The first week was crazy. It began by handing 700 euros of hard-earned waitressing cash to a landlord who I didn’t quite understand, hoping that I was in fact paying to rent the lovely apartment he’d shown me and not signing away my life. Shortly afterwards I introduced myself as the new English assistant at the wrong school and then obsessively frequented all wifi-emitting cafes within a four mile radius whilst I struggled to set up broadband.
Despite the initial challenges, it took me just a week to feel happy and settled. I met the other lovely language assistants and moved in with two of them, Whitney and Emmy. Together we were thrown into Zafra life by witnessing the bizarre but incredible Feria (the town fair). There we learned just how unprepared we are for Spanish partying, how important jamón (ham) is to the local population, and that it is normal, even encouraged, to buy whole herds of cattle from a market stall. Oh and we also met the Queen of Spain!
Since then I’ve started teaching at the (correct) school, begun giving private English lessons in my spare time and embarked on the impossible task of learning my pupils names, all of whom are brunette and enviably suntanned. I’ve also tried to expose myself to plenty of Spanish; last night I even saw Gone Girl (La Perdida) in the cinema, which admittedly was not the best choice for a non-native speaker given the multiple plot twists, but I think I got the main idea.
In the past few weeks I’ve travelled to nearby towns, taken numerous car-sharing journeys with strangers and hopped across the border to Portugal. Gastronomically speaking, tapas has been eaten, tinto de verano has been drunk and I’ve finally gotten into the habit of having dinner at the unnatural hour of 9pm.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing but I’m surviving and my Spanish is gradually improving. So here’s to another eight months in which I intend to explore more of Spain, make my students’ lessons as enjoyable as possible and keep up this blog. Befriending some more chicos/chicas would be great too. I’m still waiting for my Enrique! Or Juan… or Mario… I’m not fussy.