After an amazing four days in the Canary Islands, it was time to return back to Seville in order to experience the well anticipated Semana Santa, Holy Week in english. Holy Week is from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday every year and it is a chance for the churches to display their icons and altarpieces in their church. Everyday is very similar with procession after procession and let's not forget the amount of people on the streets is ridiculous. The processions are based around the center of Seville, near the Cathedral. The history of this celebration dates back in the 16th century when many of the citizens were illiterate, and so in order for the Catholic Church to remind people of the importance of Easter, they displayed the sacrificing of Christ. Every since then, it has been an annual event for all the churches to display their icon, the most popular being the Virgin Mary. The people that are involved with a procession belong to the brotherhood that run the church. Many people just stand on the sidewalks and gaze at the processions that go by. It takes one procession about an hour. During that hour you see, kids in these costumes above giving candy to other kids, music from the band, senior members holding these wooden crosses, and the most important the float.
This magnificant golden float is being carried by about 30 men. It is an honor for these men to be appointed for this job and even to be in the procession to begin with is a great honor to represent your brotherhood. These men practice and train two to three weeks prior to Holy Week and now I realize why. I can't imagine the weight that is being applied to the men below and also on this specific day it was about 80 degrees. You stand on the side gazing at the kids and members of the brotherhood walking by and then when the float appears everyone goes silent. Some people will even reach out a hand and touch the float and then pray. It was quite a sight and an experience especially coming from the US where going to church and praying on Easter is huge but there are so many distractions. This is a week long celebration where even kids are involved learning to give candies to other kids at a very young age. The city and people focus around this celebration and the significance these floats and processions have on this city is incredible. Many business owners rely on Holy Week to make all their profits for the year and without this celebration Sevilla would not be Sevilla. Getting around the city and even just eating lunch or dinner is near impossible due to the combination of people and processions. Many places are completely blocked off for people that rented chairs in which all the floats go past certain areas. These seats are very expensive but after experiencing Holy Week walking around and trying to see different processions, I can see where those seats might be a great investment.
This past week was my last week of school in Seville. My exams ended on Wednesday and then last night was our going away party. It was at the same restaurant that our welcome party was located and it was weird because I felt like I was just their a couple weeks ago meeting all of these new students. This time we were there recalling the special moments we had together, and the friendships I have gained through my travels here will stay with me forever. It is amazing to talk to people who all had different reasons for coming here. Some are here because they want to be spanish teachers. Others are here because it was a great opportunity that they could not pass up. Then there are others that came because they felt as though their lives were stuck in the same routine with the same people. My primary reason for coming to Seville was to play soccer. Academics were a side note especially seeing the few amount of credits that are actually transferring over to CNU. I did not expect the experiences that would ultimately change my life and my character. Before coming to Spain, I was a confident person but like everyone I had my doubts. With stress of soccer, school, and my future always in my head, there are always doubts that will arise. I've lived in a foreign country for over three months now, having to speak a language that I really just started learning a year ago. I have lived with a family that speaks zero English and I have played soccer with a semi-professional team that has the potential to becoming pro in Spain. I have seen different cultures and realized the life that I want to live in my future. Those stressors that I had four months ago, are now looked at as challenges that I have the confidence to overcome, and know that my life will turn out the way I want it to. I feel as though I can handle any situation or circumstance that comes my way no matter the difficulty. What I know about the world and the people that live in it will never truly be complete, but my openness to others and their cultures is even more clear now. My soccer ability has grown to a confidence that I never thought I would obtain just by practicing with a team. I realize now that my "dream" of becoming a professional soccer player is now more a goal. Lastly, my love for my family and friends is even more apparent then before. You never truly understand the amount of love and necesity you have for your family until they are gone from your life. The excitement I have to see my parents here in Seville is through the roof and the opportunity to travel Europe with my girlfriend, Becky, is something I have been trying to contain every since the plan to travel intiated. Returning home to see friends and my siblings will be bittersweet because this city has completely changed me and I will never forget the moments and experiences I have had here. I want to thank everybody that have kept up with my blog, there has been many posts and descriptions about my time here and I know at times it gets repetitive. I hope I have done a good job sharing my thoughts and experiences through my eyes and it is because of you all that kept me blogging and remembering those moments that will always be here for my disposal. I am not sure whether I will continue blogging during my travels around Europe but I will say that there will be one final blog when I return home. A saying that I am going to leave you all with has been thrown around a lot within this past day, always remembering our time here in Spain.
No me ha dejado
(It has not left me)
Thank you all so much and can't wait to see you all back in the states! Especially, this little guy,