Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes

A time of reflection – a time to look forward.

Today is Dia de Andalucia, the national holiday for the autonomous region of Andalucia.  This long weekend has given me a good excuse not to do much work. It’s in fact the anniversary of my move to Spain, to live full-time. I spent it with Rafa, on a relaxing retreat at the house near Guaro.  No obligations, no commitments – just time to relax and reflect and talk about the future.
This time last year (see Archives, Feb 25 onwards) I left the UK, and in the pouring rain of the the holiday weekend Feb 2005, moved my things into my new apartment.  12 months later and the weather is better – but that is certainly not the biggest change!
I am now working hard with my business, Earth and Ocean, as well as established in my relationship with Rafa; I’ve learnt a decent amount of Spanish and made some good friends.  Not bad for a year.
I have reflected on the past year, on how much I have learnt about myself. Moving to a new country and different cultures (both the Spanish and ex-patriat) has made me learn more about my values and motivations, insecurities and strenghts, my fears and hopes.
The ex-pat community is quite easy to integrate with, but sometimes I find it more complex than the Spanish culture!  Strangly familar, but distintly different from the UK – in some ways it reminds me of the period just after gradulating University.  You keep seeing the same people; everyone wants to be loved, and everyone wants to do a deal!  Well,maybe  that’s a little unfair, as I have some good friends in a short time and there are some very talented people here.  Yet, ex-pat living is strange sometimes..
The Spanish culture by contrast, is more a case of  WYSWYG – "what-you-see-is-what-you-get".
The locals in the villages stare at you as you drive or walk through the streets, they smile reluctantly, and think most foreigners are stupid rich folk.  Yet, after time, the stares of strangers translates to muted acknowledgement of neighbours and friends – no fake smiles or air-kissing here, but in time, a genuineness appears that is refeshingly visible. 
In addition, my adoptive Ronda family is remarkably loving – recognising and caring for me as a son or brother.
Keeping my web journal over the past year has served me in so many ways.  It has helped me focus and explore my thoughts; it has helped me create an identity for me in Spain; it has enabled me to rationalise my life in the UK; and of course, it has given me a great way to remember things along the way – from Spanish fiestas, to lonely days on the beach, to happy days with friends, romantic moments, adventures in Tangiers, to trouser-ripping excitement.
The diary has also given me the chance to meet new people, get in touch with lost friends and also provide a way to publish my snapshots.
So, the commencement of my second year in Spain. I’m excited. What does the next 12 months hold for me?
Here’s a pic I took yesterday from Gauro – I could see clearly the Sierra Nevada over 150 kms away in Granada; but if we could always see that far forward, life wouldn’t be such a hell-of-a roller coaster ride, would it?!

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »