I ate breakfast and took a shower, and then Irina's friend Dayneris came over to meet me. I went with her to the bus station to get my bus ticket for the way home, and then we went looking for the cafeteria Cafe de Babel, which I LOVED from my previous time in Spain. We found it, but it was closed. Then we went to the Boutique del Té and I bought 3 different types of yummy tea. Mmmmm...
We went back to Irina's apartment, but no one was there, so we went to a corner café and ordered a cup of coffee (me) and a cup of tea (Dayne) and talked. it was really great to get to know her a little bit better.
After about 45 minutes, we figured Irina might be back, so we went up to her apartment, but still no on was there. We were just going back out when we ran in to Irina, so we went up with her.
She made a kind of Ukrainian food for lunch, with shredded potato, zucchini, 1 egg, salt, and a little flour. You drop spoonfuls into hot oil and fry them. Then you dip them in yogurt mixed with whipping cream to eat them.
We practiced some music and a skit together and then went to the church for choir practice and youth group.
Irina led the choir and I played the piano. Oh, but you should have seen the gaggle of Spanish women that crowded around me, hugging and kissing and crying. It was priceless. Pepi and Maricarmen and Maruja and Maria Jesus and several others were all clustered around me, waiting their turn to kiss and hug me, chattering and laughing, when Irina's voice broke through the din.
"Rebekah! There's someone who wants to see you!" I broke free and there was Anita. "Mi madre," I said, as I greeted her and she received me tenderly. She just gave me a look that spoke more than words. There is a link forged between us that hasn't disappeared despite the passage of four years since I last saw her.
Anita was the one who came up to me after I had spent 8 months in Malaga, learning Spanish and attending the church. She had always showed me much love and kindness, but the day I left, she said to me, "Rebekah, I always wanted to have a daughter. I had a couple of sons, but I always wanted to know a daughter's love, to share feminine things with her, to have that female companionship. The Lord did give me a daughter, a baby, but when she was 8 months old, she died. I never knew what it would be like to have an adult daughter. Now, God given you to me--for 8 months." It moved me to tears and we hugged each other and wrote off and on, but all our communication had gradually died off. Now, here she was again, and it was a special treat to see her.
The choir practice went well and then we had youth group, which started about 45 minutes late because people took forever to show up. Our skit went well and the message was good, brought by Manolo. Then they had a sort of business meeting where they voted for the leadership. This disintegrated into a big mess where everyone was arguing and people were all voicing opposing points of view. For me it was a lesson in the difficulty of doing any kind of church leadership. There is always opposition and threats from within and without, and the need is great for wise, tactful authorities who can put things straight.
We went back to Irina's apartment pretty late and ate magdalenas (lemon muffins) with sweetened condensed milk on top of them.
We talked for a while. I asked Irina if I could borrow a skirt, and she took me to her closet and told me to pick anything I wanted. I pulled out a skirt and tried it on, but it was too small, and then Irina pulled out a dress. "Try this on," she said. It was gorgeous, and it fit me perfectly. She pulled out a coat to wear with it, and added a necklace and earrings. I thought I was borrowing all this stuff, but then the next day she insisted that I keep it, along with some black tights and black shoes that her mom gave me. Ah! She is just way too generous.
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