In this blog I will tell you a little more about myself and a part of my life that has been quite an experience. For all those who have moved from their home countries, you will know that it is a great experience, full of learning and anecdotes to tell, that is why I decided to write it in my book "A tale of two villages".
When I first moved to Spain on my own, I lived in a small village. This village is located in the province of Caceres, in the region of Extremadura, which happens to be the fifth largest region, but with the least density of population. In the village of Santiago Del Campo, I was the only English person, and one of only two foreigners, the other being a German lady who had married a Spaniard she had met in Germany. I found it difficult sometimes to understand the locals, as their accent was different and very often, they did not clearly pronounce the ends, nor even the beginnings of words. Some say the Andalusians are lazy when they talk, but I think the Extremeños are worse, but I shall not enter into an argument about it.
One day a lady stopped me and asked if I could help her with her English, as she had an exam coming up, which she had failed three times already. So, I started teaching her hoping, that it would help my Spanish as well. Word got around and I ended up teaching 3 people in my little village. I also taught a helicopter pilot for the “transporte aéreo médico” (medical air transport). He had been able to pass his flying exams in Spanish, but if he wanted to further his career he would have to know English, the universal language of air travel.
Having moved down to the province of Almeria, after a while I moved into the town of Vera. In order to converse I would sit at a bar, near a couple and engage them in conversation, usually asking them what tapa they were eating, even if I already knew. This way I helped my Spanish, made friends and felt less alone. One day, on entering the bar, the wife of a couple I had spoken with previously approached me and dragged me over to meet her daughter, and once again I was teaching English.
From Vera I moved to Garrucha and finally started improving my Spanish! I attended the free classes provided in the town, and joined a group called Intercambio. This group consists of English and Spanish speakers helping each other to learn the others language in an informal atmosphere with drinks and tapas. I made some friends in this group and we used to meet elsewhere once a week for a tapas lunch. One of these friends was a young Spaniard called José Antonio, who was going to move to the UK with a view to improving his English, for his career as a teacher. Before he left, I thought it would be nice to go for a menú del día, so 7 or 8 of us met in one of the local restaurants that do a very good 3 course meal, with a drink, for a very reasonable price. One of the friends commented that it was better having a meal than having tapas, so I suggested that we meet once a month.
That was about six years ago, and notwithstanding the two years out for COVID, and various other changes, such as originally it was only restaurants in Garrucha that we went to, but now we travel all over the local area, returning to favourites, and discovering new ones, our group is a happy mix of singles and couples enjoying the local cuisine in good company.
This path led me to have a nice group of friends, with whom I meet once a month to continue getting to know restaurants in the area, share experiences and have a good time. The villages that I refer to in the book, are the village where I lived in England, and the village in Caceres, hence the name of the book "A Tale of Two Villages”, even though in Spain I have had the opportunity to live in more than one, all of them has their own taste and charming.