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Spanish - for dummies

I don't imagine for one minute that six days is long enough to properly assess how my move to Spain is panning out but already I have detected a subtle yet positive change in my feelings about the whole venture.


When I arrived I guess I was a little frazzled by my elongated departure from the UK, and still very much in 'Brit abroad' mode. Ok, things are not a whole lot different barely a week on but the frenzy of those first few days are beginning to subside and I am more in touch with the ebb and flow of life here in Granada.


Already we're into a new month. I feel a certain familiarity with my surroundings and I've seen something of the realities of making a living out here. I'm full of admiration for my TEFL colleagues who are cleverly balancing their time between the lesson planning and teaching assignments they have to do and their freer leisure activities. It's not all party time - far from it.


I felt a certain reluctance to plunge into looking for work, relieved in some ways that teaching opportunities seem plentiful here, but am now gripped with a greater sense of urgency that I need to get on with things. I began in earnest today looking for some teaching hours and will see what transpires. Yes there is a lot of potential here for TEFL work but it has to be sought for and winkled out. No one hands you anything.


The requirements of a lengthy stay here in Spain mean I simply must improve my Spanish. It's very weak at present - no more than the annual two weeks in Majorca requires - but it's a different ball game now. I was encouraged today with some fledgling efforts in town as I handed out my CV to employment agencies but I also see it's going to be a bumpy ride.


But rather than feel discouraged I feel empowered by the changes. When I look at where I've come and what's been achieved thus far I can only plough on forwards. I have genuine friends here I can rely on, and they've helped me enormously to settle, but I have the confidence that I can eventually strike out on my own. I haven't really seen anything that tells me I'm out of my depth. It's down to having and maintaining a positive outlook and I need to stay focused on that.


One thing I've noticed is a tendency to refer to my life in the UK with a 'back home' comment. This is my home now and the enormity of that is shocking at times.


But I'm already making mental notes of the cultural areas I want to get myself involved with. There's an art group that meets on Wednesday near the city centre, the local football team are going great guns in their division, and there are bars in town that run 'Intercambio' evenings, where Spaniards get to practice their English and foreigners get to try out their Spanish in return, all over a few drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. In addition I can't wait for the summer and the string of festivals that will take place throughout the area.


Some things are scary to contemplate. Being in my own flat and having to speak to the electricity supplier or telephone company for instance is something that still awaits, but receiving text messages to my mobile phone via a tidal wave of Spanish is already happening. Being sent on a teaching job to an unknown area of town is something else I'll need to deal with pretty soon I suppose.


But hey, bring it on!

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