What Living in Spain Has Meant to Me
It’s been just over 3 months now that Jon and I have been living in Spain and our family and friends have been curious to know; if living here is everything we thought it would be, if we are glad we came, if we are going back to Australia and how my Spanish is going. I’ll attempt to answer these questions from my point of view.
To start with, the hands down best part of being here in Spain is not having to work. When I left Australia I knew I needed a break from my job, but the longer I’ve been away the more I realise how necessary this respite has been for my body, mind and spirit. Waking up each day and being able to do whatever I feel like doing has been nourishing for me on so many levels. It’s given me the mental space to crystallize what I value in life and how I want to live the rest of it.
Being close to nature and living an uncluttered, uncomplicated life has given me the most joy here. More and more I dislike having stuff and things. Possessions that need to be carted around from place to place. Jon and I have reduced our belongings dramatically over the past few years (which made it so much easier to move to Spain for a while) but now I feel we could cull even more when we get back to Autralia. It feels really liberating to have less stuff.
So what is it actually like living here in Sevilla province? The first word that comes to mind is ‘hot’. The average temperature since arriving has been 40° Celsius. Lunch in Spain is taken at 2.30pm and people generally stay inside and away from the heat until 6.30pm. At 8:30pm the streets come alive with activity. Neighbours, friends and family gather in their local squares, cafe’s and parks to enjoy the outdoors and socialise. It doesn’t start to get dark until about 10.00pm at which time families have their dinner. It’s very common here in southern Spain for families to be still socialising until 1.00 – 2.00 am in the morning, splashing around in their swimming pools and playing music (as if it were 8.30pm).
What do I enjoy most? The simple things like cooking a meal with local produce, watering the garden, listening to music, enjoying a nice cold cervesita in the afternoon, splashing around in our Cousin’s swimming pool, walking into the village to buy groceries, reading a novel and doing the laundry. Oh and I’ve also taken a liking to a particular grape that is used to make Sherry called Pedro Ximenez. Our Cousins now call me “Senora Ximenez”, that’s why in the photo above I’m standing in front of a Perdo Ximenes sign fanning myself : ).
I’m very much the housewife (ama de casa, in español) here which is quite foreign for me. And you know what? I like it! Jon loves it too. He’s never been so well looked after in his life!
What I also love about taking this mini-retirement is that I feel my physical and mental health has really improved. I’ve slowed down, I feel calmer, my chronic sneezing has just about diminished, I’m starting to meditate each day, and I hardly need deodorant because I don’t “stress-sweat” (that meaning stinky underarm sweat due to stressful situations).
How is my Spanish going? Well my ‘shopping Spanish’ is fairly good in that I can communicate basic things like expressing that I like something or asking for things in different sizes, colours, styles etc. For example when I was in the city a few days ago I approached a woman in the street and said, “Me gusta mucho tu vestido, dónde comprarlo?“. When I’m able to come out with a sentence of more than two words I’m pretty pleased with myself. Joining a gymnasium (Curves) was also a good move as far as developing my language skills. I quickly learned how to say words such as; strong, fast, slowly, let’s go, change, names of colours and numbers. Our Cousin Mayte has also been instrumental in my language development. Mayte talks to me slowly and clearly (in pigeon Spanish I imagine) and this has been so helpful.
Are we coming back? Yes our return flight is in mid October.
What do I think I’ll miss when I go home? The Spanish culture, the architecture, our Cousins Mayte and Pepe who have been so generous with their time and resources. Being so close to the enchanting city of Sevilla. Paying only €2.50 (or less) for a cerveza & tapa, being in Europe, the food of course and living a simple life.
What do I look forward to doing when I go home? Catching up with friends, going to the movies (and hearing it in English), Springtime on the Gold Coast and planning our next adventure ; -)
Hasta proximo amigos. Besos, Dani