|(Ignore the t.v. antenna... peo. like t.v. here)|
The adjustment from living near a 6-lane major city street in Canada, to streets so quiet my heels ricochet like bullets as I walk home from the pub, is a big change.
|Siesta time in Villacarrillo at the Paseo, a "park" where people hang out.|
|A street in Úbeda|
But, don´t fret because...
People are Warm and Want to Help
The day I moved into my piso, it was during siesta time so I couldn´t buy food to cook lunch. My lovely neighbour upstairs invited me to her table, and made an awesome meal. She has a modest income, so her regular generosity has not been unnoticed by me. She treats me like part of her family and I have hung out many times with her 5,000,000 cousins.
In town, everyone says "Hasta luego", or the Andalucian anti-cons onant version, "Ah-ehhh-oh!" It can be either a greeting, to acknowledge you see a person but are on your way somewhere, or it´s a "Bye!" at the end of a conversation.
"Villacarrillians", in General, have Modest Incomes
Little things led me to this conclusion, such as all the lights being off in the shops and bars during the day. I thought they were closed! Then I looked inside and realized they were conserving power. Electricity and hot water are expensive here. I can now cook a meal and get dressed in near-darkness! Plus, we pay for cold water, a big change from living in Canada where it's basically free.
|In the evening, hallways are often dark while I teach at the school.|
|A "brasero" in the teachers' lounge. It's how we'll stay warm this winter.|
Within a week of arriving, hot sweaty days were replaced by cold mornings and nights. Sometimes there's rain. And fog. Feels very familiar to me...
|Sometimes, *this* is my morning view.|
If you're the only native speaker for miles around, you are like GOLD to the English academies and students here. I am working like a dog, but in light of the crisis I am extremely lucky. Every week I literally turn away work; I'm too busy! One of the great advantages of being the only native speaker is meeting new people. I say hi to students and neighbours every day. It feels so friendly!
I'm Getting the Best Immersion Ever
Honestly, every day I thank myself PROFUSELY that I learned some Spanish in Canada - enough to hold a conversation, at least. Young people here are learning English, but are very reluctant to speak it. Thanks to my Spanish ability, I've had adventures that I'll share in my next post.
|A view of la Sierra from a downtown street.|
|My hometown's city hall never looked as good as Villacarrillo's|