Final reports from Spain

Spain/Morocco 2010-11For the past three days, our group has been on a trip to Toledo.  In Toledo, we were able to see remnants of its Roman, Visigothic, and Moorish past.  Toledo was a city of immense intellectual knowledge when it was a part of the Islamic empire and continued to be when the Christians reconquered the city.  In addition to this more positive look back into Spanish history, many of us discovered some of the more disturbing parts of Spain’s past when we visited a museum about the torture devices used during the Inquisition.  The items on display there made me wonder how someone could have used those horrifying instruments on another human being.  Luckily, Toledo’s winding cobblestone streets and Christmas lights helped comfort me as I tried to focus on happier things.

Now that we are back in Montoro to finish our last week in Spain, the realization of how little time we have left here is finally hitting us.  While the prospect of seeing our friends and family again is exciting, it’s going to be sad to leave here.

-Kate van der Zwaag

'Nagy' with his sword It’s amazing how when people say time goes so fast, I never believe it’s true.  And then I find myself in my last week of a 3½ month cross cultural, and have to face the reality that it’s over.

This past week, as with most of the weeks on this trip, has been interesting.  Group dynamics always prove to be a source of interest, and it’s through our challenges with others in the group that help our relationships to mature.  It’s scary thinking that soon I will be interacting with others outside this group— people who used to be similar will now feel foreign and different, but I’m hoping that feeling won’t last long.

Our past three days were spent in Toledo, which is an awesome town.  They are world renowned for their sword making, and the better parts of my days there were spent with ‘Nagy’ and Ben talking about how sweet the swords are.   We also got to visit the torture museum there, and while being disturbing, it was also fascinating in the fact that people could have actually used these devices on someone.  It’s sad and sickening to see, but it’s real and is still happening, even if it’s not in the public eye.

Coming back from Toledo, we got a shock when we heard there was a landslide in our town that caused a road to be out of use.  There had been lots of rain, and the river rose considerably (as I depicted), and has certainly done some damage.

All in all, an interesting week.  There is excitement in the house for going home, but wanting to enjoy our last days to the fullest. Six days and counting.

-Jesse Weaver