Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rambling on La Rambla

Would you consider yourself an introspective person?  If you had asked me this question 9 months ago, I would have emphatically told you no.  One of the qualities I love about Bobby is that he is naturally introspective.  When we were first married, he would ask me what I was thinking about and I would tell him nothing in honesty.  He would counter with how many thoughts per second the average person has, and I would insist that I really wasn't thinking about anything.  In education I have learned there are different types of intelligence with intra-personal being one.  I do not naturally have the capacity to understand myself and my thoughts and feelings.  I remember in high school when things weren't going my way I would counter with "just don't think about."  So over the years between training myself to not think/process my feelings as well as not having much of the intra-personal intelligence, I generally have a blank slate going on upstairs.

However, with our traveling and slowing down the pace at which we live life I have been growing my intra-personal intelligence.   Of course I talk to my kids and Bobby throughout the day, but without family and friends nearby I have way more conversations in my head.  (Don't worry, I have not gone mad yet!) 

Bobby and I share with each other our reflections from time to time, and they usually come out most when we are strolling.  We don't necessarily have an agenda of things we are trying to see, but just being out seeing life in the city.  We reflect on our travels, our future, how we've grown, how we want to grow...well you get the point.  

One of the biggest areas of growth for me is recognizing qualities about myself that I never chose to admit were present.  Friends of ours moved to NYC around the same time we moved to Paris.  She wrote a blog post that completely knocked me dead between the eyes.  I am not a writer and have a hard time expressing what I am feeling (low intra-personal intelligence, remember).   She includes a quote from C.S Lewis that I have been reminded of over and over again:

“we begin to notice besides our particular sinful act, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not creat the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light. ”     

Traveling is awesome.  Having the chance to be with my family, not just as a stay-at-home-mom but being with my husband too, is fabulous.  But there are days when I am exhausted from it all.  There are moments when city life gets to me.  I am working on the anger that rises within me so quickly in these moments.  I am thankful for a Savior that helps me one moment at a time, as well as forgives me when I refuse His help. I find myself being reminded of His presence more and more as I lean on Him.  If you would like to read my friend's blog post for a more eloquent explanation click HERE.  

I share with you the thoughts above so you can understand more fully our experience, especially on days that it doesn't look like we are doing much.  On this particular October day with highs in the mid-70s and a few scattered clouds present, we decided to stroll down La Rambla.  La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian street that runs straight through the center of the historic old town of Barcelona.  
We exited the metro to a wide-open square filled with pigeons and fountains.  Amelie and Liam thought they hit the jack-pot as they ran through the square moving the herds of pigeons from one area to another.  

Midway through our stroll we stopped for a lunch break.  We grabbed our traditional picnic (baguette, turkey, cheese, sausage slices, cherry tomatoes, and pears) from the grocery store and began searching for a bench.  We walked for a couple blocks until we came to the realization that there are no benches on La Rambla.  We started walking on the side streets hoping to find something and came across a church foundation that would work.  The front of the church had spikes set up on the steps so that you couldn't sit in the front.  We enjoyed our meal while watching a house be gutted.  The usable scraps were taken off by whoever had a cart large enough to carry the goods.

This was not posed.  I was hoping that she wouldn't notice the picture she is pointing to, but she did!
Our favorite part of our stroll came at the end when we saw many street characters dressed up.  Amelie and Liam would drop change in their buckets and then pose with some.  Liam would say more times than not, "Liam scared!"  Don't worry, he was giggling and having fun.  He just didn't want to be too close. ;)

This was our favorite as when you put change in his bucket, he stood up and then would make noises with his mouth as he moved his body around.  It was comical.  It's hard to describe the noise, but Amelie said it's like a bird chirp almost.  It was a mixture of a whistle and the sound you make when you shoot a gun. :)
We ended our walk at the large Christopher Columbus Monument.  Both kids loved the large Lions surrounding the monument overlooking the harbor.

It was just starting to lightly sprinkle as we reached the end of our walk so we jumped on the Metro and headed home.  When we got off the Metro, we had just missed the down pour and walked home on wet streets without becoming wet ourselves.  It was a good day.  We will definitely have to come back to stroll down this street again!

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