Expat Issues, Great things about Spain

How has living in Spain changed you?

Are you an expat living in Spain? Have you changed in since being here? It’s hard to live in a country and not be influenced by the culture, people, and bizarre customs. Nine years living in Spain has definitely had a massive impact on my lifestyle and outlook on life, but why?

Patience is good. Photo by sleepymyf
Patience is good.
Photo by sleepymyf

Patiencia

This might be taking the whole ‘mañana mañana’ approach to the extreme, but I’ve learnt how to be more patient since living in Spain. That doesn’t mean that I’ve become lazy like the stereotype states. In fact, I find the majority of Spanish people to be quiet hard working (when they have a job, of course) apart from builders, who always seem to be on a break while scoffing their sandwiches wrapped up in foil, and anyone who works on Sevilla’s metro system, which is taking years to finish.

I often have to fight with my inner British voice, pushing me to get everything done as if the world is about to end; always in a rush, always a million things to do. But I’ve learnt to chill the hell out now and then, only now and then mind. Continue reading “How has living in Spain changed you?”

In Search of a Better Spain, Travel

In Search of a Better Spain: Santander

As I sat on a wooden bench along Paseo Pereda in Santander’s harbour looking out over the slightly rocky sea, I breathed with a sigh of relief; I was finally travelling again. I’d been cooped up in Sevilla for too long, almost two years since arriving, and I’d barely seen the country I’d set out to explore.

Santander - paseo pereda
Breathe in…ahh…travelling again! Paseo Pereda – Santander. Photo by Jose Miguel Martinez

I’d chosen Sevilla because I’d been told the lifestyle was chilled, the weather was superb, and it was a great hub for touring Andalucía. All that was true, but I was unsure it was for me; there had to be more exciting places to live in Spain than Sevilla. Since arriving I’d done nothing but reminisce about my adventure round the world through South America, Australia, and Asia. It had been such fun, roaming the world as a free spirit.

But something drastic had changed. I was no longer a free spirit; I had a girlfriend, a Sevillana. I’d completely fallen for her; there was no doubting that, but Sevilla? I constantly battled with myself about whether or not I should stay there, in such a traditional, tedious, blisteringly hot place. There was only one thing for it, to travel again, and see what else Spain could offer. Continue reading “In Search of a Better Spain: Santander”

Annoying things in Spain, Humour

Welcome to the Jungle

“Listen babe,” my wife said, as I was making a cup of tea.

“What’s up?” I asked, expecting to be given an order on my day off.

“Don’t make the bed this morning,” she said.

“Make the bed?” I said, sheepishly; she’s never told me not to make the bed. I was half expecting her to tell me it was broken, or that she’d spent our last €50 on some new sheets.

“Yeah, it’s just that I saw a spider.”

“A spider?”

“Yeah, it was massive,”

“A massive spider? Right.”

“Yeah, and I don’t know where it went, so don’t make the bed.”

“Are you serious? It’s just a spider.”

“Just a spider? They bite. I’m getting tired of this flat already, first the ants, and now a spider. Welcome to the jungle.”

problems in spain, ants
Dancing ants in my bedroom Photo by Bradley Wind

I had to laugh. Jungle indeed, I thought as I tottered into the bedroom to find the massive spider, which was about the size of a chickpea, but you know what, she was right about the jungle.

I found the massive spider again a couple of days later in the bathroom as I was following another ant trail to work out where the little bastards were coming in. The spider was perched on the side of his net, curled up in a ball watching as an ant scurried in. The spider sprung out and wrapped itself round the ant. Continue reading “Welcome to the Jungle”

Annoying things in Spain, Culture Shock, Seville

What does my head in about the Feria in Sevilla…

The longer I stay in Sevilla, the more I realise what the city is really like. Don’t get me wrong, Sevilla is a great place to live, but over time, like any city I guess, I’ve started to wonder if I really belong here. In my previous blog I made it quite clear that I’m more of a Semana Santa type of guy, and even though I think the Feria is a great festival, there are a few things that do my head in. I can manage one afternoon and evening at the Feria tops, any more then I’d just end up fuming inside. But why, what is it that bugs me about the Feria?

Sevillanas
Dancing Sevillanas… Photo by Tom Raftery

The repetitive music

I love music, and I’m a fan of Spanish music. They have some great artists and I rarely have to turn the radio station over, unless I’m listening to Copla. I particularly enjoy listening to flamenco, which is why my novel is connected with it, but I couldn’t listen to it all damn week.

The problem with the Feria is that in the casetas all they play is Sevillanas. It’s the constant ring ting ting ting ting, ring ting ting ting ting that gets on my goat, and the tick tick tick, tick tick tick of the castanets that peck at my head like a woodpecker on speed. Continue reading “What does my head in about the Feria in Sevilla…”

Great things about Spain, Humour, Seville

What’s so special about the Feria in Sevilla?

It’s that time of the year again when I get out my horseman’s suit, dust off the hat, and polish up my shoes ready for the Feria in Sevilla. I’m only messing, I wouldn’t be seen dead in one of those shiny grey suits and poncy hats the Sevillanos wear while they totter about on their horses with a glass of manzanilla sherry, but that’s mainly because I don’t own, and can’t ride, a horse.

The mighty Feria in Sevilla starts up next week, officially at midnight on Monday with the pescaito (fried fish night). Sevillanos remortgage their houses so they can spend a week eating, drinking and prancing about dancing Sevillanas on unstable wooden stages.

Can you sense that I’m not a Feria kind of guy? I’m more of a Semana Santa man. I probably would have been a fan back in my early twenties when I was young, free and single. Sure I will be again once my boy is old enough to drag me on the intense rides on Hell Street. I do try to see the positive aspects in most things though, so here are a few reasons why you should get out a loan from the bank this week and attend the Feria de Sevilla! Continue reading “What’s so special about the Feria in Sevilla?”