Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Texas Castles

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you stop taking a city for granted once you move away from that city. We lived in San Antonio for almost four years, and while we visited the Alamo several times, we never once visited the other Franciscan missions.

This past weekend, when we went back for Easter, we finally made the trips to two of the missions: Mission San Jose and Mission Concepcion. I didn't realize just how antiquated and bare-bones these ruins were. They were beautiful and brought to mind what an abandoned European castle might look like. A said to my husband, "Thank you for bringing us here, Daddy!"

At Mission San Jose, we ran through the ruins, visited the open and echoing granary, walked through the dwellings--which were rooms inside the surrounding wall, and...played in the crushed rock. (It can't be helped. When J was three, we visited the Toompea Castle in Estonia. His favorite part? Throwing rocks against the castle walls.)

At Mission Concepcion, we sat in the quiet chapel for a few minutes. (I love Catholic chapels. Perhaps it is that I come from a long line of Catholics or that I have fond memories of Catholic weddings and masses with our extended family. I truly feel such peace in those beautiful chapels. One of my most spiritual moments was stepping into St. Paul's Cathedral in London just as the choir was singing.) (End tangent.)

As we traveled back from San Antonio, I tried to squeeze whatever educational experience I could out of that. J and I read through the missions brochure, and we gave him the assignment to write a report on what he did and what he learned. Turns out if you direct an assignment from the front seat, it ends up something like this:

I went to the missions and learned a lot of stuff. First I went to San Jose, second Concepcion. I went with my mom, dad, sisters, and my Grandma. 

Yeah, we'll have to work on that tomorrow. After his brief report follows a picture detailing his trip--which is more elaborate than what he'd written. If he could draw his way through school, I think he'd be a very happy boy.

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