If you have been wondering where I’d disappeared to in the past few months, think no more. I’d like to reassure my one, maybe two subscribers out there (Hi Mum and Dad!), that I am indeed, still alive.
That said, I’d also like to take a few minutes to tell you what I’ve been up to and why the long, forlorn absence – just in case anyone cares.
The past few months have taken me around the world and back, given me the pleasure of bridesmaid’s duty at the wedding of the century, have brought me overwhelmingly exciting news of my dearest childhood friend’s baby being born (Lucy, at barely one day old, you have now officially been recorded in the big, wide blogosphere) and suddenly, somehow May has already been swept upon my doorstep and with it, life-changing decisions, an atmosphere of fiesta and an ever-imminent exam.
Yes, I went home!
I don’t think I’ve ever really taken the time to tell you just what a great country New Zealand is. Or maybe I have. But not nearly enough as I should’ve.
New Zealand is great. Really.
Perhaps it’s being from a small, isolated country that incited in me the need to spread my wings and see the world. Or perhaps it’s something innate, something subconscious that I’ve inherited from my grandmother who travelled the world as a single woman at a time when not many did… or from my parents who, no matter how small the budget once was, were determined to show myself and my brother and sister our country, our world. Perhaps even, it’s a combination of both. But one thing I can tell you about New Zealand is that although it’s the kind of place that as a teenager I was itching to leave, there really isn’t anything like it.
The round-trip took me 82 hours of travel and I was there for a mere 13 days but I can’t tell you how worth it was to be held in my mummy’s arms again for the first time in nearly two years, the minute I passed through the arrivals gate. There is no place like home. There is no place like home.
Apart from my brother, who seemed to have grown a foot since I last saw him, everything was more or less as I left it and I felt so grateful for it. My friends are all growing up, passing through the big phases of life – one day I may catch them up eventually – but what mattered is that they were all the same. And it made me miss you all tonnes.
On top of that, it’s the small things you miss. Like walking in the front door to an excitable pair of pups and a smattering of licks all over your face, sitting on the world’s most cosy sofa, watching Dad’s increasingly gigantic television screen (I swear it gets bigger year on year!), sipping a cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey. Like marmite on Vogel’s toast, sunshine on the deck, a nice, big garden and Whitakker’s chocolate. My bed. Homemade cakes. Fresh salads. The sea. Beach walks. Barbecues. Good coffee. Dad’s bad jokes.
It’s true that that people mark an experience for you. In the same way, I have come to be in Cordoba a year longer than anticipated, my family and friends at home hold an almighty pull-power over me. However, I do find it interesting how it’s so clear to me that my time here in the Northern Hemisphere is by no means up. I think that made it even harder when the time came that I had to say goodbye again. It was all-too-soon and just as that lingering welcome hug from mum sits so vividly in my mind, so too does the saddest face I’ve ever seen on her when I left.
It was harder to leave the second time than the first. This time, I had a life here that I was returning to. A job, friends, my own flat.
I think the most fortunate of us will agree that if there’s anything about travel, it’s its ability to make home incomparable once you’ve left and come back, no matter where it is in the world and New Zealand for me, is certainly no exception to this. Blessed I am to be from this little slice of paradise.
Not long after my return from Middle Earth, came appraisal time at work. And with appraisals come decisions. Serious ones. Should I stay or should I go?
After two unforgettable years here in Cordoba, and much agonising over what to do, I made the decision to move on. It is time for a new experience.
I love Cordoba. I really, really do. I couldn’t have had a better experience of Spanish culture and it will always hold a soft spot in my heart. It hands down has to be my favourite city in Spain, not only for the memories I have here but for the quality of life, the people and the homeliness of the place. Hence, I am going out on a high and I genuinely think it’s the best way.
It’s nerve-wracking leaving stability and happiness behind for the unknown, especially when I know how much hard-work and adjusting it took me to come to love my life here but with so many more places to go and opportunities to be had, it is time I explored something new.
Where to? Being slightly addicted to a certain lifestyle, I initially thought I would stay in Spain. But with another birthday on the horizon, I am ever-conscious that I have things I want to achieve both personally and professionally. I want to get back to the exciting world of public relations and truthfully, although I do enjoy teaching, I think it’s more than time to hop back to it. Reality is, there aren’t really any PR jobs here. In fact, if you hadn’t already gathered, aside from English teaching, there aren’t exactly any jobs in Spain. Go figure. So I figure my best option is to go back to my roots. To England I go.
Yes, there’s a lot I am leaving behind – language, culture… sunshine. But I am also excited about what prospects lie ahead. Watch this space.
May is here. Already. I can distinctly remember sitting here last year writing about the patios, which have just wrapped up here yet again. This year, we had sunshine for the Crosses festival, an added bonus on last year and we’re one week away from the biggest event on the Cordoban calendar… FERIA.
Festivals and parties aside, I am on the cusp of sitting the first important exam I have done in a long while. I still consider myself slightly mad for even signing up but on Thursday and Friday this week, I am sitting the Cervantes Institute’s Advanced Certificate in Spanish (otherwise known as the DELE C1). One month ago, I toddled along to register, paid my modest (cough, cough) fee of €178 and a little while after, shat myself. Oh well, I need to remember why I did it in the first place. It’s not the pass or fail that really counts. It’s that it’s motivated me to study my bum off in my last month here. If I get the certificate, then considering I came here with barely more than “Hello”, “yes” and “no”, then it will be considered some achievement.
And that’s my news. Best get back to the books!