Sevilla and its surrounds are magnificent. Jasmine and other flowers called "ladies of the night" scented the air every evening. Date, lemons, and olive trees dropped their delicacies onto the streets, gardens, and playgrounds below. Hand-painted tiles adorned doorways and inner courtyards in the elegant city center.
In a farless elegant area of town, I taught journaling to a group of people ranging in age from 18 to 78. I painted fingernails for teenage girls and younger girls alike. I got both a chuckle and tears in my eyes as adolescent boys lined up to have me rub cream on their hands. Why should the girls be the only ones to benefit from the free manicures?
The looks on the faces of those children as I touched them, simply applying cream to their soft hands, the giggles from the girls, the obvious nervousness in the eyes of the boys moved me to tears. Like everyone else, they long to be touched, loved, noticed. I learned their names and ages and spoke to them whenever I saw them in the neighborhood. One boy came five times, two times one day, and three times the next day. Andres is his name. He's eleven years old. "Is it really free?" he asked several times.
As I sat there with their hands in mine, I prayed for peace and safety, for love and friendship, for hope and a future for each one of them. Every time I look at their pictures, I will pray for them. Sweet children. Lonely children. Needy children. Funny children.
Boys and girls told their friends about the women from America who came to teach classes and give manicures. We cleaned up the local playground - including the dog park! Beer bottles. Sunflower seed shells. Candy wrappers. Before long, a few of the children, including a two-year-old boy, began to help us pick up papers from the concrete jungle gym they played on and around.
I have dozens of stories to tell.
They are all jumbled up in my tired mind right now.
I need some time to write the stories down. To process them.
But first, I have to go braid Kristiana's hair and take her to her last softball game of the season. And tomorrow morning I need to call the dentist and apologize for forgetting to take the kids to the dentist today. At 2 PM, I was waking up from a brief nap. Oops.
Yes, I'm back.
It's good to be home.
And it was GREAT to be in Spain.