Friday night saw me bidding a sad farewell to the last group of my lovely students who have been a part of my life since last September. I have to admit I shed a little tear (and so did some of them). My walk home, after handing in the keys to my boss, was filled with mixed feelings. I knew this was the last time that I would be treading the familiar route, one that I had walked four times a day, in all kinds of weather. As I walked I said a mental goodbye to the places I regularly walked past. Sometimes in the freezing cold, other times with sweat pouring down my face.
One of the things I am really going to miss about being there is the lovely long break in the middle of the day for siesta. My break was usually 3 or 4 hours, depending on the timetable and whilst it was a bit strange at first, and I never used this as a siesta time, I soon developed the habit of using these times to work on other projects or simply relax with a good book.
I arrived struggling to speak Spanish, and even more, the accent of Andalucia but now I surprise myself with how much I actually understand and am able to communicate. I think I surprised some of my colleagues and students too. Whilst I am by no means fluent I can get by very well. You can read about my early adventures in the Spain tab of my blog, but my most memorable occasion is the gas bottle episode.
I became accustomed to the fact that all the shops close for lunch and on Sundays, including many of those in Seville and Cordoba too. I learnt to organise myself around their opening hours and Sunday was truly a day or rest and recreation.
Whilst I still registered that the church bells peal out every hour, every day of the week, even through the night. I got used to it and it became a familiar part of daily life in a little Spanish town.
I loved sitting in the Salon (the main square that is more correctly named Plaza Espana) especially in the recent months when the daylight lasted until about 10 o’clock, and at the other little bars having a tapa and watching whole families or varying generations all eating together, the children and dogs all playing sociably. I didn’t enjoy the dog poo that I need to keep a sharp eye out for!
It’s been a great learning experience. Learning about the rich culture, both ancient and modern, learning about the people and the local customs. All in all it’s been a wonderful opportunity to learn first hand about life in a small Spanish town away from all the commercialism and tourist hubble-bubble of the larger cities.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. Thank you Educalia Ecija and all the fabulous people I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with during my time there.