Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Visitors are coming!

I'm incredibly excited because my mum and her boyfriend, Adam, are coming to visit me for a week and arrive on Saturday! My mum is feeling quite nervous because she hasn't flown for 10 years. The days seem to be going very slowly because I've been waiting for this day ever since they booked it a few months ago. Not long now! They'll stay for a week and shortly after that Maria will arrive for a 2 week stay. I'm very excited to finally be getting all these visitors!

After a couple of weeks at CETI (Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes, Centre for the Temporary Stay of Immigrants), I've decided its probably for the best if I stop going. I'm disappointed about this, but for the short time that I was there I didn't feel like I was doing much. This is my own fault because of my limited Spanish speaking skills, and because I can't speak French either. This made communication difficult with the other people working there, let alone the immigrants. The immigrants mostly spoke other languages such as French, Berber, and Arabic, and other languages from Sub-Saharan and Western Africa. I only know English and Spanish, so that's how I tried to help, although I think it was a bit limiting because most of the immigrants spoke French. I ended up sitting about for most of the day scrolling through Facebook or playing Angry Birds, and I knew I could be using my time a lot more productively.

On Thursday a group of immigrants were told they were going to mainland Spain and I was asked to translate. Many of them had probably been in CETI for quite a lot time, and had to maintain good behaviour and learn some Spanish in order for this to happen. Therefore, I felt pretty nervous about translating such important news. Everything seemed to be going quite well until I translated something inaccurately, which resulted in someone complaining. This made me feel really bad. Normally I'm not somebody who gives up easily, but this time I feel that its for the best. Instead, I am planning to use that time to make some progress with my dissertation and search for a Spanish course to improve my speaking ability.

In the evening I went to the cinema to see El Lobo de Wall Street (The Wolf of Wall Street). I didn't realise until after the film that it was an 18. Usually I avoid 18s because I find they either have too much violence or sex. In this film it was the latter. It was also a painful 180 minutes (yes, 3 hours) long. The plot seemed to be all over the place and I was expecting (and wishing) that the film would end for the last hour. In all fairness, I couldn't completely understand what was going on, but I know I wasn't alone in my thoughts because my friend didn't enjoy it and several people walked out before it finished. If you enjoy orange women who have unrealistically large breasts, geeky men, orgies and excessive drug usage then, my friend, this is the film for you! At least it only cost 5 euros. 

Over the weekend I also went to another basketball match and went out for lunch and drinks with Ana and her friends. Today I met a friend at a cafe and went to her house for lunch and tomorrow hopefully I'll be going to the cinema to see Gravity. I'm feeling good about getting out and about more than I did last year.

I'm a bit fed up with my bike. It takes a lot of effort to pedal because the wheels are so small. Its a nice bike and very practical because its foldable, but I would like a different one which I can use to travel further distances more quickly. Back in England I have a mountain bike which I love and use very often. I don't want to spend too much because I'm only here for 4 more months. Ideally I'll be able to swap my bike for another. My neighbour recently told me that I can't chain my bike downstairs (I couldn't understand the reason that she told me why), so I'm actually considering giving up with using a bike, because I don't want to have to carry it up and down 2 flights of stairs every time I want to use it. I feel sorry for the woman living in the flat above me who has to drag a pram up and down 4 flights of stairs. 

Someone said that cheap bikes are sold at the border. Despite this instruction not being particularly specific, as the border surrounds the entire city except the promenade, I decided to go to the busiest area of the border to find out for myself. After circulating the area, I discovered there wasn't anywhere selling bikes, so went to ask at a motorbike store. They directed me to a bike shop a few streets away, who told me they don't buy and sell second hand bikes, but told me Mundo Bici (Bike World) does. I've been to Mundo Bici several times before for repairs, so I knew where it was. Unfortunately they don't have any bikes cheaper than 80 euros at the moment, so I'll either go back later, go elsewhere or sell my bike. I'm having problems walking again due to a long term injury from working long shifts at Wetherspoon and cycling helps me to rest it, therefore I feel reluctant to be without a bike.

Some crazy steps to help with 
getting up hills!

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