What I miss...
1. the children on the playground in Tres Barrios, Sevilla
2. toasted fresh bread, drizzled with olive oil and layered with Spanish jamon, washed down with sweet, hot coffee at Cafe de India in Espartina
3. watching the people at the airports along the way
4. teaching the journaling class and watching their hearts and eyes light up
5. painting little Marta's fingernails light pink
6. the look on her face when I greeted her by name the next day
7. standing next to the enormous statues of the men who carried the tomb of Christopher Columbus inside the cathedral of Sevilla
8. the interior patios visible from the streets of Andalucia - the plants, the hand-painted tiles, and the stained glass above the doors and windows
9. the woman who showed me her mastectomy scars and the necklace that bears the image of her deceased husband. What did she see in me that gave her such freedom to tell me her story and show me her scars? (This is an oft-repeated question in my life: Why did you choose me? Why did he choose me? Why me?)
10. watching Ada, David, Loida, and Manolo frolic in the waves of the sea off the coast of Cadiz
11. gluing ticket stubs, receipts, empty sugar packets, and words torn from bags and newspapers into my journal
12. the immaculately dressed infants that slept peacefully under elegant blankets in princely carriages as their parents paraded them through the center of town - Such a contrast to the inner-city children who wore the same clothing two or three days in a row.
13. the poetry on the walls of the Sevilla airport, posted in spaces where there might otherwise be advertisments. Poems by Antonio Machado, Vicente Aleixandre, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer were presented there in Spanish; please accept my humble translation of one of Machado's stanzas:
Floating in the afternoon atmosphere
that aroma of absence
says to the luminous soul: never,
and to the heart: wait.
14. waking up daily with the knowledge that there was yet another connection to make, another hand to hold, another smile to give away
- Hey wait! Number 14 doesn't have anything to do with Spain. There are connections to be made, hands to be held, and smiles to be shared right here at home.
As I look back on the trip, read my journal,
reflect on the lessons learned, I am moved to tears.
So much comes back to mind. Faces. Stories. Fear. Doubt. Jokes.
Quiet moments of grace. Big moments of booming laughter.
Wishing I could stay there forever, but knowing that I could not.
Wishing I could hear more stories, tell more of my own,
but knowing that the stories would never end.
Wanting to share every moment with others,
but also longing to be alone, to absorb it at my own pace
and in my own way.
Wondering if I will ever see them again.
All of them. Any of them.
Contradictions. Contrasts. Confusion.
The places and people I miss.
The questions that plague.
The doubts that consume.
The wishes that are unlikely to become reality.
In all of life's in-elegance, there is beauty.
Depth. Grace. Insight.
Always deep gratitude.
Gracias por todo.
Grazie per tutti.