How it all started…(part 2)

During the end of summer, I spent a lot of time on Facebook trying to find anyone else going to Águilas for their year abroad. Plenty were going to Murcia, even some were dotted around in other little nearby villages but it took a while to find someone going to the same place as me. Eventually, I came across a Dutch girl who was going to be staying there and even had a place lined up that I could stay in until I found my own. She even offered to drive me from Alicante airport for the cost of the petrol, and with my virtually non-existent level of Spanish making me scared to use trains and buses, I took that offer.

First impressions of the town: beach, bing! Although it was by far going to be the smallest town I had ever lived in, being able to walk from one side to the other probably in a good thirty minutes. It was also so, so quiet. This was winter, completely out of any sort of tourist season anyway but it didn’t even seem like there were any people around in general. Some older couples wandering the street, people out shopping during the day, of course, but it was like there was a curfew after 10pm.


I ended up living with the Dutch girl for a few days before finding my own flat with the help of my school. Not that it would have been difficult as it seemed like every other flat had a ‘for rent’ sign hanging out of its windows. I’d later find out that Águilas was a lot more full in the summer and it was normal for tons of places to be available over autumn/winter. The flat was two bedroom, two bathroom, a reasonable size and had a view of the sea. And cost less than 300 euros a month. Winter was truly a dead time.


I already had some ready-provided friends thanks to the auxiliar de conversación program, the previously mentioned Dutch girl, two French girls and an American guy. All of us bar one (sorry only guy) would be working Mon-Thu with a nice three day weekend for partying (that started pretty early) and, I’m embarrassed to admit it but I will, all spoke English to a high level which made it far easier for me. I could’ve tried harder at the time, I really could have, but my Spanish was so low and I was always just so nervous to speak it. I also, at this naive time, didn’t even know how strong the accent of the region was. I do regret it now, even though my Spanish has improved since, that I didn’t plunge into the language a lot faster but I also don’t think people truly realised how nerve-wracking it was at the time.


So, there I was, in a Spanish coastal village in the beginning of winter with a 16-hour week of teaching English to loud, unimpressed teenagers ahead of me…

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