Here in Spain, where I have now lived for almost 5 weeks in a climate massively better than the UK I have left behind, temperatures this evening have been hovering around the 25 Centigrade, some 12 to 15 Centigrade cooler than the daytime highs. The time, by the way, is 2330hrs (that's 1130pm people lol).
My day has been filled with the exploration of my new country, along with helping my friends find their new home here in Spain.
Every day that I have been here I have attempted to interact and connect, often miserably, due to a pathetic grasp of the language. Whilst my aim is of course to learn, it is never an overnight thing though each day has its small achievements.
Something I have noticed is that displaying an effort to integrate even with pigeon Spanish and an English accent is received in a positive way.
The Spanish, greet and say good day and hello to each other and even the strange Englishman who sometimes wears a straw cowboy hat. They connect, they smile and even in this climate of economic and political unrest and uncertainty they attempt to keep up beat, work hard, give their best service and where appropriate add a little humour.
I know that there will of course be those who dislike the “foreigners”, those that don't have the time for people not yet able to communicate, that unfortunately is a fact of life anywhere. I moved from a City that almost had an imaginary dividing East/West line, each would heckle and berate the other, especially on the back of the battling Rugby Teams…..a scenario I am sure you have all seen, heard of or experienced.
Several times over the recent weeks, our neighbour who has lived in Spain for 15 years, has dropped off bundles of fruit and veg….tomatoes as big as your fist and figs as sweet as honey….Why? Well because he had more than he needed, and felt we may benefit from them. In Spain, and no doubt in other countries, the practise of gifting people with surplus produce is a way of life and its not on a “give to receive” basis….they give “value” because they want to and not in an expectation of something by way of return.
Whilst at present I am not in the position to gift figs, I hope over time, I can cultivate my connection here and contribute to their society and their way of life in a positive way.