Friday, October 12, 2007

Que Sea Madura

Port Vell at night.

Carrer de Rossello. Carrer Bailen. Carrer de Roger de Flor. Diagonal? But I'm looking for Mallorca.

I stood on the corner of the intersection precariously perched in heels I haven't touched in months, dressed in my most professional outfit (well, as professional as one suitcase affords), trying not to look too lost despite the fact that ninety percent of the time I have absolutely no sense of direction. To my great relief I spot the glorious blue banners fluttering across the street. Emblazoned on the building wall are six of the best letters in the alphabet: UNICEF.

"El Presidente todavia no ha llegado," so I sit for a few minutes drinking in every detail of the small office. Before long, an old, portly Spanish man enters the room speaking in...Mandarin? "Ni hao, ni hao! Ni shi mei guo ren hai shi zhong guo ren a? Wo shi Victor." [Hello, hello. Are you American or Chinese? I'm Victor.] Shoot. Why didn't I pay more attention in Chinese School? I managed to mutter a few words in response despite being caught utterly off guard. Victor said a few words in Cantonese to which I could respond a bit better, and then finally he started in in Espanol throwing some English into the mix. Whew.

Premature relief. "Parlez vous francais?"
[Do you speak French?]

"Uh...uh...oui, mais, uh, je seulement peux parler un peu."
[Uh, yes, but I can only speak a little.]

"Ah, tres bien. I Catala?"
[Ah, very good. And Catalan?]

"Oh. Uhhhh, mes a menys pero menys que mes..."
[Oh. Uh, mas o menos, pero menos que mas.]

Fortunately, the interview was more than just me mumbling, bumbling, fumbling my way through six languages. We spent about an hour conversing about Victor's background and some of the work he's done (he's the President of UNICEF Spain and was also a Representative General for the UN in China for two years), what exactly the UNICEF office in Barcelona does (more advocacy, publicity, fundraising based work that enables other worldwide offices to carry out the hands-on humanitarian field work), and my main interests (street children, orphanage reform, Latin America), among other things. I could hardly believe it, it was so unreal.

Fast forward through the rest of the logistical stuff my supervisor-to-be Maria, who is incredibly nice, took me through. I wanted to lope around on the metro and hug every person I saw the whole way home. But none of that childishness.

God has definitely brought me to Spain to GROW UP.

Starting next week, I'll be working at UNICEF Monday, Wednesday, Friday, about 25 hours a week with possible occasional weekend projects. I'm stoked out of my mind, but this internship also means I have to dress up (the President estaba vestido in a full on suit!) everyday and be professional at all times. Less traveling and minimal sleeping in. No goofing off or being immature, and especially, as Ben so kindly pointed out, no secret games of office Literati or falling out of chairs. Puchica.

Internship aside, the classes I attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays are chock full of 24-25 year olds who have finished their Bachelor degrees, have worked for a few years, are incredibly well-informed, and are now working on their Master's. Como se dice INTIMIDATING? And this whole managing my own finances, cooking all my meals, and being a million miles from home in a country that has completely rocked me out of my sheltered world in every way has proved to be a whole new ballgame. Oh, fleeting youth...

I can only hope I don't come back 21 going on 50. Broma, solo broma. I'm being dramatic. I still don't even earn my keep, so I can't be that cool. But God has been teaching me a lot nonetheless. Spain is CRAZY, if there is one word to describe it. Sometimes I feel like such a hormonal girl with my ever-changing opinions regarding this country and studying abroad for a year; one day feeling like I could never return home in a million billion years, the following day wanting to jump on the next plane back to San Diego. One day feeling like I'm confidently breaking out on my own independent self, the next day I'm running back and crying to my mama.

All I can say at this point is...
1. Praise God for He is GOOD.
2. Praise God that He is in control of my life.
3. Praise God for how intentionally He works.
4. Keep looking at our pictures so you'll still recognize me when I get back next year. :)

Old, old pictures from the Museu de Xocolata that I never put up.I cut three inches off of Sierra's hair!
In her sleep. Kidding.
Just call me the next Michelle Wan.

Psalm 37: 3-7

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