When you move to a new country, city and neighbourhood, sometimes it takes time to adjust and adapt. I usually don’t have an issue with this as my love of travel has made me become so very easily adaptable (so adaptable that even my accent adapts and changes when I’m away from home for a long time).
This time is slightly different for me. For a start, the currency is different. Obviously, given that I’m in Spain, it’s Euros, which I knew. Until two weeks ago, I hadn’t used Euros for over two years. I’ve been to a lot of different places since then that the concept of currency is a bit abstract to me still. It’s difficult to figure out what things cost and what things are worth. Yes, the price is there, but having been in both expensive and cheap countries, it really is difficult to get my head around Euros again.
Another thing that is difficult to get my head around is the language. Sure, I’m in Spain, sure, they speak Spanish here, sure, I do too, but I’m in Catalonia, where the official language is Catalan, and most people are bilingual (Spanish and Catalan), and for most of them their first language is Catalan, not Spanish. So I’m living in a place where Spanish is not only my second language, but it’s also a second language for a lot of other people too. It is a bit weird hearing it being spoken, sometimes in the same sentence, alongside Spanish. And I don’t know a lot of Catalan.
The Spanish accent here is also different to the one I became accustomed to in Argentina. After just under seven weeks in Argentina, I ended up with an argentine accent in the Spanish I speak. I’m now trying to change that back so Spanish people can understand me (this is what I mean about my accent changing, not just my English accent, but even my second-language accent changes depending on where I am).
Typically British, the weather is also something I’m still adjusting too. It has been unexpectedly hot in Barcelona since my arrival here. The people I’ve spoken to have told me that it is unusual for this time of year, but as they had a colder summer, they’re now having what us Brits would call an Indian Summer. The problem is, I packed mainly winter clothes. And I only packed one pair of shorts. That pair of shorts was packed about 10 minutes before I left for the airport because obviously winter is just around the corner and I didn’t want to be cold all the time. Not much chance of that at the moment though.
I’m also definitely still adjusting to the new job. Schools in Spain are a lot different to schools in the UK, so it is taking some getting used to. And again I didn’t come prepared clothes-wise. The dress code for teachers here is very informal (think non-uniform day at school, EVERY DAY). I brought smart clothes, which I apparently don’t need.
Overall though, I’m enjoying this new chapter of my life in Spain. As I said, I can adapt to situations easily, so I’ll soon get my head around Euros again (though I am very much aware that 1,25 euros for a small glass of wine is VERY cheap).