I now eat lunch at 3pm and dinner at 9.30pm. Who am I?!!!
And that is the first thing I’ve noticed about moving to a different country – or, more precisely, about moving from England to Spain. I’m still finding my feet and settling in here which is why blog posts have been sporadic / hurried. I hope to blog a lot more about life in Spain over the next six months and some specific posts already in mind, but let’s start at the beginning.
What is it like to leave home to live in a different city?
Stressful. That’s about it. In the weeks leading up to leaving I was too stressed to be excited. So many things to pack, so many things to arrange both at home and at work, worrying about whether my bags would be overweight for the flight, would my bike be okay on the flight? What would my flat be like? What would my new colleagues be like? Will I hate the work and spend all my life working? Will I be able to deal with the late working hours? Would my Spanish be up to the task? Will I just be horribly lonely constantly? And on top of all that, saying goodbye to James and Oscar-cat.
I might have to get this one framed
With hindsight, I was completely over-thinking pretty much everything. Other than saying goodbye to James and Oscar-cat. Well more James really, Oscar ate his breakfast and then scampered out of the cat-flap with no idea that he wasn’t going to see me at all for three weeks, and not properly for six months.
The other thing I wasn’t over-thinking was my stress about packing.
Like any good triathlete, what you can see on the top there are my spare trainers, my swimming fins and my yoga mat 🙂
The trunk was delivered separately and arranged by work, but the other bags I had to deal with. This was a major source of pre-move stress which was definitely not over-exaggerated!
Arriving at the airport they were both overweight and the charge was £65 per bag. I was that person knelt down by the kiosks rearranging everything, underwear flying everywhere etc etc. I managed to get both bags down to a reasonable weight by rearranging and especially, putting my bike lock in my on-flight luggage.
Cue the next problem. My bag is stopped going through security. I’m not worried, either there’s a stray liquid in there or its just a random check. But no. They have found my bike lock and are worried it can be used as a weapon. I really didn’t want to lose it as it was expensive and so I made this point gently but firmly. I was asked a lot of questions – where are you going? why are you taking your bike? where’s your bike now? (erm, hopefully on its way to the airplane) why are you going to Spain? To work for six months. What do you do? I’m a lawyer. That seemed the correct answer as the questions ended there and I was told I could have the lock because he was in a good mood and I had smiled so nicely. Fantastic, I get the lock. Not so sure about that as a security protocol though. I guess that was just a more appropriate way of saying I didn’t look like I was going to beat someone to death with the lock.
Landed in Spain and my bike hadn’t arrived with me! It was arriving on the next flight and would be delivered to my flat later. Actually a relief as now I didn’t have to worry about getting a taxi big enough to fit me, all my bags AND my bike bag. And I am in Spain! And here the stress stopped.
First week in Spain
Immediately I got into my flat I relaxed. It is nicer than I had imagined, light and airy with windows overlooking some pretty Madrid streets, a nice sized kitchen, a big bed and a bathroom with two sinks! (One toilet, one shower, but two sinks?!) Trainers were straight on and I was out for a run.
I’m still getting used to living here and haven’t done much exploring due to that little thing called work. But my body seems to cope fine (or at least okay) with the crazy eating hours (there’s a whole separate blog post on that!) and the people I am working with are ridiculously friendly and kind, and the work is enjoyable, and I’m not working all hours of the day and night.
My Spanish is not up to the task.
I still miss James and Oscar-cat.
But overall it has been a great first week and there was really no need to stress so much. With hindsight, what would I have done differently? Sadly, in this situation there was not much more that I could have done to know it would all be okay before coming out here. So my only advice to anyone in the same situation is don’t stress so much! It will all be fine! You will have a fantastic time! I promise!
It’s now 8.30pm at night and I am waiting for a potential new friend (currently a stranger) to finish work in the next few hours so we can go and grab some food and a few glasses of wine. WHO AM I?