|Caitlin, me & Mary outside Old Town. I've been three times before this, but never managed to see the actual entrance.|
|Caitlin, Sr. Angela & Me|
Since I'm behind on blogging... Grandpa & Grandma Parks stopped by on their way to Arizona the first weekend back in Albuquerque. It was so nice to show them around a little, go out to eat (of course it was Pizza!) and to just hang out. Thank you for visiting. It was just what I needed my first week back!
|After some intense games of cards that I'm pretty sure Grandpa won all of.|
Day to Day
Our weeks have gotten much busier. Before Christmas break, I had a lot of free time to study Spanish and do whatever in the early afternoons. Now, I’m having conversation hours most Mondays and Fridays with Sr. Marisa, which is a huge help in improving my spoken Spanish. Since Caitlin speaks Spanish very well, she's helping me too. Caitlin and I have also started volunteering at Casa Angelica on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 5 before we go to San Jose for catechism. Casa Angelica started as a home for young children with severe disabilities, but now, because they get such amazing care, the children have grown into adults, with several around my age or older. The 16 “kids” are absolutely wonderful even though I don’t always know what to say to them or do with them since none of them can speak or walk. But, each day we go I feel more comfortable as I get to know what each of them likes and dislikes and how they communicate.
Caitlin and I have started cooking together in preparation for living in Paraguay, and I’m surprised I’m saying this, but I don’t actually hate vegetables and beans. I wouldn’t say my portions are full-on adult, but I’m getting there!
|Our first meal together:A Moroccan dish with chick peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions and a bunch of other spices.|
A little Adventure
Last Saturday, we went skiing at Sandia (the mountains right outside Albuquerque) much to Sr. Angela's dismay due to safety concerns. Luckily neither of us got hurt, so we didn't have to deal with her wrath or her threat of taking our place in going to Paraguay :). It was the first time Caitlin or I had gone skiing, and I’ll admit that I was a little scared at points and fell down a lot (I went to the top of the mountain and even went on some blue hills!), but it was an absolute blast. Mary, her boyfriend, Rob, and her brother, Danny, were amazing coaches and teachers. Guess I’ll have to try out the slopes in Colorado with Nicki, Jason and Oliver next year.
|In our ski gear! I knew there was another reason I decided to bring running gear...|
|Mary giving Caitlin and me lessons.|
|Our wonderful coach!|
|View from the lift: surprisingly not scary even with my fear of heights.|
|After our run down the mountain, which I'm pretty sure took much longer than Rob & Danny were anticipating.|
On Sunday, Mary, Rob, Sr. Angela, Caitlin and I went to Santa Fe and explored the Plaza, the Cathedral and the many shops that surround them. Plus, we stopped by the Loretto Chapel, which houses the Miraculous Staircase. Amazing art and culture!
|View of Santa Fe from the Cathedral.|
|Our Lady of Guadalupe tiled art outside the Cathedral.|
|Outside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe|
|The Cathedral doors.|
|Intricacy on the doors.|
|Crucifix inside the Cathedral. If I remember right it is several hundred years old and contains real human hair...not my favorite to be honest.|
|The statue on top is La Conquistadora, interestingly enough now called our Lady of Peace. The oldest statue of Mary in the U.S.|
|Inside the Cathedral|
|Inside the Cathedral|
|The baptismal font inside the Cathedral.|
|The old Loretto Chapel|
|All the rosaries hanging outside.|
|The Miraculous Staircase. Click the link to learn more www.lorettochapel.com/staircase|
|On the train back to Albuquerque!|
Caitlin and I returned to Santa Fe on Wednesday with a bus of parishioners from Annunciation parish to participate in the Right for Life rally. I’d never been to one, so it was an interesting experience. Skipping the actual march from the Cathedral to the Round House (New Mexican Capitol), Caitlin and I helped pass out 400 balloons to signify the abortions that occur in New Mexico each month.
|Right for Life Mass at the Cathedral|
|holding roughly 70 balloons|
|Outside the Round House|
This weekend, we’re attending a retreat at the Spirituality Center on the Inner Compass: Growing with Ignatian Spirituality, next weekend I’m heading to Flagstaff for a short visit with Matt, the following weekend several past VOICA volunteers and friends are gathering for a special send off Mass for Caitlin and I, the next weekend we pack, and Monday we depart!