Well fancy that.. Almost a year ago today I was sat in a giant lecture theatre in the Psychology department of Cardiff University for the first of many Year Abroad related talks. The whole Year Abroad process from then on gradually got more and more daunting, the thought of actually livingin Spainand getting accustomed to the Spanish way of life was just one I had completely locked away in the back of my mind, until now! I’m now sat in a hotel room in Ciudad Real in Castilla-La Mancha, my destination for the next 9 months. To be perfectly honest with you, even just writing that is crazy in itself but there’s no turning back. It’s all becoming real and contrary to what I’d originally thought, it’s absolutely amazing. Amazing in the sense that I’m full of adrenaline and full of anticipation to do as much as I can; first and foremost, come to grips with the Spanish way of life, culture and the cuisine (shout out to my mum for the awesome tapas recipe book she gave me beforehand), secondly, visit as much of this country as I can and thirdly (and to be honest, most importantly) get a really good, solid level of Spanish. I’d be lying if I said that my Spanish is near perfect, but I can really sense that being here will dramatically improve it (stating the obvious right there). Spain has one of those vibes where you just desperately want to immerse yourself in the culture and get really stuck into the language. Thus far, all is really positive. If you’ve read my Madrid blog below (and if you haven’t, I welcome you to do so), one may have got the impression that I didn’t really enjoy it as much I wanted and you’d be correct. During that trip, the sudden realisation of being away for some time really hit home. I thought about how much I’d miss my family and friends, my 2 amazing dogs, my drum kit and my guitars (brought some drum sticks with me so I can air-drum!), and the thought of being away from all of that was just one I really wasn’t up for and I actually said there and then to my mum that I didn’t think I had the mental strength to be dealing with it all. But having spent the rest of the summer dwelling on the prospect, I finally decided that if I turned my back, I would be giving away a fantastic opportunity – one that I probably wouldn’t be able to get again. As a result, being rather positive must be a good thing, right? Even though I really don’t want to be away from the comforts of home, it’s not going to be forever and therefore, I’ve got to make the most of it. Getting over my shyness (and trust me, I’m a really shy person) is something that I reckon, in this environment, will be easy to overcome. My courses at the university don’t commence until mid-September, so for the meantime, I will be sorting some accommodation, speaking alright Spanish and hopefully meeting people from across the globe and partying! Apologies for being slightly cheesy and self-centred, but this Year Abroad is most certainly a new chapter and a brand new learning experience. It feels right and I feel more than ready (I think). Being here in Spain and writing this post has really allowed me to reflect on where I’ve come from my teenage years and what the future will hold. Sure, the experience will have its ups and downs but it’s all part of the journey and it’s a journey that I really want to endure. I’m going to really miss being in the UK, but spending 9 months in Spain is something that’s too good to be missed. ¡Vamos!
*One minute there were no clouds in the sky with the sun beaming down and all of a sudden, there is thunder and lightening, how is that even possible in Spain?!*