I have just finished stage one of packing for going back to the UK. I still have over a month, but having accumulated more than I came with, I felt the urge to check I’d be able to fit it all. I had to purchase an extra suitcase, but I had a sudden panic that it wasn’t enough.
I bought the suitcase for just €9 from an app called Wallapop. The service enables people to sell second hand goods to local people. I also used this app to buy my dress for the feria. I went to one woman’s home her husband was also there, their apartment was immaculate, like a showroom, and I went into a bedroom to try the dress on. That one didn’t fit, so I found another I liked. The owner of the first spoke very fast Spanish, so it was difficult, but the second woman I visited spoke English.
The dress was beautiful again, and though it didn’t fit, it seemed possible simply to get it taken out a bit so that the zip could do up. I agreed to the price of €80 if the woman could come with me to get it adjusted. It was only €10 and did the job, and I just had to pick it up on my own. You can find out more about the feria in my article for The Norwich Radical.
As things are coming to an end here, I also have to start cancelling things. I’ve been writing messages to my agency to arrange a date for the key and deposit exchange, which I’ve been doing in Spanish. At one point she left a voice note instead and I painstakingly tried to write the message down in Spanish. I got the gist, but it was important, so I asked for the written version and understood the same. I started the cancellations by ending my gym membership. I attempted to speak in Spanish, but was saved somewhat by a woman who could speak English. I’d wanted to go to one last zumba class, but they wouldn’t let me.
One thing that can be annoying here is that they are so rule-orientated. I guess there aren’t perhaps as many rules as other places, but the ones they do have are enforced in such as way that can seem unreasonable. Whilst the gym was happy for me to pay for the time before the first payment, yet couldn’t allow me a few days when the payment leaves my account on that same date. I was frustrated also at my recent relaxing trip to a public outdoor swimming pool and they lifeguards were adamant for me to take my glasses off in case they broke. I tried to explain in Spanish that I needed them to see, that they were prescription. So, I had to swim in blurry surroundings. Still, can’t complain too much. I will be returning as much as possible to spend days reading and swimming. They even have a cafe there, so on weekends I could go from 10am-9pm!
I’m hoping to go back to Spanish classes, and definitely want to continue learning when I’m in the UK. My friend Laura also came to visit for a second time (she’s lived in Barcelona for two year before), and we were approached by two Spanish men who tried to encourage us to speak Spanish, so we had a bit of practise, but inevitably ended up speaking more English than Spanish. For those thinking about going to Spain to improve their Spanish, I would say to study beforehand. I feel that if I had studied the amount I have done now then I would feel more confident to practise speaking more. Still, it can be difficult to meet people who aren’t other English teachers.
I’ve got my eye on a language exchange in London, and I may even land a job at an academy that has Spanish there too.