This trip has been much anticipated by many people. We, as a chorale, have been praying about, thinking about, talking about, and dreaming about, and working for these past few days and the ones to come. We have already met several incredible people, given a few “concerts”, and ate a lot of food. Thankfully the jet lag isn’t too bad.
Our flight was pretty uneventful. We had a night flight so we tried (key word being tried) to sleep on the plane. If we couldn’t, we watched movies or played games. My favorite part of the flight was when the sun was finally up and we could see outside. It was such a beautiful sight to see the mountains, clouds, and sunrise while so high up. It was truly mesmerizing.
Once we landed, we all met Carla, the woman who has been heading up this entire project, and got onto the bus that was taking us to where we are staying the night. The resort (which is similar to a college campus but… you know… in Spain, and with cacti, palm trees, mountains, and the Mediterranean Sea in sight) had a snack and coffee bar set up for us once we arrived and we got to meet a few members of the orchestra we are singing with. We got the whole day to just relax around the resort, so we could recover from the flight and hopefully get over jet lag, with a quick rehearsal in the evening.
One of the biggest shocks on this day was the eating schedule. Spaniards apparently eat very late in the day. Lunch is at 2pm and dinner around 8:30pm. On top of that, they have very different meals than we do. The first meal we had consisted of noodles with clams, muscles, and whole (whole) squids in some sort of sauce. It was delicious but definitely very strange to my very American palette. Each meal we have had, so far, has been a traditional Spanish dish and I have enjoyed getting to try what is normal in Spain rather than eating things I can get in America.
Sunday, we went to a church in the town, Castelldefels, which is just a little ways outside Barcelona.We were given the privilege to sing one of our songs for them and then joined them for their worship and service. While I don’t understand Spanish while it’s been spoken, I have an easier time reading it and understanding it, so I was able to make out what the sermon was about based on the notes on the screen in front (it was about Jesus being the good news and how the good news can change our life; thank you Miss Flinchbaugh for those two years of Spanish that I barely passed). They then supplied us with lunch, dessert, and coffee and we got to fellowship with the orchestra members and some of the leaders of the church. One of the girls there, who is ironically Irish and not Spanish, ended up taking us to see the Castle that Castelldefells is named after. It was unfortunately closed but we got to walk around the outside of the wall and enjoy the view around it. Eventually we made our way to rehearsal.
The first part of our rehearsal was just the orchestra and chorale. We rehearsed for about an hour and a half and then we got a small 15 minute break were we got the chance to go outside to get some ice cream from the promenade that we walked up on our way to the theatre. A few of us lucked out and ended up going to an ice cream shop that was closing down so they were just giving ice cream away for free! We let our American show and tried to tip them because we felt bad for not paying but they wouldn’t let us. Once we got back to the theatre, our second part of the rehearsal was actually an invited dress. They had sold tickets to people to come sit in and watch. The audience seemed to really enjoy it and actually started chanting for us to sing another (which we didn’t have another song the whole chorale knew, prepared) so the chamber singers ended up singing a song for them as well!
After the events of the day, we missed dinner back at the resort, but they made us like picnics for us to eat which consisted of two sandwiches and an apple. We all joined together outside to eat and hang out for the rest of the night. I ended up having an interesting conversation with one of the violinist in the orchestra, who has been helping us with scheduling and such. She was talking about hard it is to be a Christian in Spain. There is less than 1% of the population who are protestant Christians. And within that 1%, there is much division and arguments. These leads to many small churches who just argue rather than joining together as brothers and sisters in Christ. She also said that she, and other Spanish Christians, were jealous of what we American Christians had; a sense of community and unity. This is one of the main reasons we have come. To help them maybe find this unity they are missing. The chorale has been told of this disconnect over here but to actually hear it said from a Spaniard’s mouth just makes it even more real.
Please continue to pray for me and the rest of the Chorale as we embark on this journey. Spain is hurting, Barcelona/Catalonia is hurting and the Christians are hurting. They need our prayers and the hope that Jesus brings during this difficult time.