1st steps towards independence
Today has been a day of firsts for me. It was the first time I ventured out on my own to organise a hairdressing appointment. The first time I stopped by a little bar and ordered myself a cerveza (or ‘cervecita’ as they call it around these parts). And the first time I drove here in Spain . . . on the right hand side of the road. These may seem like small accomplishments however for me they were my first steps towards independence.
You see since we left Australia I’ve really not been able to do anything without relying on Jon or a member of his extended family. I’ve either not had transport, not known where to go or not known what to say (due to language barrier). However now that I’ve become acquainted with our village of ‘Sanlucar la Mayor’, and everything is accessible on foot, I decided to step out of my comfort zone. My first challenge was to book a much overdue hairdressing appointment. I jumped onto Google Translate and found out how to say “I’d like to book and appointment for a cut and colour please”. I practiced this over and over until I was semi confident, then rocked up to the local peluquero. Once I opened my mouth (and stage fright set in) I only managed to get about half the planned sentence out before reverting to sign language. Luckily the young peluquero understood me and could fit me in straight away. She bought over the colour chart and I showed her the colour I wanted, at which point she punched out a heap of sentences about my selection. I had no idea what she was saying but there seemed to be a problem. I reached for my electronic translator and started to type a word . . . but then realised we could be here all day . . . I was way out of my league here. I reluctantly grabbed my mobile phone and called Jon so he could speak to the peluquero. I felt flustered; a bit embarrassed and like my face was red. After that the peluquero and I got along just fine using hand gestures and with me picking up on the little bits of Spanish I do know.
After my appointment I walked back through the village and spotted a sunny corner bar where I ordered my first cervicita. Ordering a beer is kind of hard to get wrong, I’d heard Jon do it many times so I went up to the barmen and said “una cervicita por favor”. I took my beer outside and sat up on a stool to watch the village go by. One of the old men from the bar came up to me and rattled something off in Spanish and pointed to his eyes. Apart from recognising ‘cervicita’ I didn’t understand a word he said so I just smiled and enjoyed my beer.
When I got back to our casa Jon had started cooking some lunch and desperately needed some limes for the dish he was making. He asked me to drive up to the supermarket and grab some asap. The thing is I’ve only once driven on the opposite side of the road and it was a complete disaster. I was in Greece with my girlfriend Selina and we were both driving these three wheeler motorbikes. I started off great and full of confidence until I came to a corner and turned onto the wrong side of the road! A van coming down the street nearly slammed into me! Needless to say I’ve been reluctant to drive over hear in Spain. Driving on the right is the easy bit, it’s navigating corners that one’s brain has trouble with initially. Anyway I agreed to go and grab the limes for Jon. I figured it would probably be better for me to go on my own anyway to avoid distraction. I jumped in the 405, pulled away from the curb and slowly drove down the street saying to myself “keep to the right, keep to the right”. As I continued down the road I noticed all the cars parked on the right hand curb were facing me and I panicked! “Shivers I’m on the wrong side!” Then I remembered . . .anything goes here is Spain. You can park your car any which way, it doesn’t need to be the same direction as the traffic flow. I managed to get back in one piece but I have to say I think I’ll keep to walking where possible for now.
Tomorrow I start a 2-week Spanish and flamenco dance course in Sevilla and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be staying with a Spanish family in the heart of the city during the week, which will be a fantastic for exploring Sevilla and learning more about local traditions.
Adios por ahora mis amigos x