I don’t know how else to explain it, other than I feel so alive and am so IN LOVE with being here, right now. The Lord is so sweet to me, everyday feels so refreshing and lovely.
Last Monday I had my first FRENCH surf lesson! Biarritz being a world famous surf town, I figured I better learn how! I must admit, the fact that my surf teacher did not speak a LICK of English was a bit terrifying… Being unsure of what he was yelling at me, over huge and pounding waves, twas a bit unnerving, especially since they were probably phrases loaded with info that will help me stay alive no doubt. However, all in all it was really good fun!
Jeanne, one of our guests in the hostel, is from Quebec, and such a sweetheart; we became friends really fast. She was a guest at the hostel for only a couple of days, but we connected with her over our football watching/crepe making “apero night” (our weekly hostel socials). She’s on an amazing adventure throughout Europe, and wanted to go surfing, so I told her I’d go with her. It was so much fun, and although the waves were too big for beginners to stand up on, we considered our time in the water a success.
June 19 is the Fête de la Musique, which is a national holiday in France in which every town celebrates its local music. In Biarritz there was a lot going on, ranging from rock concerts to Basque choral singing. That night Jeanne, my teammates and I, met up with some friends from our church here in Biarritz and explored music in the city. It was a lovely night in community, and hearing the variety of music and celebrating with the locals the beauty of their culture was so much fun. Late late that night, my teammate Mandie, Marion, our dear friend from church, and Jeanne and I went on to Bayonne, a nearby town, where we got to listen to more music ranging from Salsa to 70’s disco.
Bayonne is just beautiful. It reminds me a lot of old town Bilbao and Florence. It has a beautiful and gigantic gothic cathedral, which is having classical music concerts every Saturday night throughout the summer. Who’s excited about that? This girl! (This is one of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken so far)
The next day Jeanne and I spent the day together in Biarritz, getting tapas, ice cream and walking around the town and the beach. It was such a treat to share stories and become better friends with such a wonderful girl. I especially enjoyed getting to share with Jeanne my journey with God, and we had a really great conversation on the rights of women and social injustice in the world. Miss you Jeanne!
Last week some of my teammates and I began helping out at Catherine Picone’s. Catherine is a widow and a mother of 6. She is a very good friend of our staff family, and it has been such a joy to serve her in helping with some cleaning tasks and construction tasks around her house. WHICH IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOME I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. Catherine and her husband, who died from cancer nearly three years ago, worked very hard on making their house reflect a traditional Basque-French home. It’s even been featured in some magazines! Catherine invited our WHOLE TEAM over for lunch one day. She served us yummy lamb and the most amazing tirimisu and gâteau chocolat (chocolate cake) I’ve ever had!
Catherine is also the mother of Victoria, another high schooler who attends Hossegor church and is the same age as our dear friend Marion. These girls are so special to me; I am sure you will hear more about their stories later.
Not only are they beautiful women of God, they are amazingly talented as well! So many jam sessions have been had between these two and other church members – I wish I could share these beautiful sounds with everyone!
This week I also got a really great opportunity. Audrey, another dear friend of mine from our church, had to go to Paris to take a test for her degree, and needed someone to fill in for her two English classes on Wednesday. So my teammate and I got to teach lil’ French kids English. This was one of my favorite things so far! The children were such a delight (we taught them the verb “do”) and meeting and interacting with their parents was even better! Please be praying for this “business” aspect of our church here. They desperately need someone to take over the English business for them, and it’s such a great opportunity!
Life here has been 1000mph, or kph rather. In an effort to be brief, our events for the rest of the week looked like this:
Another staff family from a town about two hours away from Biarritz came to visit our staff family, so we took the two families’ kids (about 9 of them!) out to the beach for the afternoon!
We served Catherine Picone with construction/cleaning work.
We had a girl’s night and made Dutch pancakes and watched Dirty Dancing with our long term staff girl here.
We prepared a dinner for our entire team, and hosted another “apero night” with crepes/football watching for the hostel.
We had our first Sabbath on Saturday. I went to the beach all day and read books and journaled – it was awesome.
I got to watch a tourist do this…but maybe next time it will be me?
That Saturday night, we also went to a Father/Son soccer game that our host and his son participated in. It was so fun, and a double celebration of our lil area in Biarritz. In the summer, every small town has a “fête” where a marching band comes out and plays and there’s a cookout, huge dinner, and some kind of merchants. For our lil area, there was a huge FLEA MARKET type thing, and I got some fun things, which you can be on the lookout for. :)
On Sunday I was given the amazing opportunity of sharing my testimony at our night church service, in Hossegor. Friends, it was so beautiful, and God answered so many prayers I had…and MORE, so I much so I will dedicate my next blog post to it. That being said, I hope you are all doing just lovely, I miss you dearly, I hope you are enjoying and being blessed by being a part of not only my story, but God’s story and God’s work here in France.
Until next time!
Grosses bises, *Sheena