Tag Archives: Motril

Christmas flights

Yes, I have already bought my plane tickets to go back to Motril for Christmas. A couple of years ago I left it until November and they cost me a small fortune. So I had no intention to be in the same situation again.

That time, a couple of years ago, I waited for as long as I could to buy them because when I asked my brothers what the plans for Christmas were, they laughed at me saying that they were still at the beach and they couldn’t find themselves thinking about Christmas so early. Lucky them that they can still be at the beach in mid-September. For me mid September already smells like the beloved December celebration, as the shops have already started selling decorations and the such.

For the last three years running my brothers’ plan was to spend New Year’s Eve at a hotel that does a “cotillion”, with dinner, drinks and party attire included. The first couple of times was fun enough, but last year I had enough of it. The main problem laying in the fact that the music that my brothers would happily dance to to the end of the night is not necessarily the same music that I would dance to. Ever.

So this year we’ve decided to twist things a bit and go for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Jon’s family won’t spend it together anyway, so we might as well spend it with mine. I know it won’t be an easy task either, as some of my family are not talking to each other, so we’ll see how we celebrate. I can already see that my mum will prefer going to Katena rather than cook at home… Who can blame her…

And we’ll see what we arrange for New Year’s Eve, in Blighty…

Random ramblings

– Just came back from having an awesome dinner at the Hilton hotel here in Basingstoke. One of the benefits that I got from my new company is the Tastecard. For a single yearly payment of £30*, I get 2×1 or 50% off in many restaurants. And if you’re like Jon and me, you do enjoy eating out from time to time – so this will give us lots of savings. We tried the Hilton recently and we loved it. We had amazing t-bone and rib eye steaks, cooked to perfection, and the total bill -with drinks included- came to just £30: Less than your average dinner out in Nando’s but 100 times better quality!

We decided to go back again tonight, as Jon’s dad is staying with us for the week, and this was like his way of paying for the accommodation. Any other time we would have gone to Nandos or to a generic Grill restaurant for steak, but now that we know about this amazing restaurant at the Hilton, we’re never going back to eat steak anywhere else.

(*I paid £30 as it is subsidised by my company. Your average person who wants to purchase the card as an individual has to pay £80 a year)

– Jon’s now been at his new job for a week and he is really enjoying it. It is such a big change for him, as he was so miserable in his old position. But now you can see his eyes shining again with excitement and hope for the future. It is awesome to see him smile again and be happy with what he does. Well done, my boy. You really deserve it.

– I was thinking today what an important subject weather is in the English culture. You can’t ignore it. A lot of non-English people mock it, but, come on… How else would you start a conversation with strangers or anyone else? Today was an interesting day, weather-wise. It started with very clear and blue skies, then it got overcast. By lunch time it was pissing down proper. Then the sun came out and it got a bit warm-ish. But by 5 pm it got nasty again, with very heavy sleet whilst you’re trying to drive at 70 mph down the motorway… Then we had awesome clouds… The ones that you could just stare at for hours and that make you happy inside. And finally it rained again and it got clear again.

I know the Crowded House song “Four seasons in one day” was not written about England, but it does apply too!

But the thing that makes me cope with the weather in this country is knowing that without it (by “it” I mean the rain) we wouldn’t have the awesome countryside that we have. It’s probably one of the things that I love the most in the UK and I am happy to cope with the rain in order to get the fantastic scenery around me. We went for a walk last Saturday in a village only 10-minute drive away from us. It was just beautiful – farmer’s fields, grass, woods, birds and squirrels, and rabbits and stags… Simply stunning. We also have the rapeseed fields in full bloom at the moment, and I can’t help but stare at the fields as I drive along the motorway…

– We’re off to Spain in a few days and it’s going to be a busy visit. Only four hours after we land I have a hairdresser’s appointment (I refuse to have my hair cut in England: it’s stupidly overpriced and they don’t get my style). Then I want to meet up with a friend for a coffee. Then the following day my brother is organising a “cortijo feast”, with roasted jamón and other delicacies. On Sunday it’s my nephew’s first communion (aka: more party, drinks and food) and then back home. And in between I have to find time to spend with my mum and uncle! Oh yes, it’s going to be busy.

– And if you know about my crafting hobby but want to see more, go and find me on facebook! www.facebook.com/craftsbymarialachica !! – I must say that the page is proving popular. I’ve managed to get a couple of commissions recently and one of my neighbours who also runs her own business wants to make a deal with me, by which I leave some of my cards with her and she offers them to her customers… I’m loving it!



Different choices

Sometimes I wonder how my life could have been different if I hadn’t made the choices that I made or life had gone in a different direction for me. For instance, what if I had actually been good at flamenco dancing and my mum had never taken me to private English lessons? (long story short, after two or three months at flamenco lessons, the teacher called my mum and said to her: “don’t waste your money here, she has no rhythm, it’s useless”)

Later on in life I made choices that are responsible for where I am now in my life. Hadn’t I studied English a University, I might have not come to the UK for an Erasmus year and not met Darren. If I had not met Darren I might have not decided to move permanently to the UK. Or when we realised that our relationship made no sense I could have gone back to Spain rather than stay here.

And that last thought is what I really want to talk about.

At some point I’ve wondered what I would do if for whatever reason I had to go back to Spain. Would I go to Motril or would I choose a different town? To start with, I suppose I would have to go to Motril and stay in the little flat until I got a job and become financially independent again.

And that is the most important issue of all. What would I like to do back there?

I think that I would like a job where I use English very regularly or all the time. Teaching English as a foreign language either in a “academy” (private lessons) or in a School come to mind. At the end of the day, I did do the CAP (Spanish equivalent to the PGCE) and I am almost qualified to teach – I say almost because I would only be able to teach in private schools, as I would need “oposiciones” to teach in a public school, and I have no intention to go through oposiciones ever in my life.

I am not sure I would want to work in a office doing the same that I am doing here (project coordinator in a “domotics” company), unless it’s in English. Mainly because, like I’ve said a few times, all the technical and work-specific vocabulary that I know, I learnt in English and I would find it a bit awkward trying to express myself in Spanish. I know it’s silly, but before I came to the UK I had never had to deal with invoices, delivery notes, databases, consignment notes, excel spreadsheets, purchase orders, gantt chants, etc.

Depending on how financially independent I am, something else I would like to try is teaching cardmaking, or even starting my own greeting cards company. There are lots of stay-at-home mums in my town and I know they would be interested in something crafty. My only doubt is whether sending cards is something that people actually do regularly in Spain and whether it would be enough for me to sustain myself and make a living. Scrapbooking might be a better idea, as people scrapbook for themselves, not for other people. But I am not that experienced in that field… (and would I find the materials and products necessary in Spain? that’s something else to bear in mind)

And then, last but not least, depending on how crazy I am, I might take the Ice-cream parlour business over again. Although it would have a very different business model to what it used to. For starters, we would have three shifts, not just two, so no one has to work for 12 hours with just a half hour break. Then, an overall manager would have to be appointed, as I don’t really fancy having to be there for 15 hours a day like my grandma or uncle used to do. Also, you pay as you order, not the usual Spanish way of paying after you’ve consumed your order (making it very difficult for the waiter to keep an eye on everybody)

So yeah, I suppose one has to make the best of their situation, and although I have no plans whatsoever of going back to Spain in the near future, it is always good to know that I might have several options open for me to try (that is, of course, if the economic situation of Spain was a bit more stable and unemployment wasn’t so high)

But we can’t help but dream, eh?!

The Spanish Way ?

Before my visit to Copenhagen I was in Motril for the weekend to meet my grand-niece Aroa. She’s a sweet little darling, too little still, but I can tell that she’s going to be extremely cute when she grows older.

It wasn’t the best of visits, to be honest. Jon and I had travelled for many hours, and later experienced a 2 and a half hour delay on our journey back (making my own journey to Copenhagen the following morning a bit hellish), just to see my brand new grand niece for less than 30 minutes.

Long story short, my sister in law got on a strop when my mum said that we weren’t going to go to a restaurant to eat fish, so they left. That evening there was a fight between my brother and sister in law with my niece and the father of the creature which made them leave for Granada, never to be seen again (that weekend).

But the weekend was alright in other aspects. I got to see Puri (my bridesmaid), Kika and Pepito the chihuahuas, drank lots of leche rizada and spent some good time with my other brother Juan.

I got to talk quite a bit to my brother and uncle during my visit, and we got talking about my recent promotion at work. I explained that I was quite excited about the new changes and that I was embracing them. It was awkward at times when I noticed that they looked at me in a funny way when I was talking about it.

Maybe it’s all in my mind, but I’ve got a feeling that some members of my family are a bit suspicious about the way that I am progressing in my career, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that maybe they even think that I have been sleeping with my boss in order to get the last couple promotions.

For them I studied English and trained to become a teacher and don’t understand how I could now be a Project Coordinator of a lighting controls company just like that. I’ve told them a million times that the system is different in the UK: they give you training and all kinds of support, and see beyond your qualifications and focus on your actual skills. That, I’m sorry to say, is an unknown concept in Spain, or at least where I come from, where “sleeping with your boss in order to get a promotion” is still something common, I dare say.

I was talking to my uncle about my grand-niece’s surnames. Is she going to take my niece’s surnames or will she be “recognised” by the father? And we got talking about the importance of surnames in my town. It doesn’t matter that you’re a complete chocolate tea pot and didn’t even finish school, let alone university; if your surnames are So and So, if you’re the child of Mr X and Mrs Y, then, you, my friend, needn’t worry – you will get a job regardless and will do well in life.

It is very sad for me to see that still so many people have this very old school way of thinking in Spain. Okay, maybe I can’t compare the big cities with a small town of the coast of Andalucia – I take it things are different over there. But I am hoping that things change soon, and as more and more young people go abroad to live new experiences, they realise that there’s a different way of doing things.

What I’ll do in a week

Feeling Homesick 1, originally uploaded by marialachica (in Spain for a week!).

I’m off to Motril tomorrow for a week. Jon and I are taking his parents for a visit to my hometown. It’s promising to be a very interesting visit…

Things I’ll do:

I’ll see my family.

I’ll probably see some friends.

I’ll be staying in my flat for the first time.

I’ll eat fish.

I’ll swim in the sea.

I’ll “enjoy” the terrible heat of the midday sun.

I’ll go to the wine bar and have a very cold “Rueda” wine.

I’ll eat pipas.

I’ll go to the ice-cream parlour like 50 times in seven days.

I’ll get a tan.

I’ll relax.

I’ll get fatter.

I’ll bring lots of pipas back.