Tempting Fate in Houston, Part 2 ~ The Movie Screening

In Part 1 of this series on the Tempting Fate VIP movie screening in Houston on July 4th, Pedro González Arbona had performed at the pre-screening Meet and Greet, walked the red carpet and was interviewed by local media that was on site that evening.  Now it was time for the main event, the screening of Tempting Fate.

Tempting Fate VIP Screening FB Cover

Almost Show Time

We individually filed into the theater where the screening was to be held.  Our names had to be crossed off the attendee list before we were allowed to enter so there was a bit of a backup to enter the theater.  Oh my aching feet…the swelling and pain in my sprained foot were making it harder and harder to patiently wait our turn to enter the theater.

When we did we were directed to sit in one of the two rows of seats reserved in the center of the theater for actors and VIPs.  We sat sandwiched between the actors as we waited for the start of the movie.  Ramsey Nouah, winner of the 2010 African Academy Award for a lead role in Figurine, was seated to my left, and actress Trinitee Stokes on Pedro’s right.

The audience, can you spot us in the crowd?

The audience, can you spot us in the crowd?

Kevin Nwankwor, the producer/director/writer of Tempting Fate, was introduced and gave a few remarks to prepare us for the screening.

Let the Movie Begin

When the movie and the music started on the full sized theater screen, I’m sure my heart must’ve skipped a beat.  I knew Pedro’s music better than anyone there, except for Pedro, of course.  I had been captivated by these melodies and the moods they conveyed for as long as Pedro had been composing them.  They were the sounds of drama, action, brotherly love, romance, and sadness.  And now here they were larger than life for all to hear.

It was a strange feeling at first for me.  Being so personally familiar with the music, it was hard to separate my emotion and pride for Pedro’s work from watching the movie.  Initially there was a lot of chatter going on during the movie.  There were cheers at times and some laughter too.  At first it was a distraction for me.

However, as the plot began to unfold on screen and the characters’ relationships became intertwined, I got carried away in the story.  That is to say I was thoroughly engaged in the movie.  I didn’t want it to end.  And when it did, I wasn’t the only audience member with tears streaming down their face.  Pedro’s song, “Requiem,” was playing in the background of the gripping final scene, adding impact and emotion with his music.  It was simply beautiful.

As the credits began to roll up the screen, the audience was clapping and cheering for the movie.  Pedro’s name was one of the few with his name listed alone on the screen:  Music Composed by Pedro González Arbona.  Bravo Pedro!!!

Director Commentary

After the credits rolled off the screen and the lights came on, Kevin Nwankwor, the producer and director came to the front of the theater to address the audience.  Kevin shared his passion for the project and how difficult it was to make the movie.  His desire was to make it as much like a multi-million dollar movie as possible, but with the low budget that he had.  And he accomplished it all in two weeks!

Kevin Nwankwor addresses the audience.

Director Kevin Nwankwor addresses the audience.

He finished his commentary by sharing the message he wanted people to take away from the movie, and what he learned as a result of the project:

First, you don’t have a second chance in this life.  Like the brothers in the movie, you don’t know what will happen in the future.  You can’t do it by yourself.  It is God.  Do your best, work hard. But do the right thing.

Whatever it is you believe that you want to achieve, I want you to know that you can always achieve it.  The Tempting Fate movie has made me to understand that in this life nothing is impossible.

Applause filled the theater as the audience showed their appreciation and agreement with Kevin’s comments.

Q & A and More Photos

Next on the scheduled events was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the cast and crew.  Several of the actors were asked about how they got into character for their roles.

I patiently waited and wondered if someone would ask Pedro a question; and they did.  He was asked about the composing process.  Pedro stood up, and was acknowledged by the audience for his music.  He shared how he started by reading the script and making notes in the margin to identify scenes to add music too.  Then he begins composing the music.

Pedro fields a question from the audience.

Pedro fields a question from the audience.

At the end of the Q & A session, the night was not over yet.  Photographers and the press were still at the event, so the red carpet media frenzy continued longer into the night.  Pedro mingled more with the actors and crew.  I followed along with my camera and met people as well.

An End to the Fairy Tale

An after-party was planned at Zanzibar Lounge, in downtown Houston, into the early morning hours.  We graciously declined the invitation.  Pedro was still dealing with jetlag and sleep-deprivation from his 2-day travel ordeal.  As much as I didn’t want this night to end, I knew my feet (sprained foot) wouldn’t be able to tolerate any dancing anyway.

At the end of Cinderella’s night at the ball, her carriage turned back into a pumpkin.  In much the same way, our fairy tale evening didn’t have such a smooth ending either.  Although the hotel was only two miles from the theater, we got lost and spent almost an hour aimlessly driving around Sugar Land, TX.   Dead cell phones, no GPS, and closed services on the 4th of July all contributed to our sense of frustration and exhaustion.  Thankfully we met someone in a parking lot who could direct us back to our hotel.

Tempting Fate 150

When we pulled into the hotel parking lot, the limousine was parked outside waiting to take the cast and crew to the party.  Next time, I suspect that’ll be Pedro’s carriage.

When the clock struck midnight on July 4th, 2014, our day to remember was emblazoned forever in our minds, not as a fairy tale, but as a dream come true—with more on the way for the cast and crew of Tempting Fate.

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Post Screening Update:  Exciting things are definitely ahead for this movie.  In the two months since the Tempting Fate screening, KevStel Group has been working on the release of the soundtrack with Pedro’s original compositions, a new music video was shot in LA for the theme song, and they announced that the movie will be widely released in Nigeria on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015. 

(Many photos for this post are courtesy of KevStel Group. You can view other photos on the Tempting Fate Facebook page.)

Updated 2/12/2015: The Tempting Fate soundtrack with Pedro’s music released today and is available on Amazon and iTunes. The movie release has been rescheduled to July 17, 2015 across Nigeria.

Tempting Fate in Houston, Part 1 ~ On the Red Carpet

When I last wrote about Pedro’s Tempting Fate* premiere in Houston, we were en route to the theater.  No limousine treatment for Mr. Pedro González Arbona.  That was reserved for the cast arrival later.  I was Pedro’s chauffeur for the night, and he was stuck with me.  No chauffeur’s cap like he suggested, but I bet I was the best dressed chauffeur at the event.  (His real limousine ride will happen in due time.)

Pedro arrives at the theater for his American composing film debut.

Pedro arrives at the theater for his American composing film debut.

I had many roles for Pedro that weekend.  I was his image consultant, his photographer, his personal biographer, his publicist and his manager.  Best of all, I was his friend.  At any given moment it was hard to separate which role I was playing.  As his benefactor and producer of his first CD, I was grateful to be there for his American movie debut.  It was all in God’s timing, for sure.

At the Keyboard

We arrived at the venue for the sound check, before all of the festivities started, and in advance of the other cast and crew.  Our first introductions were to Doyin Fashakin, the event planner (Events By Doyin).  It was her smooth talking and quick maneuvering that got the keyboard at the event on such short notice.  (Muchas gracias, Doyin!)

Pedro turned on the keyboard and started to practice, but there was no sound coming out of the auxiliary sound system!  I prayed silently—no more problems in Houston.  He fiddled with the cable connections a bit and music soon wafted through the theater reception area. (Answered prayer, thank you, God!)

A musical temptation straight from Madrid, Spain.

A musical temptation straight from Madrid, Spain.

What a delight it was to watch him play some of the soundtrack songs I’d been listening to for the last several months.  At one point, he threw in a sentimental favorite, Seattle, from his first CD.  No one was the wiser except me.  I proceeded to take plenty of photos and some video of Pedro performing.

On the Red Carpet

I didn’t know what to expect at this event.  I’d seen Hollywood premieres and red carpet events publicized on TV in the past.  It always looked so glamorous.  It seemed to be reserved for the biggest stars, and the beautiful people in Hollywood.  But here we were.

This was Pedro’s opportunity to bask in the limelight and to be acknowledged for his fantastic movie soundtrack.  I wanted to make sure that I fit in with the crowd as well.  Like most Hollywood actresses, I spent hours shopping for just the right dress, jewelry, shoes and so on.  After all, it was my fairy tale moment too.

On the red carpet with Pedro at the premiere of "Tempting Fate".

On the red carpet with Pedro at the premiere of “Tempting Fate”.

At the first break in Pedro’s music, we were asked by some fans to have our picture taken with them.  Those were posted on Facebook within minutes; and that was the start of the social media frenzy that ensued for the movie.  I was too busy with my digital camera to post online that night.  However, I did get some photos back to Pedro’s family in Spain.  I was also proud to be handing out Pedro’s business cards and pointing people to his Facebook pageLike, like, like.

Then we strolled over to the red carpet area.  The red carpet was laid down on an area between a row of life-sized movie posters to the left and a row of photographers and videographers on the right.  As you exited the second floor elevators into the event reception area you would walk right onto the red carpet and right into the line of paparazzi.  There are photos all over Facebook at Tempting Fate and Simon’s Aperture.

Pedro's interview with Unsenika Usoro from Afro Centric Television Network.

Pedro’s interview with Usenika Usoro from Afro Centric Television Network.

Media Interviews

We plunged into the fun and had our photos taken together.  Sky Houston, from Majic 102.1 radio station in Houston was on the red carpet interviewing people.  She asked Pedro how he heard of the event.  When he said he was the soundtrack composer, she interviewed him on the spot.  I introduced myself as well, but let Pedro do all of the talking.  He later said he was nervous, but it didn’t show.

Pedro’s second interview was with Usenika Usoro from Afro Centric Television Network in Houston.  Again Pedro did all of the talking, as I graciously walked off camera after our initial introductions.  That gave me the opportunity to get photos of Pedro during his interview.

Cast Arrival at the Meet & Greet 

Pedro performed on and off during the ‘meet and greet’ portion of the event.  People mingled and munched on fine appetizers and drinks in advance of the movie screening.  The Houston sky turned dark and a deluge of rain, thunder and lightning swept across the region just as the limousine carrying the actors arrived at the theater.  We watched from the balcony above as they did some publicity photos in the main theater lobby.

Watching overhead as the cast and crew arrive.

Watching overhead as the cast and crew arrive.

As luck would have it, the storm caused the power to go out to some of the theaters, but it did not affect our reception area.  It was also at this opportune time that the elevator lost its power and some of the actors were stuck between floors.  “Satan really doesn’t want this movie to get out,” I thought to myself as I sent another prayer up above.

Pedro meets John J Vogel, who plays Detective Travis in the movie.

Pedro meets John J Vogel, who plays Detective Travis in the movie.

When the power was restored and cast members started to have their turn at the red carpet treatment, the atmosphere turned more energetic and full of anticipation for the movie screening.  The cast had spent two weeks together filming the movie ten months earlier and now they were reunited.  They had formed a bond over the project.  They were like family, and the celebration certainly had that sort of feel to it.

Pedro on the other hand had watched the movie many times as he synchronized his music to the scenes.  He intimately knew the lines and the characters, but he never met the actors.  He was like an invisible collaborator, working remotely from Madrid.  He was very excited to meet everyone.

Kevin Nwankwor, the producer/director of Tempting Fate, is interviewed by Sky Houston, Majic 102.1 radio station.

Kevin Nwankwor, the producer/director of Tempting Fate, is interviewed by Sky Houston, Majic 102.1 radio station.

We watched from the sidelines as the actors and producers were interviewed by the media.  We had some brief opportunities to meet some of the cast.  They all knew who Pedro was and heard rave reviews of his music.  Pedro also finally met Kevin Nwankwor, his producer, face to face after almost exclusively communicating via email over the last ten months.

We were all here for the same reason.  We were eager and excited to see the VIP screening of Tempting Fate.  Stay tuned for the next post on Pedro’s musical pursuits to hear about the Tempting Fate movie.

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*Wondering where you can see this movie for yourself?  Tempting Fate was produced by KevStel Group, an independent production company based in Atlanta.  They are seeking distributors for release in 2015.

UPDATE 07/05/2016: Tempting Fate premiered in Lagos, Nigeria, during an all-star red carpet event in July 2015.  It ended up being one of the top 10 Nollywood movies of 2015. (Nollywood is the Nigerian movie industry, based in Lagos.)  The movie is one of the top 25 movies of all time in the Nollywood film industry. The movie is available to rent or purchase on Amazon or other streaming movie site.  Pedro’s music and other beautiful music from the movie is also available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and other music sites.

Houston We Have a Problem

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two weeks since traveling to Pedro’s Tempting Fate* movie première and my (his) so called fairy tale moment that I last wrote about. I’m back to reality in Seattle—integrating what feels like another major milestone and its emotions into my life. Pedro is back in Madrid celebrating his milestone with family and friends while preparing for the annual family holiday period on Mallorca—a place I got to experience myself last summer at this time.

However for 3.5 days in Houston I had the honor of watching the dreams of Pedro González Arbona come true—American style. Since I know friends and family are waiting to hear about the experience, I’m sharing it here without further delay. Please humor me as this is not my typical post, and is longer than usual.

Tempting Fate Cast & Crew

The cast & crew of ‘Tempting Fate’, produced by KevStel Group, at the Houston premiere, July 4, 2014.

Let me start by saying that while the evening and the weekend was a big success and we had a fantastic time, there were also many challenges that we had to face—separately and together. But like most dreams, there is a fair amount of work and determination involved to achieve them.

Destination Houston, U.S.A.

Getting Pedro to Houston was no small feat. For months we had been anticipating the Tempting Fate VIP private screening. Since Pedro was coming from such a long distance of 5,000 miles, the producer tried to get his flight sponsored by an airline. When that didn’t pan out, I lent my support by contacting people I knew in the travel industry. Unfortunately, none of that materialized into a ticket for Pedro either. He eventually got the funds on his own.

When it came time to purchase my tickets, I deliberately chose a flight that would arrive shortly before Pedro’s. I wanted to be at the gate upon his arrival and take photos as he departed the plane—to play the role of his paparazzi, an ongoing joke between us. Besides how often do you get the chance to actually meet someone at the airport gate anymore (post 9-11)?

Hurricane Arthur trackingAs I boarded my flight in Seattle, I knew Pedro was on the ground in Philadelphia waiting for his connecting flight to Houston. His flight was going to be slightly delayed. No worries, I thought—that just gives me some time to catch up on my writing.

When I landed in Houston and turned on my cell phone, my heart sank at the news that awaited me. His flight was cancelled due to hurricane Arthur; the airlines had put him up in a hotel, and he would arrive at 2 PM the next day—a mere four hours before the movie premiere. I was disappointed and deflated.

Navigating Houston on my Own

As I finally headed toward the baggage carousel at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, I was reminded of my travels from Mallorca to Barajas (Madrid) Airport last summer. I was expecting to be met by a mutual friend in Spain to help me with my luggage and checking in for the American leg of my flights home. He was a no show, and I was alone, just like I was now.

Houston mapOn this trip, I had been looking forward to Pedro’s help navigating through Houston to our hotel 40 miles away in Sugar Land, Texas. As I left the baggage claim area and walked out into the night air, I was hit with more reminders of Spain. The late night heat in Houston was thick with humidity and made my clothes stick to my skin. Then, even with the aid of a GPS, I was frustrated and lost within minutes of leaving the airport in my rental car.

Grounded Planes, But Spirits High

That night my sleep was interrupted multiple times with ‘pings’ from international text messages by Pedro’s parents and eventually from Pedro as well. When I went to bed the night before, I was ignorant to the havoc that hurricane Arthur was making along the East Coast.

I didn’t realize that the entire Philadelphia airport was closed down!

Within minutes of communicating with Pedro that morning, my adrenaline kicked into overdrive and I got out of bed to start researching flight activity at Philadelphia International Airport.

“What if they cancel my flight again and I’m too late for the premiere?” he asked me. “Pray everything is solved.”

“Of course,” I said trying to reassure him and calm his nerves. I was already multi-tasking in my mind, praying while texting him, and looking online for flight updates.

Flights were back on schedule at Philadelphia International Airport.

Flights were back on schedule at Philadelphia International Airport.

“Thank you, Lord for your mercy and your ways. Help us to lean on you and see you in the midst of our challenges. Give us peace. Clear the skies, literally, part the weather, and bring Pedro to Houston safely.”

“Amen,” he texted back.

Surprise Me God!

As soon as Pedro ended the chat, I was on my knees praying. “Surprise me God” has been a recurring prayer request lately as I let go of my expectations and give God greater freedom to work His ways and His will in my life. In the midst of the challenges we were facing, God managed to surprise us over and over again.

prayerTap, tap, tap was the noise I heard on the door, interrupting my prayers. It was Pedro’s producer. Wouldn’t you know it that for our first meeting I was in the hotel hallway in my robe and pajamas! Ok, that was a funny surprise God! But work was to be done.

For months Pedro and I waited for confirmation on whether he’d be able to perform at the premiere. His producer explained that the event planner was still trying to secure a keyboard for the event. That was another God-sized surprise, but no expectations on my part. After all, it was the 4th of July! How were they going to rent a keyboard on a holiday?

“Surprise me God! And Lord, while you’re at it, just get Pedro here safely and on time for the premiere.”

Our Airport Reunion

Saying that Texas is BIG is an understatement—likewise for the Houston airport. As luck would have it, I got lost at the airport trying to pick Pedro up. Although he didn’t check any luggage, we were to meet at the baggage claim area for his flight. What I didn’t know is that Houston has a baggage claim area for each terminal.

No broken bones, just a bruised ego.

No broken bones, just a bruised ego.

Under normal circumstances it would’ve been comical, but not when time was so limited. I rushed through the airport tram system between terminals to find Pedro, falling and twisting my foot in the process. In pain, and almost in tears, all I could think and selfishly pray was “please let me be able to walk the red carpet with Pedro and wear my new high-heeled shoes tonight!”

Meeting Pedro at the airport was a surreal moment for me. It had been almost a year since we last saw each other—saying farewell at the Palma Airport on Mallorca. And now through a twist of fate and the Lord’s favor, here we both were in a distant location thousands of miles from home. I almost didn’t recognize him. But when I heard him call my name, I followed the sound of his voice to catch a glimpse of him smiling near the baggage carousel.

After the standard European cheek kiss, now my routine greeting with my American friends as well, we rushed through the airport, tram system and all, (I hobbled), labored over finding the car in the parking garage labyrinth, and collapsed in the car. But before we drove away, we pulled his suit out of his luggage so the creases could fall out. There was no hope for his shirt though—ironing that would be my first job back at the hotel.

Arriving Houston

The composer and his paparazzi, I mean manager, finally reunited on American soil.

No More Problems in Houston

As we settled into our familiar conversations about life and our travels, Pedro texted his producer that he arrived and we were on our way to the hotel. His reply was the icing on the cake of God’s surprises for the day.  The keyboard was en route to the theater.  We just had to be there early for a sound check and for Pedro to get acquainted with the keyboard.

It would be a tight schedule for us, but none of that mattered. We’d be there; we’d be on time; and Pedro would perform—one of his greatest desires for the event.

Pedro toiled on the Tempting Fate soundtrack for nine months. We both faced many challenges in getting to the Houston premiere. Over the last few months, the famous line uttered by Astronaut Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 (portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie), “Houston we have a problem,” seemed to be a recurring and somewhat comical theme; but no more.

As I rushed to dress for this Cinderella event, I marveled how we overcame each obstacle to get to this point in Pedro’s musical career. I was not going to let any more problems in Houston dampen his night. Even the pain and swelling in my foot was going to have to take a backseat to the joy in my heart. God was faithful and surprised us at each step along the way. We persevered!

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4, NIV)

Stay tuned for my next post about Pedro’s musical pursuits to hear about the Tempting Fate red carpet event, the movie screening, and Pedro’s performance.

*Wondering where you can see this movie for yourself?  Tempting Fate was produced by KevStel Group, an independent production company based in Atlanta.  They are seeking distributors for release in 2015.

Update 2/12/2015: The Tempting Fate soundtrack has been released and the movie premieres across Nigeria and Ghana in July 2015.

Fairy Tales do Come True

I’m going to the ball!!! I’ve dreamed of this day for a long time. It’s not the fairy tale type of ball or romantic fairy tale type of dream. It’s the dream of seeing Pedro’s music come to life on the big screen. More than that, it is the night of his first movie premiere in America. I’ve been there in my mind many times since I first took Pedro González Arbona into the recording studio three years ago.

cinderella ball gownA Cinderella Moment?

None of this has been easy for me—my role in Pedro’s life—from 5,300 miles across the globe. It started as friendship with an exchange student in my home, moved to a deep bond with his mother, and eventually led to producing his first CD and putting it for sale online. From that point on he has considered me his manager.

I’m not going to spend time rehashing the details of the history between us or Pedro’s musical career to this point. You can find that elsewhere on my site. What I will share is that today, July 4th, 2014, Pedro’s first full-feature film, Tempting Fate, with his accompanying soundtrack will be viewed at a private VIP screening in Houston, TX. There is no place I’d rather be tonight, alongside Pedro. It doesn’t even matter if I was his manager or not. I would still be there.

To me, that’s my Cinderella moment. No, I’m not meeting my Prince Charming (but beware young women, he is a Spanish charmer). And there won’t be dancing, although there is an after-party planned at a Houston nightclub.

Tempting Fate VIP Screening

For one night I will walk down the red carpet. I will wear something glitzy. I will meet the actors, the producers, and the press. (I’ll be sure to write about it and take lots of photos like the press too.) I will take it all in and show up in whatever capacity Pedro needs.

Believing in our Dreams

I can’t read music and have never played an instrument. However, I know how Pedro’s music captures and enhances the movie experience. I experienced it even before he started synchronizing his music to movies. I’ve also gotten glimpses from afar as his music has grown over the last few years.

One day last summer while in Madrid, he walked me through the composing and orchestration process. I was intrigued and blown away by his talent. I’ve gathered a plethora of information to write about his music, his life, and his journey to this major milestone in his life. Yet only a fraction of that has been published online. In time, God will reveal to me how, when, and where I’m to use it.

dreams_come_true_by_ebiisan-d4lwws3_largeSo today, while I had hoped to write a piece to promote his movie, I’m left with a post that expresses my desire for Pedro’s dreams to become a reality. As his benefactor, I’ve supported it, prayed for it, and believed in it from the start. Tonight I’ll get a front row seat to watching it unfold.

Fairy Tales do Come True

Where would we be if we didn’t dream? Where would we be if others didn’t foster or believe in our dreams and our potential? Where would the producer/director, cast members and behind the scenes crew of Tempting Fate be if they didn’t follow their dreams and share the vision to create this film? For me personally, I know I wouldn’t be in Houston today awaiting Pedro’s arrival from Madrid.

If I didn’t have others who believed in my dreams and encouraged me these past few years, I wouldn’t be a published author or have followed my mid-life writing dreams. Now I have paid forward that investment into Pedro and his dreams. It has given me new dreams as well, and opened my eyes to new possibilities.

thULDRAC39As a middle-aged woman who had her fairy tale wedding over thirty years ago, today will be the closest thing I’ll probably get to a fairy tale event again this side of heaven. I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed. I’m sending prayers upward that this faith-based movie, the message, and the music will be positively received and reviewed by the media, and distribution secured for viewing across America.

Oh, gotta run.  I’m also Pedro’s chauffeur.  I have to get his carriage to the airport on time.  I’m delivering one very special package to the theater tonight.

Because sometimes fairy tales do come true…it can happen to you.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Update 7/7/2014: The premiere was a wonderful success.  Pedro’s music received much praise.  He has a bright future in the film industry.  Time to get back to reality and support him from 5,300 miles across the world.

On the red carpet with Pedro at the premiere of "Tempting Fate".

On the red carpet with Pedro at the premiere of “Tempting Fate”.

Lights, Camera, Action, Part 2 ~ Always Together Film Premiere

It’s been a few months since I last wrote about the budding music career of my protégé, Pedro González Arbona.  That last post, Lights, Camera, Action,  Part 1 ~ Making Music in Spain, was about my music collaboration with Pedro while in Spain last summer.  Part 2 of this series highlights Pedro’s experience at his first short film premiere, for Always Together, last December.

Pedro's first short film collaboration with Chani.

Pedro’s first short film collaboration
with Chani Bas.

Pedro’s First Film Contacts

It was in February 2013 when I got the fortuitous email from Pedro announcing that a famous Spanish film producer was interested in hiring him to compose for a movie.  Although Pedro was not hired for that particular project, the producer was interested in his work.  That first interview aligned Pedro with other contacts in the Spanish film industry and launched his film composing career.

Pedro’s first short film, A Thirst for Love, premiered in Madrid while I was in Spain last summer.  Unfortunately we were on holiday in Southern Spain at the time and couldn’t attend.

Pedro's second short film collation with Chani Bas.

Pedro’s second short film collaboration
with Chani Bas.

Pre-Premiere Planning

So last December there was much anticipation and excitement for attending Pedro’s first movie premiere.  Of course, I could not attend as I was back home in the States.  That didn’t stop me from spreading the word though.

While I was living in Spain last summer, I met Pedro’s director and friend, Chani Bas.  I continued my contact with Chani after leaving Spain, and in lieu of my own attendance at the premiere, asked him for invitations for some of my personal Spanish contacts.  But there was one catch—it was to be a surprise for Pedro.

I invited friends that I met at the Protestant church I attended one day in Madrid.  I also invited a few Spanish bloggers I met online since my return to the States.  The bloggers couldn’t make it, but thankfully my Spanish friends could.

Pedro and his family at the Always Together premiere.

Pedro and his family at the Always Together premiere.

The Premiere

Although I wasn’t at the premiere, I had a virtual front row seat as I heard about it firsthand from Pedro, through Whatsapp (international messaging) on the day of the event, Skype calls afterward with Chani and Pedro, and emails from my other friends.  I so appreciate their including me in the event from 5,300 miles away.  This allows me to share it with my friends, family, and readers as well.

When I awoke on the morning of the premiere that Saturday in December, Pedro was just getting ready for the evening event at the Artistic Metropol Theater in Madrid.  (Madrid is nine hours ahead of PST.)  When Pedro and his family arrived, there was a long line of guests outside waiting to get in.  Inside the excitement was building with a standing room only crowd of several hundred people.

Chani Bas, director of Always Together, who is also a talented magician, performed a short magic act, with two other magicians to commence the event.  Chani made some initial comments about the film and then invited Pedro to speak about the soundtrack composing process.  The theater burst into applause for almost two minutes, in appreciation and validation of Pedro’s previous collaboration with Chani on Thirst for Love.  Pedro was naturally nervous, so much so that he forgot his speech at home.  Luckily he was able to quickly gather his thoughts while waiting to speak.

Minutes after this photo was taken, Pedro takes the stage to address the audience.

Minutes after this photo was taken, Pedro takes the stage to address the audience.

Pedro Addresses the Audience

“I would like to thank Chani Bas for giving me the opportunity to work in this area that I love. He asked me to make this speech about how I make the music for his short films.  We have a good relationship.  After the end of Thirst for Love, Chani asked me to create the soundtrack for Always Together.

I was inspired to write the music by reading the screenplay.  I read the screenplay, figuring out where the music should go and what kind of music was needed.  I tried new sounds because I like to create new music.  The soundtrack was completed in July, and the shooting was in August.  So Chani knew the themes as he shot the film.  He planned the scenes with the music in mind.  It was a great collaboration.”

Pedro with his director, Chani Bas.

Pedro with his director, Chani Bas.

The Short Film—Always Together

Chani returned to the stage and introduced the film.  Always Together tells the story of a family separated by divorce, where Andres, a selfish teenager, doesn´t care about his young brother, Felipe. When Felipe disappears, Andres has to face the pain and uncertainty of his brother’s fate.  After the film was over guests had an opportunity to meet and have photos taken with Chani, Pedro and the movie’s actors.

Please take a few minutes to watch the short film, Always Together, below.

Even though there are no English subtitles, the acting (and music) are so good that the language does not cause a barrier to understanding the message and meaning of the film.  The film is now circulating through international film festivals.  It has been nominated for Best Foreign Short Film in several countries.

Best Foreign Short Film nomination in Mexico.

Best Foreign Short Film nomination in Mexico.

With More to Come

In the months since the premiere of Always Together, Pedro has continued to expand his musical influence in the film industry.  He will join Chani on his next short film project, I Dedicate my Dream.  Pedro is hard at work on his first professional full-feature American film, Tempting Fate, the contract he signed last summer during my visit to Spain.  It is an amazing soundtrack.  The CD and movie will be released this summer.

There is much more in the works and some surprises in store as well, but I’ll keep you in suspense until my next post in this series on Pedro’s musical pursuits. In the meantime, check out the Tempting Fate site for more information.  Below is a video teaser for the  movie with some of Pedro’s music.  (See the right sidebar on my site for a countdown to the VIP private screening of the movie in Houston, TX on July 4th.)

If this is your first time hearing about the music of Pedro González Arbona, check out his website at pgarbona.com or “The Music” page on my site for more information about how his music was discovered.  You can support his music career by liking his Facebook page, Pedro Gonzalez Arbona, Composer.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Updated 5/26/2014:  The Tempting Fate movie trailer was released on 3/28/2014.  It already has nearly 18,000 views.  There is also a Tempting Fate Facebook page you can like for updates.  Below is the trailer with Pedro’s soundtrack music. 38 days until it hits the big screen!

 

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays.

For a Heart Blessed with the Sound of Music

At the beginning of the year, I crossed another item off my bucket list—well, sort of.  I’m a big fan of the film The Sound of Music.  My actual bucket list item would be to take the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, Austria, where the movie was filmed 50 years ago.  But since that is fairly unlikely, I did the next best thing. I attended a Sound of Music Sing-A-Long at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle on New Year’s weekend.

Sound of Music MarqueeWhat is a Sound of Music Sing-A-Long?

I first heard about this event from the special features section of my Sound of Music DVD.  They showed a sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl in California.  People dressed in costumes and participated in various sing-a-long theatrics while the movie was showing (similar to what is done for The Rocky Horror Picture Show).  It was a comical idea, but I didn’t think I’d ever actually go to one.

Then last fall when I wrote The Little Girl Inside, a post about the significance of the Sound of Music to me and how it intersected with my trip to Spain, I searched for the sing-a-long event online.  I filed the Seattle event away mentally, not sure if I could free up the time over the holidays or who would want to attend.

As the days quickly passed toward the New Year’s weekend, I vacillated between going by myself, inviting others, and not going at all.  I ended up going by myself, and I’m so glad I did.  I didn’t quite know what to expect at the event.  I was having a rough time emotionally over the holidays and didn’t know how I would react to the production.  I wanted to experience it privately, so to speak—or at least to be anonymous in the crowd of strangers.  It was such a memorable event in so many ways.

What happened at the Sing-A-Long?

When I arrived at the theater, I immediately saw people dressed up for the costume contest. Thankfully they were in the minority.  There were nuns, people dressed in lederhosen, children dressed as the Von Trapp family, etc.  The contest preceded the movie.

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Before the movie started an announcer appeared on stage to give us instructions on how to use the goody bag items during the movie.  This was not a passive movie-going experience.  And you weren’t expected to just sing, you were to interact with the movie at prescribed times as well.

The announcer and his assistants demonstrate gestures for “Do, Re, Mi”.

The announcer and his assistants demonstrate gestures for “Do, Re, Mi”.

Other interactive ways we participated were when specific characters appeared on the screen:

  • For Maria, we cheered.
  • For the Nazi’s, we booed.
  • For Rolf, the love interest of Liesl, we barked like a dog, “ruff, ruff”.
  • For Baroness von Schraeder, we hissed.

And every once in a while someone in the audience would shout out a humorous remark. There were other ways that we interacted with the movie as well, but I won’t spoil it for others who may opt to go in the future, which I highly recommend doing.

Props from the goody bag: a swatch of curtain fabric, Edelweiss,
an invitation to the ball, a party popper for the ‘big kiss’, and flash cards.

On a More Serious Note

For me the best part of the event was the opening scene of the movie.  It started out with the announcer making comical comments and shouting to Maria, but his antics were quickly overshadowed by the grandeur of the movie.

The movie opens with the camera panning over breathtaking views of the Alps and Salzburg, Austria.  It eventually zooms in on Maria, played by Julie Andrews, coming up over the crest of a hill onto a grassy knoll.  The instrumental prelude for “The Sound of Music” main theme song is building in the background when Maria bursts out singing with her arms stretched wide:

“The Hills are alive with the sound of music,
With songs they have sung for a thousand years,
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music,
My heart wants to sing every song it hears…

…I go to the hills when my heart is lonely,
I know I will hear what I’ve heard before,
My heart with be blessed with the sound of music,
And I’ll sing once more.”
© 1959 Rogers & Hammerstein

I was lost in the moment as the song naturally flowed from my lips in perfect sync with Julie Andrews’ glorious voice, and the voices of over 2000 other enthusiastic movie fans.  A few tears were shed as I was overtaken by the magic and emotion of this sentimental memory from my childhood.  At the end of the song, the theater burst into applause, which they did after every song just like it was a live performance.

If you’ve never seen the movie, or you want to experience the opening scene from a sing-a-long perspective, watch this short video.

The lyrics were highlighted word by word for each song in the movie.

The lyrics were highlighted word by word for each song in the movie.

Singing Once More

A buried part of me came alive when my mother passed away three years ago; and music was a part of that awakening.  I encourage you to find the hidden treasures that are buried within you as well—the little creative things that give you joy.  When you do, embrace it as a special part of who you are.  And maybe like me, you’ll sing once more.

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays and Missional Women/Faith Filled Friday.

Lights, Camera, Action, Part 1 ~ Making Music in Spain

Those three simple words, “lights, camera, action” are universally associated with filmmaking. Until last summer, my only role remotely associated with the theater was a bit part I was required to play in the annual musical back in junior high school.

For Pedro, the young Spanish man whose music career I help manage, those words have been part of his vocabulary and part of his dreams since he was very young.  Now, at 20 years of age, he is living his dreams.

Pedro González Arbona, professional musician and composer (Madrid, July 2013)

Pedro González Arbona, professional musician and composer (Madrid, July 2013)

Pedro’s First Short Film

When I headed to Madrid nearly six months ago, Pedro was up to his ears putting the finishing touches on the soundtrack for his first professional short film, Sed de Amor (Thirst for Love).  The premiere was held two weeks after my arrival.  Unfortunately, Pedro’s family and I were vacationing in southern Spain and couldn’t attend.  (The soundtrack is at the bottom of this post.)

Sandwiched in between sightseeing excursions and writing, my time in Madrid was spent collaborating with Pedro on his music and promotional projects to prepare for the premiere and beyond.  Together we launched his website (pgarbona.com), developed a site for his music sales, had publicity photo shoots, and worked on a Facebook marketing campaign to build interest in the film and his music.

Launching Pedro's new website.

Launching Pedro’s new website.

The Premiere

Since Pedro couldn’t attend the Thirst for Love premiere, the director, Chani Bas, asked him to create a video to introduce himself and explain his composing and music synchronization process for the film.  “Take 1.  Take 2.  Take 3,” I said as we made light of the multiple takes he had to do to get a flawless video.

Then since I couldn’t attend the premiere, Pedro gave me my own private showing of Thirst for Love.  Knowing the story, but not understanding the actors’ Spanish dialogue made it difficult to get the full movie viewer’s experience.  That didn’t stop the tears from flowing at the end of the movie though.  My tears were perfectly timed with the closing song “The Last Tear.”   Pedro’s parents joined us for the final minutes of the film, making my joy, and my tears complete.

Celebrating the Thirst for Love premiere while on vacation in Seville.

Celebrating the Thirst for Love premiere while on vacation in Seville.

More Music Collaboration

After our return from vacation, there was still much more music work to do.  Chani had enlisted Pedro to score the soundtrack for his next short film, Always Together.  Those songs filled the family home throughout my remaining days in Madrid as Pedro composed every free moment he got.  We also worked on reviewing and cataloguing Pedro’s ever growing list of compositions—about 120 at the time.

On one of our last days in Madrid, I met Chani, Pedro’s director, face to face at a local Starbucks.  It was a great opportunity to learn a bit more about the film industry, hear firsthand about the Thirst for Love premiere, and get to know each other.  Chani was already preparing for the next film project as well.  (Always Together premiered a few days ago.)

Chani Bas, Ardis A. Nelson and Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

Chani Bas, Ardis A. Nelson and Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

First American Film Project

The biggest music news of the summer though was the contract Pedro negotiated with the KevStel Group, an American production company, for his first full-feature film, Tempting Fate.  Days before we headed off to the island of Mallorca, international calls and email negotiations were flying through cyberspace.  We were rushed to complete it because once we arrived on Mallorca, internet access was extremely limited.

On Mallorca we settled into vacation mode for the remaining 2 ½ weeks of my trip surrounded by Pedro’s family and friends.  But one day while in siesta mode, I sat poolside and read the script of Tempting Fate.  I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read through lines that had a spiritual message of unconditional love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption.

I believe it was not a coincidence that this production company or this script landed in Pedro’s lap.  Like the prayer that moved mountains and connected Rosa and I, my prayers for Pedro’s music were again answered in heavenly ways.

Projected release date, July 2014

Projected release date, July 2014

Two Years in the Making

At this season of my life, I am often in awe of all the perfectly timed coincidences that have fallen into place between my Spanish family and me: the timing of the passing of Rosa’s and my mothers, how my trip to Spain came to fruition and its timing, and now, most assuredly, the recognition of Pedro’s musical talent beyond our friends and families.

It was two years ago this week that Pedro’s CD of original compositions, Introducing Pedro González Arbona, first went online at CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.  What started on a whim and a nudge from God launched Pedro into a professional music and film career, and stepped him into his dreams.  It’s hard to watch these music milestones from 5,300 miles across the globe, but I am very blessed to know that God has done more than I could ever have imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

~ To read about the exciting premiere of ‘Always Together’ recently held in Madrid, check out Part 2 of this series..  To experience his music for yourself, click any of the links below to hear an original composition from the ‘Thirst for Love’ soundtrack, ©2013 Pedro González Arbona, or check out Pedro’s video page of this site.

If this is your first time hearing about the music of Pedro González Arbona, check out his website at pgarbona.com, or “The Music” page on my site for more information about how his music was discovered.  You can support his music career by liking his Facebook page, Pedro Gonzalez Arbona, Composer.

Updated 2/12/2015: The Tempting Fate soundtrack with Pedro’s music released today and is available on Amazon and iTunes. The movie will be released across Nigeria on July 17, 2015.

España Update 1 ~ The Longest Day

I knew that dealing with a 9-hour time difference and jet lag would be a difficult process.  I had watched Pedro do it twice before when he visited our home.  Both times he was a real trooper, immediately attending welcome parties and staying up late on his first night in America to do a gift exchange with our family.

During the first few days of my stay in Spain, several times Pedro said to me, “Now you know what it felt like for me.  It was horrible.”  And now I agree.

The Longest Day

Actually I think I did quite well, all things considered.  I managed to get 30 minutes of sleep, basically a cat nap, the night before I left.  When my alarm clock went off at 3:15 in the morning, I felt ready for the day.  I had dreamed of this day and meeting Rosa many times in the months, weeks and days preceding my trip.  I hoped for lots of sleep on the plane and knew my adrenaline rush would get me through the day.

Approaching Madrid from the air.

Approaching Madrid from the air.

The flight and my first days in Spain are a complete blur in my memory.  What I can clearly recall is that it felt like the longest day of my life—and it was.  By the time my head hit the pillow for my first night’s sleep in Spain, 40 hours had physically passed.

Touchdown Madrid

The anticipation grew as I negotiated the Spanish airport signs, long corridors and what seemed like an eternity waiting for my baggage to slide down the carousel.  I expected long lines to get through Customs as well, but the agent barely gave me or my passport a second look.

I was so excited to communicate my first Spanish words to someone—even just a passing “Hola” or “Buenas dias” would’ve been enough to confirm I was on Spanish soil.  But no, he was just pushing paper and not at all interested in the journey I had physically, emotionally and spiritually traveled to get to this time and place.

Navigating Barajas International Airport in Madrid

Navigating Barajas International Airport in Madrid

With Customs cleared and baggage dragging behind me, I knew my next stop, per se, was connecting with Pedro’s family.  More importantly, it was meeting Rosa face to face for the first time.  My camera was ready in hand and somewhere in Madrid’s Barajas International Airport, Rafa, Pedro’s father, was waiting with his camera perched to capture this moment for me.  The only problem was I had no idea around what corner we would meet.  And then it happened.

Meeting at the airport

Meeting at the airport

Meeting Rosa

A large set of opaque sliding glass doors opened wide to reveal a group of people standing behind a gated area.  I heard cheers and saw smiling faces.  I think I even heard my name; and then I made visual contact with Pedro and his family.

Rosa was definitely excited.  She was shouting my name in her thick Spanish accent and didn’t let the metal barricade keep her from rushing up to greet me.  I reciprocated with the standard European hug, a cheek kiss on both sides of the face.  All of our initial words and greetings are now gone from my memory, but the excitement of those first moments are still lingering.

First Hours in Spain

When I got to their home, all I wanted to do was eat and go to sleep, but travelers are recommended to get on the new time zone by forgetting the time difference and embracing the current hour of the day.  My body knew it was after midnight back home, but at my new home the day was just starting.  Ay, (Spanish for ‘oh my gosh’)! I dreaded the thought of getting through this day without sleep.

Pedro and family outside his former school.

Pedro and family outside his former school.

My host family did allow me to take my first siesta later though.  It was sandwiched between two walks in the neighborhood.  On our first walk I was delighted as we toured the Catholic school Pedro attended from 1st-12th grade.  The halls were lined with the framed first communion photos from previous year’s classes.  What a treat to see Pedro’s young face and proud moment plastered on the school wall along with some of his friends, who at this point I only knew by name.

Our second walk was to Retiro Park, similar to Central Park in New York City.  I found my first geocache here—one I remembered Pedro telling me about two years prior.  Now it was my turn to “log a smilie”.  That’s geocaching lingo for finding a cache.  My camera, and my feet, got a real workout on both of my outings.

My first geocache in Spain, Retiro Park, Madrid.

My first geocache in Spain, Retiro Park, Madrid.

Priceless Memories

The real highlights of this longest day were the heart connections that confirmed my love for this family and why I traveled around the world to be here.  My first was watching Pedro play the piano minutes after my arrival to their home.  No words could describe the pride and joy that filled me in this moment—three years in the making.  And then when Rosa joined us, well, the tears naturally came too.

Later in the day when I awoke from my siesta, Pedro’s music was filling the flat again, and my senses.  Rosa and I had some quiet time together with his music playing in the background.  It was all so surreal to me, like a movie soundtrack was playing in the background.  It was priceless.

Pedro at the piano

Pedro at the piano

After 12 days in Spain, I have adjusted to a new way of living and my beloved Spanish family. What I haven’t adjusted to though is how and when to write.  I originally thought I’d be writing during the traditional siesta time, but I have fallen in love with my siesta.  Today I have foregone it to finish this post that was started days ago.

There is so much happening, so many sights, and so much emotion.  I am pushing myself hard to keep up with all we are doing.  What my mind and fingers don’t have time to capture on the computer, my camera is capturing ‘on film’.  That is enough to keep me writing and blogging back home for the months to come.

I am sending much love to my family and friends back home and beyond who made this trip possible.  It is a dream come true.  It is especially for them that I am writing today.  Tomorrow I will siesta again.

Until we meet again, que tenga un buen dia. (Have a good day.)

Rosa & me beaming over Pedro's music and the delight of finally meeting.

Rosa & me beaming over Pedro’s music and the delight of finally meeting.

The Road to Spain, Update 6 ~ The Music

The last time I physically saw Pedro González Arbona we were waving each other goodbye at the security checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport two years ago.  He arrived that summer as an aspiring composer.  He left America that day with 50 professionally recorded CDs of his original compositions, eager to share his music with friends and family in Spain.

Managing Pedro’s Music

Our relationship changed that summer, not intentionally, but it went from one of family connection (as a result of a short term exchange program, Education First) to a music partnership.  When I offered to take Pedro into the recording studio in July 2011, he started to affectionately and jokingly call me his manager.  As I caught his dream of composing movie scores, I came to take that responsibility more seriously, as did he.

Since that time, his music found a home with CD Baby, an independent music distributor, giving him an online presence on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other retail music sites, and giving him worldwide exposure.  As fantastic as this may sound, online access doesn’t automatically equate to fame and fortune—although I was naturally concerned it might.

Introducing Pedro at his debut American performance, June 2011

Introducing Pedro at his debut American performance, June 2011

Carrying on our relationship across 5,300 miles has not been easy.  But like the online translator has helped bridge the distance between his mother Rosa and me, Pedro’s music has helped to connect us as well.  When Pedro left in July 2011, he had a repertoire of 18 songs; 13 of them were recorded on his CD, Introducing Pedro González Arbona.

Since then he has become quite prolific with his music, growing from simple piano melodies to fully orchestrated pieces.  Last month, he reached a major milestone by composing his 100th piece, sending each song to me via email along the way.

And Then it Happened . . .

One day out of the blue several months ago, Pedro emailed me an incredibly beautiful composition that seemed to stretch his music to a new level.  I made a mental note on that day of this shift, prayed about it, released it to God, and even wrote in my journal how it felt like his music was truly ready for the big screen.  The very next day, I received an email from Pedro that he got noticed by a Spanish film production company who was interested in hiring him to compose for a full feature film.  This was incredible news!

Pedro informed the company that I was his manager and the international communications began with the producer.  Things progressed very rapidly after that.  Pedro was offered the chance to compose for a short film to test his talent—which he passed with flying colors.  He was then offered the job to compose for the full feature film next year.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of musical commitments for Pedro and a steep learning curve for me.  I have been blown away by his beautifully orchestrated compositions for the short film.  Throughout the production process, he has demonstrated his maturity and creative genius in working with the producer and the director.  It has all paid off well for him as the trailer for the short film, “Sed de Amor” (Thirst for Love), below, was released last week.  (By the way, the song I mentioned above was the basis for the song featured in this trailer.  It really was meant for the big screen and answered prayer!)

It’s a Small World

What is so interesting to me in all of this is how the connections for this film came to fruition.  It wasn’t because the film company stumbled upon Pedro’s music.  It was through a high school friend, Chani Bas, who is the director and screenwriter for the short film.  He heard of Pedro’s musical pursuits and shared Pedro’s music site with the producers.  Pedro’s music spoke for itself.

Putting Pedro’s music online was never rooted in financial motives.  It was all about sharing Pedro’s music and getting him exposure.  We just had to be patient for the right circumstances to materialize and God’s timing.

6 DaysReunion on Spanish Soil

When I arrive in Spain in one week, I will be reunited with Pedro—no longer an aspiring composer, but a professional one, with the score of his first professional film under his belt.  The timing couldn’t be better, as we will be able to partner for his music promotion, the release of the soundtrack on July 1, and the premiere of the movie.  I’m also anxious to watch him perform the dozens of songs he sent me over the past two years.

I couldn’t be happier for Pedro.  His dreams are becoming a reality.  I fertilized the seed that was planted in my home when we met three years ago (when he first played the piano for us).  The hard work has paid off.  Now it’s time to enjoy the fruit of our labor, and thank God for the abundant blessings He has bestowed on us.

Update 12/18/2013:  To read about my music related adventures in Spain, check out “Lights, Camera, Action, Part 1.”

The Road to Spain, Update 2 ~ The Year of Waiting

Last week marked one year since I secured the funds for my travel and confirmation of my trip to Spain this summer.  I remember it vividly because I wrote a post about it and Skyped (video call) with my Spanish family on that day too.

A perfect fit and a perfect exchange.

A perfect fit and a perfect exchange.

Last year at this time, my friend Linda graciously helped me by unexpectedly buying my mother’s wedding ring.  While I was planning on selling the ring to get money for my trip, I never expected it to go to someone I knew.  That was more confirmation of God’s hand on my trip.  It was a win-win situation for both of us as she wanted the ring to celebrate the receipt of her mental health license; and it fit her perfectly.

The night before I revealed all of this to my Spanish family over Skype, I went over to Linda’s home to do the exchange—my mother’s ring for my airfare to Spain.  It was a memorable evening as we sipped wine, talked about the journey ahead and the reality of my trip started to sink in.  Linda has been a big cheerleader for me along this journey and I know she will be there in spirit—along with my other prayer partners.

Revealing My Secret

I Skype with my Spanish family about once a month.  Rosa is learning English, but Pedro still does a lot of translating between us.  On this particular video call I asked Pedro to view my blog online and translate this newest post to his mother.  I eagerly watched and waited for their reactions.  He laughed when he translated the part about his music sales not being as much as I’d hoped (to cover my trip costs).  Later as he started to connect the dots in the story he said, “Oh, I know where you are going”.

I'm heading to Spain!

I’m heading to Spain!

As he progressed through his translation of the story, I heard the excitement grow in his voice.  He met Linda the year before and was happy to hear how she was involved in this story.  As Pedro neared the end, Rosa broke her silence by speaking in English.  “Incredible, incredible,” she said with delight in her voice.

Pedro told me they would reserve the summer of 2013 for me.  Rosa, in her excitement, rattled off all the cities in Spain we would visit and said she would go to a travel agent and start planning.

We talked about the core reason for this trip and my desire to continue with my writing.  Rosa agreed to share with me her perspective of our story and wanted to get started on that too.

Still Hard to Believe

That was the start of my planning for this trip of a lifetime—6 weeks in Spain.  Last month, Pedro’s father sent me a calendar of my itinerary including most of those cities we first discussed.  I will share more about my itinerary, etc. over the next few months and hope to post regular updates on my blog from Spain.  My writing is a significant portion of this trip, but I also want to be in the moment.

8 weeks until I arrive in Spain.

8 weeks until I arrive in Spain.

I feel blessed beyond belief at times for this family’s generosity to take me in like this.  They are not only opening up their home to me, they are opening up their lives in a multitude of layers—Rosa for trusting me to write about her side of the story, knowing that it will bring up painful memories—and Pedro for letting me partner with him on his musical pursuits.  I pray I can do it all justice and that God would keep me focused on His will for it.

Unbeknownst to me or my family, the road to Spain started with our opening up our home to Pedro, for a short term exchange program in July 2010.  Now, three years later, it is my turn to be the exchange student.  The waiting is almost over.

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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