Happy new year to all of you. I hope you managed to finish the old year and entered the new one in a great way. I certainly did and thank God I finally got rid of 2018. Last year was in many ways just a “cleaning up”, “letting go” and “rounding up” year. Old stuff, old feelings, dramas and traumas was dealt with, most of it by the root. At least that’s what it felt like. 2018 also meant leaving a country that I’ve lived in almost all my 37 years and moving to a new country, only because it feels right. I still don’t know why I’m here, but who cares as long as it feels right, and I am enjoying myself. My ego and control freak, that lives inside me, for sure don’t agree on that “I don’t care” attitude, that I’m pretending to feel so comfortable about. Some people say, “fake it till you make it”, and I agree with them in this case. I will fake that I am letting go of the control until I make it, because I can only imagine how liberating it must be, if I can just let go and live more in the now. Moving to Spain is amazing, and I don’t regret it for a second. It feels so right for me to be here. But it is also a bit of a bumpy ride, to try to settle in. Though, I think the worst is over now, but of course, I have no idea what’s waiting for me in 2019, maybe more cleaning up to do. But to be honest, I think 2019 means a new beginning and a lot more flow, because it’s already rolling.
Some of you know it, some of you might have guessed it, but for those who doesn’t know it, then I’ve moved to Cádiz. And what a great decision that is. I moved here on the 26th of December, right after my mom went back to Denmark after visiting me for Christmas. It was like there wasn’t many any other options for me, because being in Sevilla was killing me slowly, and moving back to Denmark doesn’t feel right at all. Being in Spain feels right, and also in this part of Spain where I am now. In Cádiz I feel like being alive and that I can breathe. Cádiz is surrounded by the sea from all sides and gives me the feeling of being close to the nature, which is very important to me, and my wellbeing.
Cádiz is beautiful and has soul. It is the oldest inhabited city in Western Europe, it’s more than 3000 years old. It has “little Havana” as its nickname, because some parts of it, look like the Malecon in Havana, and for those who know Cádiz, will probably agree with me, that it’s very charming. Cádiz has an old and new city part. The old town is the part with the old history. It has small and narrow streets, and a lot of things to notice when walking around. If you come by, I will give you a guided tour.
The new city part looks more like a place you go on holiday, with its higher buildings from the 60’ies/70ies along the 4 km stretch of beach. It might not sound so charming, but I actually feel that there is a good vibe there too. You can see a picture of it in my last blog post. There is a promenade that you can walk on along the beach, all the way to the end of the new part. There are restaurants, traditional and fashionable, restaurants on the beach and people hang out, skate, walk their dogs, read a book etc. That’s one of the things that I like so much about Spain, that people are a lot more outside in the streets that they are inside the houses, because of the many days and hours of sun, also in winter. They are also just very social people. That’s the opposite to Denmark, where in winter, you hide inside the houses because it’s just too cold to bother to go out, and most of the time you hang out with friends and family at home.
SINCE LAST TIME
It all went very fast, from taking the decision till I moved to Cádiz. But that’s usually what happens. Ones I’ve taken a decision, it has to be now and not yesterday. So, I quit my job in Sevilla. My boss was luckily very understanding, since she wasn’t able to give me more hours. But I didn’t find a job in Cádiz before moving here, which was my plan. The unemployment rate here is 45% or even more, and it’s out of tourist season, so what to do? Well, I’m lucky to have a savings, and with that, I don’t have to feel too much pressure. Because of that, I wanted to increase my opportunities to get a good job, so I’ve decided to go back to school. So now I’m doing a 5-week intensive English teacher training course, to improve my teaching skills, and see where this might take me. My Spanish is still not good enough to work in the social field, and the Spanish people are hungry about learning English, so there are good job opportunities in the right time. Or I can work as a tourist guide, once the tourist season starts. I have trust, that if I’m supposed to live here, I will find work. Actually, when I was here last time, I had a job interview at a restaurant, and they called me two weeks ago to offer me a job, but now I’ve started on the teacher training course and payed for that. I started Monday last week and it’s really exciting already but also super intense, because we have more than 7 hours classes every day from Monday to Thursday, spread out from 9:15 to 19:00. Then we still have to do teacher preparation and assignments after class or in the weekends. But it’s fun and very giving and the little team of 6 people that we are, is great, we also go out for drinks sometimes, when we have a little time to breath. After finishing my master’s, I swore that I wouldn’t study again, but I’ve realized that I might be a “never ending” student, because I just love learning new things.
There has been a big development in my life when it comes to going to school and learning situations. For me, the learning situations used to be connected to traumas and low self-esteem. I didn’t feel good enough in school, and I was also being bullied in primary school, which didn’t help. But through my eight years of working as a social worker and discovering that I was really good at my job, plus going back to school and studying a 2-year master’s in social work and finishing with even better results than I could have imagined, has helped me work through those traumas. Facing my fears and going through them, is the best medicine for me. I’ve become somehow addicted to do things that scares me and provokes those traumas, because I have experienced the treasures there are, by doing that, and that’s more lightness and freedom in my life. Okay, I admit, I’m not ready to face the big spiders yet, or when you go snorkeling and look under the water and the bottom of the sea suddenly just disappears into complete darkness. That’s so scary.
I’ve been in Cádiz more than four weeks already now. The first week, I lived at a friend’s house, and he helped to find the place where I’m staying now, where I moved in on the 1st of January. I stay two minutes’ walk from my school, which is perfect, for when we have lunch siesta during the day.
But it’s not a place that I want to live anymore. The landlord, that I’m living with, and I, just have too different ways of living, and he is complaining about the way that I live. That I cook too much. That I can’t read his mind about how he wants me to do things around the house, so he thinks that I do everything wrongly, and he will tell me. It’s just so tiering and stressful. And then he also forgot to tell me that he smokes hash every day, in his room, which you can smell in my room and in the rest of the flat too. It’s just too much and I didn’t see that coming, because he was just very nice the day, I say the flat. It felt so right to move in. Two days later, he started his complaints. One thing that I’ve learned from moving around so much the last almost two years, is that I’m not going to please people and make myself smaller, just to avoid conflicts. Of course, we need to be flexible and spacious while living more people together, but we all have boundaries and have to be able to be our selves. I moved in with this new lesson that I’ve learned, and I’m proud to say, that I almost made it, not pleasing others. The landlord reminds me of someone in my life (for ethical reasons, I’m not going to mention who) that I have issues with, and living with the landlord, made me realize how far I have become, in terms of landing in myself and letting go of feeling like a victim. I’m very happy with that discovery. And living with him, made me even stronger, even though we will only live together for a short while. Yes, it will be short, because last Sunday, I managed to find an apartment where I can live by myself. No one commenting on my way of living, yay!! I’ve wanted to find a place for myself, and also where I can have friends and family visiting and staying for some time, without bothering others.
I found the place by hanging up notes, saying that I’m looking for a place to stay and with my picture on it, on lamp posts in Cádiz. Already the next day, I got a call from a lady about a flat in the new part of the city. She lives in Madrid and the place is empty, accept for when she comes to visit her parents in Cádiz. Last Sunday I went and saw it and met the lady and it’s perfect. The lady is so lovely, and we ended up talking for almost three hours. It’s more expensive of course, but it will be worth the money, because I will feel freer and I love living by myself. The flat will be mine for the next 5 months, with the possibility of extending the lease. The reason the lady called me, was because I wrote on the poster that I’m Danish, and she said that the Scandinavians have a good reputation and good values. How lucky can one be. It turned out that she had been married to a Swedish speaking Finish guy and the she also speaks Swedish.
After being in Cádiz for more than four weeks, I already feel like my batteries are being charged again. I’m convinced that it’s because I’m being close to water all the time, because it’s supposedly charging the ions in our bodies, but also just because I feel good about being in Cádiz. Accept from my living situation now and moving around, but it’s apparently just a part of my journey. I have accepted it now, and I look forward to living on my own from next Saturday.
One of the first things I did moving here to Cádiz, was to buy a bike, a great used one I found online. Cádiz is a narrow long city, around 6 km long, and having a bike, can bring me to the beach in the new town in no time and this is a place where I like to hang out.
Making new friends is in process. My third day here, just before new year, I went on a hike in the Natural Park of Grazalema, about an hour and a half from Cádiz, with a big group of people. I know a nice American woman, Julie, here in Cádiz, because I helped her to transport her suitcases from Madrid to Cádiz in the end of September. She wrote and asked for help in a Facebook group, while I was in Madrid. When I was in Cádiz in the beginning of December, Julie and I met up several times. She met a Spanish couple from Cádiz, when she went to Morocco in December and they invited her to join them for this hike and she invited me to come too. On this hike I met some lovely native people, and the next day Julie held a small party where they came, and New Year’s Eve we were again at Julies place. The 1st of January two of the guys and one of the women that I’ve met, helped me move from my friend’s house to the place where I stay now, and after the move we hung out the whole day at one of the guys place outside of Cádiz. It felt like a great way to start the new year. I thought it would be difficult to meet and make friends with native people from Cádiz (called gaditanos), because it’s usually easier to connect with other foreigners, but I find the gaditanos to be really open and friendly, a lot more than the people from Seville, and I would love to make friends with Spanish people, in order to get closer to the culture here. I really want to integrate and not just move here because of the weather, and not really know anything about the place, people or language where I live.
SPEAKING OF THE WEATHER
Are you curious about how the weather is here now? People tend to think that the weather in Spain during winter is just like a summer day in north of Europe. Well, if you sit in the direct sun between 12 and 17, you might get a nice spring or early summer day, and you can where sneakers and a long sleeve. But once you are in the shade, and in morning time and after the sun goes down, you need a warm jacket and shoes, gloves, and to cover your ears. In Denmark, you would just go inside the nicely heated and warm house when it’s cold, but that’s just not a reality here. The houses are colder inside than outside, especially during the day. So, when there is sun, I prefer to sit outside rather than inside. I’m freezing inside. My feet are cold, I need to wear long woolen underwear under my clothes. Why don’t you just turn on the heat, you think. Well, in many houses there isn’t anything to turn on. There isn’t any build-in-heaters or floor heat. Nope. They have to use electric radiators or gas heaters, that smell of gas, and especially the electric ones take forever to heat up and are very expensive to use. So, you just have to suck it up and wear all your clothes. And the Cádiz area is known for having a humid wind, that just doesn’t leave you with any mercy, and it goes through marrow and bones. Okay okay, I’m not gonna die, and there are just so many sunshine hours and days with blue sky, that it equalizes the cold, and the winter doesn’t last that long. I’m very happy to be here.