Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Monthly Update: April 2014

April Updates!

I've now been in Dayton, Ohio for a month and a lot has happened within this short period of time. From re-connecting with old friends to making new ones, to attending an Easter sunrise service with my family (first time in 7 years), to re-adjusting to living at home to sunny days, cloudy days and one snowy day to getting involved with an international student ministry, I've been keeping quite busy up here!

Spring has sprung in my neighborhood! (Beavercreek)
I've been especially thankful to be experiencing a real spring after many years of being away from this area. The flowers and trees have started to bloom or have already bloomed. Birds are chirping earlier and earlier in the morning welcoming the warmer weather and sharing their songs with us. It has been a rainier April than what I got used to in Florida (March is a much rainier month there) but I am oh-so thankful for the lack of humidity, cooler nights and slightly weaker yet infrequent rays of the sun. But, most of all, I'm thankful to have quite a bit of stress off me and my family much closer than before. At times I can't believe I'm living back in Ohio, in Dayton nonetheless, but here I am. I'm starting to figure out the reason why I'm here such a time as this but I'll explain why later on in this post.

1. Spending Easter Sunday with my family

Collage of photos taken on April 20, 2014 (Easter Sunday)

We didn't get a family photo taken this Easter (due to waking up so early -6 AM- for the sunrise service but I at least got a picture in our church's small courtyard in the back. It was a brilliantly sunny yet cool day that Easter. I should've worn a coat actually but I knew I would warm up later in the morning when we went to have breakfast with the congregation in our fellowship hall. I was also just enjoying a cool morning in late April which practically doesn't exist in any part of Florida.

It was a little bit mind boggling that I hadn't been home for Easter in 7 years. I was a completely different person the last time I was in Ohio for Easter (a shy HS senior, stressed about graduating and anticipating my upcoming trip away to college) but that's okay. Now I'm much more confident in myself and personality, I have direction (somewhat) in my life and I'm done with college. I'm not done learning but I am done with the technical side of college. Thankfully. :)

The thing is, when you go South for college and where you live is a pretty much a Spring Break destination, there's really no need to spend extra money to fly home to Ohio where it's probably still cold and there's a chance of rain or snow on or around Easter. And unlike high school, I didn't attend a Christian institution so we only got one spring break vacation and it didn't coincide with Easter. I am thankful for the opportunities I had during my spring breaks and for the privilege to worship with another church family and spend a couple Easters with good friends from church and their families. I went on two week long mission trips in 2008 and 2011 (Miami, FL and New Orleans, LA), participated in spring training on the JU Rowing Team (2009), experienced Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Spain in 2010, Easter with Jamie's family in 2012 and an Easter afternoon at Jacksonville Beach in 2013. So, it's not like I didn't have anything to do for Easter since I was away from home and I won't be home for it in 2015, but it's okay. Being home just enhanced the experience for me this time.

2. Volunteering with IFI (International Friendship Institute) and meeting people from around the world in my own backyard!

Big turn out for their Graduation Night for the class of 2014 (added May 2014).
Photo credit: Enoch Jayasundara
My friend Abby (pictured to the left and in the front of the above picture in blue) has talked about all the opportunities she's had in the past couple of years to meet and interact with international people (besides Latinos) in the Dayton area. She invited me to an international dinner event at a church around here back in May 2012 and I attended. I was home for a quick surprise visit for Mother's Day. However, looking back on it, it must have been a combined Dayton and Columbus IFI event as I met people who were either going to school somewhere in those two cities. There was one girl that we both met who was studying at Wright State University (WSU) but was from China (pictured to the left of Abby). I didn't think that I would see her let alone any of the couple of other people I met from the Dayton area again but little did I know where I would be two years later! I was under the impression for years that a lot of international people did not come to the Dayton area but instead went to other bigger and more populated cities in the US. I was still sort of under that same impression when I moved back up here but I quickly learned that I was wrong. Sooo wrong, haha.

I was really wondering what my social life would be like up here as many people I knew in HS have moved away from this area or have other responsibilities in their lives (spouses, kids, pets, extended family, etc). I didn't know more than just a couple of people who are at the same place in life as I am (single and working) and wondered where I would fit in. It was like being the new kid at school again except this time school was not in the equation. I felt welcomed into the group at IFI almost immediately the first night I attended (April 4th). I quickly learned how to navigate explaining my unique situation and tried not to talk about how I had left beautiful sunny Florida for cloudy, moody, rainy Ohio at the beginning of April. If you want to make a bunch of Midwesterners mad, talk about what living in paradise was like when it's not even springtime! haha I kid, though. I did my best to focus on explaining my connections to other cultures, the languages I speak and my plans to teach English in the fall. I met Americans who had been overseas as well as Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Saudi and Hispanic students all studying or working somewhere in the Dayton area. I even met one person from Spain and he's actually the first person I've met from Spain in Dayton.

If life had gone as I had planned -or as it would have if no students went and studied abroad-, I should have met people like Abby in Ohio and JD in Spain at some point. But, no, God has a sense of humor and likes to take us by surprise sometimes. Abby told me about this International Bible Study (IFI) she had been going to a couple of times before I moved back home but she didn't mention it was IFI related until just a couple of weeks before. I had also not told her until I replied to her email that I was hoping to receive an early placement into the Spanish government program to teach English and go live in Galicia (Northern Spain). She writes back and says, oh, hey, there is a student from Spain attending the IFI Bible Studies and he's from Galicia. She suggested I meet him when I come up and get settled. She said he loves to talk about his region and how great it is and that I would enjoy getting to know him.

I thought that I would too but I still I laughed when I read the email. Why? Because that just sounded not only coincidental but very convenient! There's a Spaniard (a gallego at that!) around my age in Ohio for another month who could answer any questions I might have and regale me with his stories of living in the enchanted region of Galicia. It sounded too good to be true but it was! I figured he probably knew a lot of good places to travel to and see and suggestions on what to eat too. (That part is especially important as, like Ana says, food is the first problem, haha). I made a note to have Abby introduce us when I got up there but I put that in the back of my mind. I was busy selling my furniture, packing, coordinating the trip for my dad and brother to easily come down (at the tail end of a snowstorm of course, ugh, haha) to think about daydreaming about what I'd do in Galicia were I to be placed there. I didn't even look up any of the people she told me about on Facebook because, besides the lack of time, I figured it would be more fun to meet them in person. 

It turns out, a lot of people attend IFI's Bible Studies (between 40-60 people most nights!) and there is more to them than just a Bible Study. There was dinner for one thing, a short time of worship, a couple of games (international style with maps and trivia questions about other cultures) and then finally a Bible study and a time of prayer. A lot of students who attend the Bible studies are open to listening to the Word of God and who Jesus is but many of them do not call themselves Christians. That just makes IFI's mission even more important and powerful. They strive to bridge the gap between cultures by befriending the foreigner, whether they are a student (primarily) or a young professional in the area. Some students attend Cedarville University (a small private Christian university) but many people attend Wright State University (a huge public university). JD, the Spanish student, attends Cedarville University. He told me later that month that he first heard about Cedarville from a friend in Barcelona (who's married to a Cedarville grad) and just decided he'd go there for college. (Well, I'm sure there was more factored into his decision than that...) What a strange way to find out about a tiny Christian college in nowheresville Ohio! haha He also, like many other students I met, speaks multiple languages. In fact, he speaks the number of languages that I want to speak fluently [Five] in my lifetime now and he's younger than me! There are other students just like him who speak at least 3 languages and I am just astounded! It just goes to show me that I better speed things up if I want to catch up to these language whizzes some day. 

All in all, I have been overjoyed and pleasantly surprised by the people I've met and the topics, countries, foods, customs I've learned about in the past month. I was really spoiled in Florida with all of the opportunities I had to meet Latinos from all over the Caribbean, Central and South America but I sorely neglected Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It wasn't on purpose, of course. I just didn't have as many chances to meet a non-Latino person until I came back up to Dayton. I would say I am comfortable around Hispanics but God doesn't want us to be comfortable. If you're starting to get comfortable where you are, it's highly likely that something in your life is about to change. I am grateful for this challenge and change of pace. I think I know now that I simply love interacting with and getting to know people from all cultures and languages. I feel like I fit in better with Latinos and Spaniards but I miss out on a lot when I'm just sitting there in my own comfort zone speaking all of the Spanish I want, haha. I just never realized how many opportunities there are to meet internationals in Dayton and they have helped change my opinion of my hometown. In a very positive way. :)

That is just a small part of my experience with IFI. I'm planning on writing a more in-depth post comparing the Dayton I'm familiar with (boring) to the Dayton I've been newly introduced to (a vibrant one!) soon. I have so many observations but I first need to list them and then elaborate on the most important ones. 

3. Re-connecting with old friends

Arielle, Abby and I on April 28th, 2014

I still have a lot of friends down in Jacksonville (who I miss a lot!) but I have quite a few special friends who live in the Dayton area too. One family (not pictured) in particular and mine have been friends for 20 years this year. They are like family to me and we have all been a part of each other's lives during the big milestones and through the bad times. I'm thrilled to have them just a few streets away instead of 800+ miles away. God has certainly been good to me when it comes to having caring, godly friends in my life.

The two ladies in the above photo are two of those friends. We all have a unique life story but we also all have a unique story of how we met. Abby and I met through a suggestion from a mutual friend who was going to Spain the same time we were in 2010 (little did I know, they met on their plane ride over to Madrid! haha) and with the help of social media, primarily Facebook, haha. I messaged her, introduced myself and suggested we meet somewhere in Sevilla (a flamenco bar) in March 2010. Later on that month or in the month of April, I met Arielle (pictured in the middle) who was also a student (for the semester) at Cedarville. I reconnected with Arielle for the first time in the States this month as it just hadn't worked out for us to see each other before now.

Plus, had Arielle and I not gone away to college and left the Dayton area and stayed like Abby did, the story of how we all met would be much different. It would probably be a lot less exciting than our meetings were in Spain but we will never know. Sometimes God likes to throw curve balls and bring people together in an exciting and memorable way. Sometimes He doesn't but the important thing to keep in mind is the people you meet and what purpose they will serve in your life and vice versa. These two women are definitely friends I want to have in my life for a long, long time! And...if they can manage it, they should come visit me in Galicia some time in the next year! ;-P

Lastly, I'd like to share some prayer requests and praises. These will likely change a little (or a lot) in the upcoming months. Your prayers are greatly appreciated and I covet them! Please let me know how I can pray for you by reaching out to me via a phone call, text, email or Facebook message. I would love to unite with you in prayer and pray for the important things in your life.


-We fit everything I own into the *tiny* SUV we were given to rent (Chevy Equinox) and financially the move back up here did not break the bank for me.
-I am getting involved as a volunteer with a great ministry that has a heart for international students (IFI).
-One of my freelance clients will be paying me not one but two commission checks in the coming months for the lead generation I've been doing for her business on LinkedIn. A big blessing!
-I have access to a car on a more regular basis and I only have to use public transportation if I really want to (I no longer depend on it).
-I've gotten to enjoy a really nice, albeit strange (ie: snow on April 15th!), Ohio spring and Easter!

Prayer requests

-I'm still adjusting to living at home with my family all under the same roof but running into a lot of conflicts with my mom. We operate very differently now in terms of how things should be done in the house and it is hard not to say something or want to change something. I'm learning to keep quiet at times but it is hard.

-For my expected budget for Spain (Visa, background check and start-up costs, plane ticket, potential deposit on an apartment). I am expecting there to be setbacks or challenges as I try to earn the suggest amount I budgeted for but I just pray that I can get to half of what I need by mid to end of July.

-For an early placement hopefully in the northeast region of Spain (Galicia) and a school placement with little to no commute. A lot of people who have gone over to Spain to teach English end up getting placed in a small town to teach but live in a bigger city about an hour away. It would be awesome, but not necessary, if I were to be placed in the same city where I live. We'll see!

-For a fairly easy and routine experience with the Spanish Consulate when I go to apply for my visa. I hope to start this process as soon as possible but I cannot do anything now until I get my signed letter of appointment (carta de nombramiento).

-For more opportunities to use Spanish both in spoken and written forms. I'm primarily working in the fields of marketing and copywriting now but I really want to build up my translation portfolio while I've got some time. I also am just looking for odd jobs and anything that will bring in extra money for me on a short-term basis.

If you've made it all the way down to the very bottom of this post, bien hecho [good job]! If there are any improvements or suggestions you have or things you'd like me to talk about in my upcoming updates, let me know in the comments! These update posts are not really just for me to tell you what's going on in my life but also how you can be praying for me in this transition. Even if you just take the time to read the updates to see what I've been up to, I greatly appreciate your time and investment in my life!

Gracias por leer y hasta la próxima! (Thanks for reading and until next time!)


Monthly Update: March 2014

This is the start of a series of posts I will be doing throughout the rest of this year. A lot of changes are happening and will continue to happen in my life in 2014 and I want to share them with you!

If you are interested in receiving these blog posts via email, you can enter the email address you check the most often in the subscribe box on the right hand column of this post. I sometimes have the tendency to create a blank post solely because I wanted to make sure I had a certain number of posts published each month. However, once I have a few people subscribing to this blog, it will keep me accountable and help me to break that bad habit. Besides, who wants a blank email coming to their inbox late at night? Yeah, didn't think so, haha!

Now, without further ado, some updates way back from the month of March. It's hard to believe that my surroundings are completely different now than they were just one month ago.

Some big events that took place in March 2014...

  1. Traveled to Southern California with my brother (first time in 12 years!)
Nathan and I at Pacific Beach, California (San Diego area)
The last time I personally was in Southern California was in June 2007. I went with Xenia Christian HS on my second and final mission trip to Baja California, Mexico to minister to the migrant workers at camps and help translate from Spanish to English and vice versa. I had just completed 4 years of HS Spanish but only had head knowledge of the language. I realized, as I sat on this beach, that I really didn't know Spanish the last time I was there. And what's even more, is that the last time my brother and I were in Cali together, we both didn't have cell phones and our cameras both had disposable film in them, haha! We also didn't have driver's licenses as we were only 13 and 16 at the time. Regardless, we had a wonderful time with our grandmother (my mom's mom) who generously flew us out to visit and visited with other family members out there as well. It's a shame that we all live so far away but I'm grateful for the time we all got to spend together, the laughs we had and the memories we made. I'm also thankful that there are so many ways to stay connected through cell phones, social networks and apps.

Until next time, Cali! You left me California dreamin' as always...(but for the mountains this time! :P)

2. I moved out my college city! --> Jacksonville, FL

At the Metropolitan Park entrance to the St. Johns River, October 2007

On the Main Street Bridge in front of the Jacksonville Landing (Downtown) in March 2014

As someone who had never been to Florida before her college orientation weekend, I didn't see myself staying in Jacksonville for as long as I did. I lived there for almost 7 years (off-and-on)! I cherish my time there and all of the ways I grew personally, emotionally and spiritually there. I met and go to know so many wonderful people from all different ages, backgrounds, languages, faiths and cultures.

Sitting on the JU side of the St. Johns River in December 2009.
I went to a fantastic private college where I earned not one but two Bachelor degrees (BBA in Economics and a BA in Spanish), studied abroad in Spain thanks to JU, met so many amazing students and alumni who taught me many important life lessons and gave me invaluable advice. I also discovered a love for a sport I'd never thought I'd try: rowing. Though it's been 5 years since I was last in a rowboat on the St. Johns River, my eyes and my mind are always drawn to bodies of water, no matter how small or large they may be. As someone who was born and raised in a land-locked state, I had more than enough water and water activities available to me when I lived in Florida. Through my participation on JU's Novice Rowing Team, I was able to travel to almost every part of Florida and other parts of the South for races. We visited places like Augusta, GA; Orlando, FL; Tampa, FL; Sarasota, FL; and Oak Ridge, TN. I had been under the impression that Florida was largely the same landscape wise wherever you went but throughout my college career, I was pleasantly surprised by how diverse Florida really is.

With Matt and Jamie Wilbanks outside of MissionWay. Wonderful friends and mentors!
One of the other major blessings in my life in Jacksonville, was my church family. After some searching, a friend and I were invited to MissionWay Church all the way back in February 2008 at Nease High School (St. Johns County). The church did not have their own space to rent yet at that time but were praying for one and hoping that God would provide in His timing. I loved how genuine the members of this church were to one another and to visitors and felt an instant connection with a couple people. The pastor was at first a little too laid-back than what I was used to but he quickly won me over with his warm, welcoming and open personality. His love for God is transparent and you could also see how much he cared for others in the way that he interacted with them. I met a lot of great people throughout my years of attendance there at MissionWay and I am proud  to say that I was a member all 6 out of 6.5 years that I spent in Jacksonville. It was at times a struggle physically to get to church as the church's location was always closer to St. Augustine than Jacksonville (and I did not have my own transportation) but I was always blessed in some way when I attended. I learned that, if you really want to get somewhere, you will find a way to do it! And I did, with God's help most of the time. It was sad to leave my Jacksonville church family behind (along with several good friends and mentors) but I know that we will always stay in touch and that we will continue to pray for each other and encourage one another, whether we live near or far.

In front of the Three Lions Fountain in Historic San Marco. I had so much fun living there! 
I really discovered my likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, my passions in life while living in Jacksonville, Florida. I went there as a shy, quiet Midwestern girl who only had a slight idea with what she wanted to do with her life but left a nearly tri-lingual, confident, outgoing, college educated woman (who is a world-traveler-in-the-making) with a rough plan of what she'd like to do for the next 5 years. (There is plenty of room for surprises and changes of plans along the way, though!) After months and weeks of praying and feeling that God was closing doors for me in Jacksonville, I made a decision in December 2013 to move out of the room I was renting the following spring and leave Jacksonville for good. Where was I going to go and what was I going to do? Good questions! Keep reading to find out the answers. :-)

3. I finally visited two iconic St. Augustine landmarks

There are still a few things in the Jacksonville area that I have never done or been to before (the Cummer Museum and Gardens to name one thing) but I managed to cross two things off my Jax bucket list before I moved out of the area. The top of and the inside of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the inside of the Castillo de San Marcos (affectionately known as the Fort). I got to do the first thing by myself and the last thing with family. And for once, it didn't rain on us in St. Augustine like it had during our past visits there. I couldn't have asked for clearer, sunnier or more arid weather that last day in Florida.

After seeing a pictures of a couple of friends getting proposed to on top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse (and okay, also after seeing Ted Mosby propose to the mother on HIMYM on top of one--on TV--the month before, haha), I figured the view must be spectacular and that I should make it a point to visit the lighthouse closest to me for a long time before I left. So, in a skirt and in flats, I climbed up and down all 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and was rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean and St. Augustine itself. It was very windy up there but the sun was shining brilliantly and I could see for miles. I also saw my dad and brother below and arranged for them to come over to that area beneath me so that I could wave to them. And though I went up alone, I met a nice male tour guide who kindly took a few pictures of me at the top. I felt like I was going to fly off the thing and my unruly, windswept hair was going to ruin every single picture but nothing extreme happened. He even waited a few seconds for my hair and the wind to cooperate! What a nice guy!

On top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse facing the Atlantic Ocean. March 30, 2014

Lastly, I finally went into the Castillo de San Marcos. I have been to many castles and fortress like structures in Spain but I had been dying to see the inside of the Fort. I love all of the Spanish influence in St. Augustine now more than ever primarily because I have been to the "homeland" a couple of times and love the Spanish culture and architecture even more. I was really impressed with the condition of the inside of the Fort, how beautiful the inside courtyard and outer grounds are and the fact that people reenact the blowing of the cannons off of the Fort a few times everyday. The commands are rattled off in [broken] Spanish by gringos (white people) and that alone really enhances your experience at the Fort. I was particularly pleased to recognize some architectural similarities between the Fort and a small castle I had visited in Cádiz, Spain about four years ago. Our entrance tickets to the Fort were good for one week but unfortunately we weren't going to be there within that time frame to go visit it again. It's good to know for the future though and we'll have to plan ahead to visit it multiple times if we can!

Just hanging out in a little cove on top of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL

4. I moved back to my hometown! Dayton, OH <--

All of the room I had during a 15 hour car ride home from March 30-31, 2014!
Don't try to move someone halfway across the country with their whole adult life's worth of belongings in a Chevy Equinoix. Do try this if you have a dad who has a very mathematical and engineering geared mind! (That's what I had thankfully.)

 Yes, I did what every young Ohioan (or anyone who has ever gone away to college or moved out of their parents' house) prays they won't ever have to do: move back home with your parents. I certainly didn't see this becoming part of my post-college plans but it did. It's not for an indefinite time because I have a move-out month coming up! Let me explain.

One of many things that I was praying about and making decisions about was what I wanted to do next in my career. I know I'm just getting started with my career and have plenty of time to "figure things out," but there was one thing I was certain of. I didn't want to be tied down to Jacksonville, Dayton or anywhere else in America to be honest. I wanted to live overseas and keep traveling but there were several things holding me back. The first was spending so much of my time and money to afford to live in Jacksonville on my own. I was unhappy with the way some things were going there but overall, I felt that it really was time to move on and start a new chapter of my life. I knew that I couldn't move home on a temporary basis without presenting a plan to my parents. I got all the plans squared away and then worked on a move-out date. Things pretty much came together rather quickly (including selling some of my large furniture items) and before I knew it the last week of March was upon me.

At that point, I was working on getting all packed up and saying goodbye to friends. The most important plans were already set and out of my mind. Chief of all of my plans was what I will be pursuing in the fall. I am very pleased to say that I will be going to Northern Spain (hopefully) from October 2014 to May/June 2015 to teach English in a primary or secondary school. I was accepted to the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program in late February 2014 but I do not know my exact placement yet. I am very excited about this next step in my life, my move overseas and the opportunity to become fully bilingual in Spanish as well the chance to act as a cultural ambassador for both the English language and the United States in the school I will be assigned.

However, there were still a lot of unknowns before me. I still don't exactly know why God has called me back to my hometown for this short period of time, what He has planned for me personally and spiritually, or how living at home will be as we transition back to having everyone under the same roof. I certainly don't know what kinds of people I will meet, re-connect with or get to minister to while I'm here but I am convinced that, based on recent events, they will be the kinds of people who will bless my life and that I in turn might be even a blessing to them.

Stay tuned for the next update!

Hasta la próxima, (Until next time)


Friday, April 18, 2014

{Old Post} Semana Santa...qué es esto?

**This is a post that I wrote while studying abroad in Spain as a junior in college. It originally appears here on a travel blog I started but didn't keep up. In the spirit of Easter and Holy Week, I wanted to re-post it on my current blog so that it could get more exposure. I also was remembering how unique and special celebrating Holy Week around the whole country of Spain and wanted to share part of my experience with all of my current readers. Feliz Pascua / Happy Easter, everyone!**

Bienvenidos a todos a Semana Santa!

I know it's mid-way into "Holy Week," but an update about it now is better than never right? I've been out enjoying the festivities and hanging with my friends (both American and Sevillian) so that's why I didn't start writing about it in the beginning of the week. And besides, who wants to sit inside all day doing homework or blogging when there is fantastic weather to enjoy and orange blossoms to be breathed in...and did I mention the festivities of Semana Santa, oh, yeah, I did. haha But what are they and what exactly is Semana Santa? Keep reading and you will find out.

This week though is my first of two spring breaks but it's most commonly known as Holy Week for Spain. The week before Easter is really important to Catholics but in Spain they celebrate it religiously. Every church has a float that they carry on their backs through the streets and back to the respective church were it belongs. Each float tells the story of Jesus' last week on Earth as it leads up to His Resurrection. The floats weigh like a ton too! For me as a foreigner and a born-again believer it's neat to see these processions--even though I don't agree with a lot of things in Catholicism or see the need to be so focused on rituals like these.

Tomorrow morning is supposed to be the most important part of Semana Santa because it's the day before Good Friday and these processions will tell the trial and betrayal of Christ. All of these floats are like worshiped here (especially the ones of the Virgin) and I don't like that, but it's still neat to be a part of it.
My adopted city, Sevilla, has the best floats in the country so people from around the world come here to see them. I'm so thankful that I live here and I'm not a traveler!

I will post pictures and videos on Facebook if you keep up with me on there, but the picture below is a picture of "los nazarenos" or members of the KKK as we Americans may think they are. But trust me, they are not--they're just Sevillanos! They are actually just members from each individual church (both men and women) who march in front of their float (la cofradia) with candles.

Semana Santa (Holy Week, Palm Sunday) in Cádiz 2010; many nazarenos are needed to carry the float!

Semana Santa in Cádiz 2010; others walk ahead of and behind the float.

Semana Santa (en Sevilla) 2010; nazarenos marching. Each church has different colors and symbols that represent their parish.

It's like a pilgrimage for them because they lead their float all throughout the city and some do not wear shoes (as a part of penance) because participating in the processions is a very personal journey for them.

Semana Santa (in Sevilla at night) 2010; the Crucifixion.
Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; the Crucifixion from behind.

The following pictures are of one of the most elaborate floats I have seen so far. The church in which it came from is also just a few minutes from my apartment! It looked incredible!!

Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; float of a Virgin (will add name later).

Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; la Virgen...look at how ornate and detailed this float is!
And lastly, each float was followed by a group of musicians who would usually play trumpets very loudly and proudly. Like the group of young people below.

Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; Musicians marching through el centro.

Hope you enjoy the pics and that the nazarenos don't startle you! :)