My super adventurous, world-travelling, wonderful friend of twenty or so years suggested I start blogging when she found out I was moving over the pond. In traditional Mar character, I procrastinated, and here we are, nearly three months into my move to Spain, finally beginning the blog I promised. In these short three months, I have visited four new countries, made a handful of international friends, moved into our very first piso, began a Master’s program, started learning a new language, tried and fell in love with paella, solved more problems than I probably have in my lifetime, and successfully made Google translate the most utilized app on my iPhone.
Long story short, our first month in Spain was spent exploring Barcelona, arriving in Murcia with eight bags in tow and no place to live, searching tirelessly for an apartamento, piso, flat, whatever they were calling them, while we lived like caged gerbils in the one local hostel. We made several failed trips to the Oficina de Extranjería (Office for Foreigners), learned the public transit system, and completed schooling and bank account registration paperwork entirely in Spanish. Needless to say, we had no idea what the fuck we were doing.
After ten long nights in our “gerbil cage,” we found Antonio – our saviour. Antonio was really just a real estate agent who spoke questionable English, but for two desperate, non-Spanish speaking, homeless Canadians, Antonio was Jesus. He found us the perfect, little, one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, furnished with a butterfly-clad fridge and a non-functioning washing machine. Did I mention the kitchen came equipped with only four Sponge Bob glasses, an ash tray, and an old mop? It was perfect.
After surviving our first month and adjusting to our new schedule – not just our school schedule, but siesta shut down from 2:00 – 5:00, dinner at 9:00 pm, and absolutely zero concept of the words “on time” – we decided it was time to make some friends and experience the true, Murcian nightlife. Our first night out consisted of tequila and tomato juice, a smoke filled biker bar, a 4:00 am trek to Plaza de Toros – the bull fighting ring by day and nightclub by night. We wound up at home by 6:30 am and experienced our first Murcian, hangover ass kicking the following day.
Fast forward to December and Christmas break was upon us. Part of our decision to study in Spain was based on its proximity to other European countries and Northern Africa. Once we found Ryanair and Vueling Airlines, it was game over. Our travel-bug got the best of us and before we knew it, we had flights booked to Torino, Italy, Berlin, Germany, Prague, Czech Republic, and Rome, Italy. Pre-Christmas, during one of Spain’s million bank and school holidays, we were able to visit Torino, which granted Joey his dream of visiting Juventus Stadium and finally seeing his favourite “football” team play up close and personal. I finally got to add Italy to the list of countries I’ve visited, and can’t deny I enjoyed every minute of our Juve filled day! It was an incredible experience I would do all over again. Once Christmas break rolled around, we packed up for our two week trip through Berlin, Prague, and Rome. Pictures don’t do these incredible, historical, European countries justice, but I’ll do my best to share some of my favourite parts of these amazing cities.
I know I said “long story short,” but for three months in a nutshell, I think I did pretty well! As I lay in bed preparing for another 9:00-9:00 day of my school-work placement and class, with a glass of wine in hand, I laugh recalling some of these hilarious moments. It truly makes me thankful for this interesting and insanely challenging experience. I wouldn’t change it for the world!