case and he regaled me of stories of this woman´s psychotic exploits...ok, at this point my stomach was churning from hunger and anxiety and I really needed to stand up so I could get blood circulating to my left foot again. Just when Dave took a quick breath to launch into yet another story, I blurted out I needed to see the room he was renting because I had an appointment at noon and I was afraid I was going to be late if we didn´t hurry along. Molasses on a cold Vermont morning move faster than Dave, he slid out his chair and stood up like a man who just finished a seven course meal, I was just waiting for him to belch for effect. Ten minutes later (an eternity for me at that point) we made it to the room. It was a charming, well lit room and I immediately liked it. We discussed the move in/out date, date of key exchange, etc. Then ole´Davey says 30 minutes later, `Oh yeah, remember I told you I go down to the church to do volunteer work´ I nodded my head and murmured `uh-huh´ as I fished in my bag to get my mobile phone to call my co-worker to notify her I would be late for our noon appointment. Davey continued,`Well, yeah, I also help out some people too, I let a guy stay here overnight, he sleeps in the kitchen.´ Ok, my mobile slips out my hand back into my bag as my brain tried to register what this man just told me....did this man just say that he allows a homeless man to sleep in the kitchen?!? I am supposed to step over a homeless man to make myself a cup of tea..oh, I can just hsee the `uh, excuse me, I just need to get over to the cups to make myself some tea.´ homeless guy: sniffing and shuffling out of the way. I snapped back to my senses and nodded numbly as I made my way for the front door.

I thought he would leave me at the front door, but he wanted to escort me to the metro station. The man talked as if he was allergic to mind was racing with thoughts on where I was going to live, I didn´t have anymore options, but I wasn´t to live in a place that doubled as a part-time homeless shelter.

I met with my co-workers that Saturday afternoon and explained my situation. We were all numb with disbelief. I stayed at the apartment of one my co-workers until another solution could be reached. That meant another sofa...*sigh*

One of the parent´s at the kindergarten was taking his family to South Africa for a three week holiday and offered his home for that period of time. I seized the opportunity and moved in while the family was away.

I finally moved into the room John was renting out in mid May...almost two months after arriving in May! I shared the apartment with two other students, John and his wife lived in an apartment around the corner from the rental.

June 2007...I was ready to leave Germany! I had enough of moving around, parents squabbling over power issues at a kindergarten...a kindergarten?!?and sharing an apartment with a whining Barbie that kept a refrigerator in her room because she couldn´t risk sharing with strangers and a long-haired 20-something waiter that didn´t know the meaning of clean and it´s purpose in shared spaces. On May 30, I handed in resignation letter and a month later I was on a plane back to Barcelona (breathing easier but alot heavier).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Barcelona Experience!!!

The Barcelona Experience…

How should I begin? Ok, let’s start with four words…I LOVE THIS CITY!!! Barcelona is an incredibly vibrant city that offers so much in natural beauty, cultural arts and leisure activities. It has also proven to be fertile ground for the ministry and this has been most rewarding. So, please allow me to bring you up-to-date with the past few months in my ‘adopted’ city. Well… let me just bring you up-to-date because I have not been in the city all that much, you’ll see…read on…

The past summer had been one of discovery and excitement because of my move from Rome to Barcelona and also my travels in August to southern Spain (Andalucia), Morocco, and Germany.

I relocated to Barcelona in early July. You may remember in an earlier blog I told you I was invited to be a delegate at the International Convention in Prague but was unable to attend therefore I returned to Rome in mid-July to attend the convention in English (the English speaking congregations had their convention in June). The ‘Deliverance is Near’ convention was a spiritual booster not only was nourished but I had the added delight of saying a ‘proper good-bye’ to my Italian friends that do not live in Rome but were in the same district as myself.

Upon my return to Barcelona I ‘served’ in my new congregation. Technically, I serve with the English group that meets in the ‘nord’ section of the city, however during the summer months the English congregation which meets in the ‘sud’ section of the city and the English group met together. During the summer months many publishers travel extensively; to their home countries, visit with friends, or travel to foreign lands for leisure, the results is the meeting attendance decreases dramatically, hence the elders arranged for the congregation and the group to meet together. In addition, this past summer saw the departure of many regular pioneers returning home after spending 4-5 years in Barcelona or going off to serve in other foreign lands, i.e Taiwan, Nicaragua, Bolivia.

It was such a pleasure to be in walking distance of the beach! Rome is situated about 50 miles from the coast, but Barcelona is a coastal city and I fortunate to have a beautiful view of the beach, the city and the surrounding mountains from my balcony and bedroom window. Barcelona has nice beaches but the further up the coast towards Girona, the beaches are heart-stopping beautiful. Also, this part of Spain is lush and green similar to the north western part of Spain, known as Galicia. The southern part of Spain is Andalucia which is very, very dry like the southwestern part of the States. It is a beautiful part of the country and in the minds of foreigners the one most associated with Spain. Andalucia is where you can cities like Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, Cadíz, Granada, and the tourist ‘ghettoes’ that call themselves cities.

I love Andalucia because the people are hospitable, the beauty and the history, and the wine and food is de-lllicccious!!! I stayed for a week in a tourist ghetto called Calahonda the traveled to Coin and remained there for two weeks with friends. It was an amazing three weeks I must tell you! The first week I stayed in Calahonda for 48 consecutive hours in a fabulous apartment…but then afterwards I hit the road every day and enjoyed less and less time in that wonderful place but I was able to see some great sights! Of course I went to Malaga, then just take it west from there…don’t know Spain too much huh? Well, let’s see, ummm….it went like this…Malaga, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Mijas, Fuengirola, Marabella, Estepona, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Tarifa, and Cadiz. It looks like a lot and yes what!? It was a lot of traveling but tons of fun. I would love to do it again. This time I would like to go camping in Tarifa and take a windsurf course while there. It was from Algeciras that I took a ferry to Tanger (Tangier), Morocco but the next time I return to Morocco I’d prefer to go from Tarifa (only 30 minutes)!

You may wonder what was the highlight of my trip…I thought it would have been the Rock of Gibraltar, but it was the beach at Tarifa that left me breathless. I wish I could provide you a picture of that spectacular beach. The beach and the surrounding area are a natural reserve. I remember standing in the parking lot scratching my head wondering, ‘How are those people walking on water?’ ! It was an optical illusion. Yes, it was truly amazing I walked closer to the water to inspect and realized I was walking ankle deep in a large lagoon. The lagoon was ankle deep for many meters and calm with barely a ripple. If you continued walking you would reach a large sandbar. It was the sandbar that I spotted people walking on from the parking lot. When you reach the sandbar it is there the Strait of Gibraltar welcomes you. People mistakenly think that it is the Atlantic Ocean, but Tarifa is on the southern tip of Spain, facing Africa and the Strait of Gibraltar has a powerful current because the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet at that point. In the distance rose the looming mountains casting beautiful shadows as the red sun retired from bathing, burning, and scorching bodies and vegetation for the day. The sky was a tapestry of vivid, beautiful colors trying to outdo the other with its majesty and splendor. If you could tear your eyes away from this wondrous scene and turn your back to the ocean for one minute to view the mountains behind you, then your eyes would gaze upon the tall, white ‘windmills’. These structures have a name that I do not know offhand but when you see dozens of these manmade wonders perched on the surrounding mountains whirling from the wind that has just traveled across the Atlantic and getting ‘swept’ up in these whirling contraptions, it is simply magnificent. It was then that I wished I had the power to make time stand still so that I could selfishly enjoy the moment for a few more minutes, no hours, then time realistically permitted.

Another exciting aspect of my trip was my time spent in the fascinating city of Tanger (Tangiers) on the northern tip of Morocco. The city has an interesting history and colorful past. I was so excited to go to Morocco that it wasn’t until I was on the ferry that I realized that all the women had covered legs, arms, and heads. Ahem, but Ms. America here was dressed in a short-sleeved blouse and shorts. Oh my! I couldn’t wait to get off that boat. The good thing was I befriended a nice Moroccan man in that lives in Switzerland but had traveled back to Morocco to visit his family. He was excited to meet an American and converse in English. His English was elementary at best, but we spoke at length about everything from traveling, religion, and the state of the world’s affairs. Although he was Muslim, he listened to the message of the good news. This man was also very helpful at the port of entry. Morocco is a very corrupt country and I suggest that if you visit you go with a guide because if it wasn’t for that man I am sure I would not have entered (or departed) the country so easily. Ok, so that suggestion applies for me too and I did not realize that man was a blessing from Jehovah because Morocco isn’t exactly a ‘lone’ tourist’s paradise. I would like to return to Morocco for a longer period of time, this time with friends who speak Arabic and I would like to visit Casablanca and Marrakech. My roommate, she is French Algerian, and I are planning a trip for next year to see some of her friends in Marrakech, so I will keep you posted.

My road trip ended after one week but my time in southern Spain did not end there because I was fortunate to be a guest of the Short family in Coín. This wonderful family showed hospitability for two weeks. I had the privilege of spending many hours in the ministry with their neighbors, Mario and Carlota, a pioneer couple that moved from their home in the north of Spain to serve where the need is great in the south. Also, I had the privilege of spending time in the ministry with two pioneer sisters in Fuengirola. There are many people from the United Kingdom currently living in southern Spain and so as you can imagine the response we got in the ministry. These people thought when they left England, they left us behind too! They get the biggest wakeup call when English speaking witnesses ring their doorbells in Spain…hehehe.

Mario and Carlota were visited by friends from the north, Danny and Izabel. These two couples were so delightful to be around : ) We had a lot of fun hanging together and going to Cordoba and Seville. Also, I need to give a big shout out to Chris Goodall-Short, an awesome guy! He recently got married to a lovely Spanish sister. I hope they will come up to Barcelona one of these days.

I must say that my trip to the south of Spain was a blast and know I feel supremely guilty for not keeping in contact with these fine folks! I definitely have to do something about that, ASAP!!!

I returned to Barcelona for a day and then was off again to Germany….

Frankfurt….in August…FREEZING COLD! Ugh!!!Yeah, that’s right…I went there dressed like a tourist on holiday in Mallorca and didn’t realize I needed to bring a jacket…IN AUGUST! Oh my, I really wanted to get back on that plane and return home. To make matters worse, it rained every day. Ok, with that said, ummm…well, Frankfurt isn’t exactly a hot ‘tourist’ spot. It’s a financial centre without much to see so if you ever decide to go there, it’s best to go there to see the people and I must admit I had great company. Let me see, there was Felicity, Giang, Pam, and Sandra…they were a lot of fun! I stayed at Bethel in Neiderselters on Monday night and attended the Watchtower Study (in German!). Thanks Uli! After a few days, in Frankfurt…I headed to Berlin…

Berlin…there was so much to see; Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Tiergarten Park, Pergamon Museum, the Berlin Wall. I stayed with a lovely couple, Geert and Myrtie…big shoutout to Gee and Myrtie!!! Berlin in the northeastern part of Germany but it was actually warmer than Frankfurt! I am at a loss for words on that one. Anyway, I love history and that city is chock full of history. I felt as if I stepped back into time when I visited the Berlin Wall Museum and Checkpoint Charlie. It was is the ‘Cold War’ was still raging on although the Wall fell in 1989, its legacy resonates throughout the city, it has left its scars on its city and on the hearts and minds of the generations that had to endure its existence. The Wall was erected in 1961 and according to the statistics provided by the Berlin Wall Museum there were 5,075 successful escape attempts (some brilliantly planned and executed) and 178 victims. Checkpoint Charlie was the most well known border crossing between East and West, in October 1961 American and Russian tanks faced each other there at that point until the United States intervened to defend the fundamental rights of Berlin’s special status. It became the geographical focal point of the Cold War where two super powers met and two worlds split apart and joined again.

The Pergamon Museum (see g/76 2/8)

It is in the heart of Berlin you can find the Pergamon Altar, please look at Revelation 2:12-17. Yes, the same place where Jesus said, ‘the throne of Satan is.’ The archaeologists that discovered the altar cannot determine if the throne was dedicated to Zeus or Athena, or possibly both gods because the inscription is largely fragmented causing difficulty for the archaeologists to accurately decipher.

The Museum also has a reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate. This gate was part of the famous impenetrable Babylonian walls constructed by King Nebuchadnezzar. Undoubtedly, this gate was the one that Daniel and his companions entered when they came to Babylonian as captives, why? because the Ishtar Gate was the end of Babylon’s Procession Street. A cobblestone taken from it bears the inscription: “Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, Son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon am I. The Babel street I have paved for the procession of the great Lord Marduk with Shadu-cobblestones.”

The Charlottenburg district was splendid with its magnificent palaces and lovely gardens. I enjoyed a fine afternoon of reading and wandering aimlessly thorough the gardens. Unfortunately, I did not take an opportunity to take a boat ride on the river or visit the Filmmusem Berlin, I am keen to know more of the German cinema. My knowledge is limited to Marlene Dietrich, unfortunately I do not know anything about German filmmakers nor of its famed actors.

My German holiday soon came to an end and I had to return to Spain. I didn’t much mind, at least it was warm in Spain. I couldn’t wait to shed all those sweaters and jackets off when I landed in Barcelona! Ahhhhh….sun, sun, sun…prickling my sun-starved skin as I left the airport and searched impatiently for the airport-BCN centre bus to arrive. The air-conditioning on the bus was wheezing out air like an asthmatic without an inhaler but I since I was in the process of defrosting from a deep German freeze, I was not complaining! Ohhh…it was good to see palm trees, feel the ocean breeze, and wear scandals again…hurray!

Back to reality…so September begins that means…work, a new service year…and umm, more beach…hehehe. Yeah, basically it means summer is over, time to start the J-O-B. I am an English teacher, more specifically I am A TEFL teacher that means I teach English as a foreign language. I enjoy teaching and better yet, I can work parttime and earn a living allowing me to regular pioneer. Ok, so I won’t be able to afford the luxuries in life but hey, I didn’t come here for that. I could have stayed in New York and had ‘luxury’, but I wouldn’t trade this for the world (ha! Literally!).

Life here is Barcelona has been truly good and I am so thankful to my Father for this blessing. I wish you all well and may you have Jah’s blessings.

Monday, July 24, 2006


In the Land of Gaudi...yes, that's right...BARCELONA! As you may have already heard I left Rome the beginning of this month and moved to Barcelona. This cultural hotbed is the artistic 'mother' to Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali. It’s a haven for tourists yearning for the natural beauty of the Pyrenees mountains which offers skiing and hiking. Also, this wonderful city lures tourists and locals alike by its idyllic beaches. The 'old lady' by American standards, she is over 2,000 years old, wears her age quite well and by quick glance at the dizzying number of construction sites, she has no intention of slowing down.

Although this city usually experiences mild temperatures in the summer (and winter) months, we have been experiencing record temperatures these past few weeks. As the mercury creeps up the thermometer, the beaches are rushed by tourists and locales seeking the cool refreshing waters of the Mediterranean and the relief of the ocean breezes. Also, there are many happy to bake in the afternoon sun with minimal sunscreen and little regard for high UV warnings. I have wondered if the Spaniards check for ozone warnings because many of them (including tourists) have enough oil on their bodies to fill a large sized pan and fry several pieces of chicken. I am always amazed at their ability to lie on their back and 'sleep' for hours without moving a muscle in unbearable heat for the sake of browner skin. Ah, yes you have noticed that I spend a lot of time at the beach! You are clever, there is no fooling you! I happen to love the beach and to be in walking distance of it is a dream come true.

The Barcelona English congregation is located in Barcelona Sud and I live in in Barcelona Nord, so I must travel to the other side of the city to attend meetings. In the near future I will support the english group in the south but, for the summer months the group meets with the congregation. Ironically, the 'south' side of the city has the highest African population whereas the south due to pricey accommodations has a high number of British and American expats., it appears I will lose out on gaining a many African bible students. (Sigh!) It will be no easy task trying to cultivate interest in my fellow American expats and British neighbors. Another ironic twist is the congregation is losing five pioneers and one ministerial servant in less than 2 weeks! Yep, four are returning to the homeland, the U.K. and the other two are moving on to other assignments...Taipei (Taiwan) and Bolivia. The English congregation has over 15 pioneers, the group has seven regular pioneers, but with the departure of five in less than one month, you can imagine the elder’s nervousness. Ok, stop laughing! It seems hard to believe the elders would worry over the departure of five regular pioneers while well over fifteen remain, but remember we are talking about coverage of the entire city of Barcelona including surrounding areas! There is much work needed to be done!

As mentioned I live in Barcelona Nord, in a beautiful section of the city named Diagonal Mar, or Santi Marti. The area is under much development at the moment, matter of fact the city administrators have OK'd another beach addition (yippppeee!) and the area is attracting many people, tourists and locals alike to move to this beautiful part of the city. I have been blessed with a wonderful view of a lovely park and beach from my terrace and the city of Barcelona Nord and the mountains from my bedroom and kitchen windows. It is a delight to enjoy a spectacular view of the sea while I enjoy my dinner in the evenings.

Do I miss Rome??? Ummmm....the answer...not really. As creatures of habit, we miss routines-schedules-agendas, to leave these structures behind can and will leave us disoriented. Admittedly, I have fallen under a lethargic spell of sun and sand with free time that I have not seen since last August. My mind grows dim when I think that barely weeks ago the only free time I had rested on Sundays and even then my energy was exhausted my mid-afternoon and a nap was desperately needed to see me through the rest of my day. I shudder to think of 'my ROMAN schedule' in the Rossi household. Although, I keep a copy close at hand to remind me of the exhaustive hours I grew accustomed to and what I no longer have to contend with on a daily basis. Without any doubt I will not ever miss the frustrating chaos they call 'public transportation' in that city nor will I ever wistfully call to mind the on-the-verge-of-road-rage, idiotic drivers in that snarled mess of traffic in Rome. Just in case you are wondering, I would like to reclaim the 10 years of my life I lost driving in Rome. This maybe another reason I am drawn to the beach in Barcelona, the sun, sand, and surf relax me so much I am lulled to sleep. I feel my tense muscles relax, a smile forms on my face, as I float along the waves. Ok, with that said, I will say I miss the fine brothers and sisters I have met in that ancient city. They have supported me in many ways and for that I am eternally grateful (get it...Eternal City...eternally grateful...ok, forget it). The fine deeds demonstrated by those in the congregation are too many to recount. I am truly thankful for the love and support shown by the Roma Ovest Inglese.

So, what next....I will keep u posted....I suppose : ))

Hasta luego!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Back Home

Back Home...

New York and Miami.

How does it feel to be home?

That was the question most people asked me when I returned to Miami and New York to see family and friends. 'How will it feel to be back?' was a question I pondered when the plane departed Rome to Milan. In Milan, I waited for 30 minutes queuing Italian style at customs and that question played in mind like a continuous recording. In America, people wait on line in single file allowing sufficient personal space whereas Italy that concept simply does not exist. As an expatriate you endeavor to avoid comparsions of the land you live in and the one of origin. This can be difficult because all of us carry 'cultural baggage' and sometimes that baggage makes us view other cultures negatively. So, back to the question, 'How did it feel to be back home?' I must admit I looked forward to seeing my friends and family but when I landed at Miami International Airport after twelve hours of flight, honestly I wanted to get back on the plane and return to Europe immediately. It is not because I did not want to see my family or see beautiful South Beach, no, the reason was I did not want to be in America! Hey! where was the euphoria?!? I should be jumping up and down with joy! Ok, it was GOOD to hear English again but don't get wrong, Miami is more Latin American than North American and interestingly, this made it more tolerable! Maybe, having a cranium crushing, jackhammer pounding, mind numbing headache from dehydration and lack of sleep did not help my mood either. Finally, I got to see my family after first having a few helpings of MSG-filled, delicious Chinese food with my mother and brother's girlfriend. Shortly after, I took 2 Tylenol PM tablets and was off to never-never land!

I stayed in Miami for a few days before heading north to New York City. It was extremely exhausting to fall back into the fast paced life of my city, 'the Big Apple'. It was great to see my friends again, but I longed to go 'home'. I could feel myself becoming lethargic due to slight depression that gradually enveloped me. Mistakenly I thought it was a bad case of jet lag. Why was I so miserable? Why wouldn't I want to be back in New York with my friends that understand me and know me? The same ones that laugh at my jokes, not only remember the stories I tell but are a part of them, and share many of the same likes and dislikes as me. I was puzzled at my desire to get away at the same I was growing weary of the thought of spending another day in the City. I felt disoriented and helpless in my City! It wasn't because I was gone long but maybe it had someting to do with my feeling of being out of sync with everyone and everything else around me. The longing to leave was so strong that it was becoming a burden by my second to last day. The ironic part of this is, I felt it was one of the best trips I ever taken because it I learned so much about people I considered my friends and also I learned about myself.

I think leaving Miami was the toughest part of the trip. It was wonderful to see my brothers again, but was most difficult to say good-bye to my parents. I was not prepared to be affected so profoundly by the seperation.

How does it feel to be back in Rome? It feels GREAT to be back in Europe and yes, I exhaled when the plane landed at Fiumicino airport. I am happy to be back in Rome! I will be happier when I go home to...Barcelona!

I'll keep you posted : ))

Hey everybody, thanks for checking up on me! Let's see whats new?!?

Hey guys!

Can you believe I have been in Rome for almost one year?!? Time has gone by so quickly!!! : ))

I like this photo alot!

Even when things look bleak...keep a smile on your face and keep your head to the sky! : ))

What's next?!?

Just another day in the life!