Tuesday, 22 April 2014


During the rest of the Easter holidays I feel like I've been fairly productive. I've finished my project and essay, renewed my residence certificate, organised my finance, packed away my winter clothes, been to the gym, baked some things and tidied the flat. As a reward, I've booked a trip to Granada (a city on the south coast of Spain) with Maria, who will be visiting me next month. My previous flatmate now lives in Granada, so it will be nice to see her if she's around.

Easter is very important in Spain, because the majority of Spaniards are Catholic. There was literally a week of processions. Each day various churches lead a procession carrying a Biblical figure. On Friday night I went to see the procession of Mary and on Sunday as I was walking home from church I saw the larger procession. The atmosphere was quite solemn on Friday, but happy on Sunday. Although it was a strange experience for me, I think it's good that Spain makes an effort to reflect on the real meaning of Easter, whereas in the UK all we really seem to do is pig out on chocolate.

On Sunday afternoon I met up with an assistant who was here last year and is visiting Melilla for a holiday. I contacted her before I arrived in Melilla and she put me in contact with my previous flatmate. I have her to thank that I ended up in my flat and I'm grateful that I didn't have to go through the stress of flat hunting. We seem to get on well, so went for some tapas and to an ice cream parlour. I'm happy because the weather is becoming a lot warmer and now all the ice cream parlours and snack shacks along the promenade are open for business. Then we shopping in Nador, the city over the border in Morocco. We went to this cafe which is basically on stilts in the sea, which was really pleasant and had nice views. Whilst we there we saw some small boats that seemed to be going round in circles, so we went over to them and they encouraged us to get on. The boat was a bit old, the speakers were sellotaped to the sides and it was playing Snoop Dogg. I have to say it was one of the strangest boat rides I've ever been on.

As my year abroad is drawing to a close, I've come to realise what I take for granted in life. In the past I've felt negative about the UK as a nation and it's attitude towards the rest of the world. However, I've come to realise how I probably couldn't live in Spain for longer because of how much I miss my family and friends back home. I also miss the simple things like vegetarian food, central heating, drinkable tap water, orderly queues, good customer service, effective recycling facilities and Easter eggs! I know that now I'm probably taking some things for granted here and I'll miss them when I'm gone, such as the relaxed lifestyle, the cheap cost of living and the beach.

Most importantly, I've learnt how difficult teaching and hospitality are and I now realise how much I've taken my teachers or anyone who has shown me hospitality for granted. I've started to think that maybe you can't ever really fully appreciate something that someone has done for you until you yourself have done it for someone else.

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