Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fuengirola, SPAIN ~ Day 1

We pulled out of our driveway at 3:30 AM on Friday morning. The wipers sloshed heavy raindrops across the windshield as the children snuggled into their pillow and travel blanket for the hour drive to the Hahn Airport. Eli's voice, whimsical with an edge of excitement to it, "You know, something I always dreamed would be cool," he pauses to see who's listening, "is to leave early in the morning while it's still dark, it's pouring rain, and our family leaving on a big trip, a big adventure." I suspect he would have taken that same scenario except with him on a warhorse, hooded cloak cascading down over the saddle, his bow and arrows and spear securely attached, setting out on a mission to defend the kingdom. I smiled and commented about the constant flow of God's gifts -- how nothing goes overlooked by our King.

We arrived in Malaga, Spain, picked up our rental car, (with a trivial amount of mishap which brought about some long sighs, prayers for patience and kindness on our part and flexibility on the company's part, and eventually giggles at the entire situation). We were immensely grateful for the driving directions e-mailed to us by the resort because none of the addresses or cities would come up on the GPS. Around noon we made it to the reception desk where we gave them our names and were told we could check in to our room at four o'clock. This gave us time to grab lunch in the restaurant and then explore the resort and the beach.

**Sidenote: See that small "gap" in Isaiah's hair just above his forehead? Remember my To Do List on the night before our departure? Number seven on the list was, Remove stitch from Isaiah's head. We had a bit of adventure the week before that was filled with blessings including some unconventional bonding with friends and a doctor's stitch on Isaiah's head. You can read about it here.
After lunch we explored the pool areas and horse stables, asked information about the Flamenco dance shows, inquired about seeing a real live bullfight, took in the incredible views, played a bit on the beach, and in general, breathed life. Essentially, we were "killing time" while waiting to settle into our room. But here's the thing, this killing of time... in Spain... surrounded by beauty... breathing in Meditteranean Sea air... LeRoy and I holding hands and making eyes at each other... the children running and jumping and climbing, laughing, rough-housing, searching for seashells, making their plans...
Really, Lord, may we always be so mindful, so intentional, so gloriously caught up with "killing time" in ways that fill us with a sense of gratitude and awe!

"Mom, look! There's two jennets!" Sure enough, Isaiah. (And good job using the new vocabulary words we just learned.)

A tunnel lead underneath the highway between the resort and the beach.

We stepped out of the tunnel onto a beautiful sprawling beach full of people soaking in the sun's rays. ...But this is Spain. So, of course, a couple of the women had a bikini top on... Ah, well, we simply turned in the direction of the fisherman further down where we could treasure seek without... heh-hem, cultural norms which we aren't exactly used to.

The children were finding so many cool shells and rocks that I began to wonder if we should have packed lighter so that we could take back more treasures.

Mmmmm... vanilla icecream in a chocolate-coated cone. (Zeke's jacket reads "Madrid" across it. My sister, Catherine, gave him the jacket as a gift about a year before we moved to Europe. I just think it's kind of cool that we never imagined he would be wearing it in Spain one day! Was God smiling when Zeke opened the present and put it on that day?)

Crossing the bridge back to the resort. Our condo is the last one on the right in the white complex.

They had some beautiful flowers here that we'd never seen before... many different colors!

So, after lunch, exploring, and taking a big paseo (stroll), we still had quite a while before we could enter our room. Which was perfect because it was simple for the children to change into their swimsuits in the van and head to the heated pool! LeRoy and I sat nearby and watched, quietly reflecting on the luxurious-ness of the moment, thanking God, and acknowledging His immeasurable blessings and gifts. These moments. Rick Steves says in the Spain Travelguide, "Fuengirola is like a Spanish Mazatlan..." How is it, except for this Grace, that we are poolside listening to the cheerful splashing of our children?

This is the view we were greeted with as we entered our condo. There were table and chairs both inside and outside on the patio. We ate all our meals out on the patio.

Gratitude overwhelmed me as I took pictures of my sweet boys in their dripping swimsuits, their faces bright with smiles, their cheeks showing the first signs of sun-kisses, and the Meditteranean Sea in the background.

Isaiah in the cute little kitchen. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, swimming, and then turning in for the night. "First days" are always wrought with anticipation. A sort of game of hide-and-seek with discovery. And exhilarated exhaustion.
We ended up taking 1,080 pictures on this Spain trip. smile. Soooooo... I managed to choose 15 from the first day and get them posted. I'll post more as I find the minutes in my day. I love what my friend, Carol, said about me getting unpacked by September first, "Unpacking the memories is more important than unpacking the bags." ~warm smile. I love that!


  1. Oh Sharon, I got a little teary remembering your dreams of being in Spain and Italy one day...and here you are. Spain is one place I have ALWAYS longed to stay for an extended holiday! Fun fun fun!

    So glad you get to see and live all this - Susie Pearson

  2. Your parents live in Elk? What? You need to hook me up! LOL I love it, love it , love it!!! It looks so beautiful! Tell Isreal that Miss Amy thinks Spain was a fabulous choice! Love you and miss you!

  3. "Unpacking the memories is more important than unpacking the bags."

    OK. My day is now complete.

    {Sigh} Wonderful trip. Thanks, Israel.

    Thanks too for your prayers for the team in Kenya.