So I’ve told lots of people that I used to live in Spain, but they don’t really know the full story. They say “Oh that’s cool!” and that’s pretty much the end of the conversation. And it was quite a big part of my life that I feel like sharing, because it’s personal, and to be honest Spain is my home away from home. I’ve never written about it before.
I lived in Spain in a tiny tiny village when I was 6 years old to 9 years old. Three years is a long time when you’re that young! I lived in this tiny village of 9 houses in the mountains. Seriously. There was a goat and sheep farm at the far end. I say far end, but it was literally like less than half a mile up the road. Everyone in the village was Spanish so I had no choice but to speak it. And they were all old like this one lady was ancient, she was wrinkly all over and she was about 90 at the time. My dad went back there a few years ago and she was still there. Go figure. It’s probably the Spanish sun. She always gave us fresh oranges and almonds. I’m talking 5 massive bags of almonds. She got the oranges from her orange trees – literally thousands, and when it rained and me, my brother and sister were playing out, we took shelter in her shed. She gave us oranges. I don’t know if the orange trees were all hers. There were two Antonios. Big Antonio who was obviously the larger one, though he didn’t know the nickname we gave him, and he lived at the other far end. And there was little Antonio. He had lots of cats. The village stank of goat poo, I’m not even kidding. The heat made it worse.
There was this English woman in our village who had two dogs. We had two cats, Suki (boy) and Mitsi (girl). Suki was mine and Mitsi was my sister’s. They were brother and sister. So anyway, the woman, Maurine’s dogs always kept coming into our house (no wall!) and they ate our cat’s food. She never stopped them. And my dad went back a few years ago and this woman stole our tiles and used them for her patio. Yeah, she didn’t think we’d be coming back, and I probably never will, but no-one in the village liked her. Like at all.
When my dad bought our accommodation, it was in ruins. I say accommodation because it wasn’t a house, it was literally an old farmhouse, with pretty much no roof, all walls were collapsed, and it was totally unlivable (we have hundreds of pictures). I was too young to remember, but my mum says that it was a tough first few weeks, and it took a toll on her. It was already planned that my dad would fix it up – he got cement and did the floors and bricks for the walls, tiles for the kitchen.. and we got furniture for the living room. It took ages, and it still wasn’t done by the time we left. It was in such bad shape that there were BATS. Actual bats flying around, and you should have SEEN the amount of daddy long-legs spiders in the bathroom, and behind the sofa. They all moved as one. It was like a heartbeat, and it made me sick. They covered the WHOLE WALL. Thinking back, we probably should never have lived there, in that house. And to be honest, Spain should not have let us live in those conditions. We had a small shed next to our house which was overgrown, and there was strangely a rotted bed in the small room, and there was a tree growing straight through another room in the shed. It was fairly unsafe.
Our house looked out over mountains. They weren’t mountains with lush green trees or grass. No. They were brown and dry. With a few shrubs. We also had one behind our house, which we occasionally climbed to see the amazing view. We could see one other village, also quite small, between two mountains. And there were plenty of bamboo trees down in the Rambla, which we used as horses (really long pathway between mountains, I think it was more than 10 miles long, and it went straight to the city if I remember correctly). Come on, we had overactive imaginations at that age.
I went to primary school in Almería, but because I didn’t know the language, I had to go down a school year. I was meant to be in year 2 like in England, but I went into year 1 in Spain. It just made sense. It was predominantly a Spanish school with a few English kids. And once I got used to the language and could use it pretty well, I would translate between the Spanish teachers and the English kids. It was small things like “she needs a pencil” or “he didn’t bring his book”, but it helped. I loved school, I really did. I hung around with mostly English kids, but I had a few Spanish friends. It’s strange to think that they’ll be in university now, or working. It was great because we got to leave school every day at about half 1 due to the heat.
Spain is my home away from home. I remember all the fiestas, and the churros and chocolate. And this one time I remember this guy had a MASSIVE paella dish. One time at a fiesta, it was night, and I spilt some chocolate from the churros and chocolate down my top, and a guy from school, Miguel who was in my year, called me a baby. And I’ve never forgiven him; he won’t even remember. We saw carnivals as well – lots of carnivals, and I loved all the colours and I just felt so happy. Spain has a special place in my heart.
I can remember so many memories from Spain, if anyone wants a part 2! Does anyone else have a favourite place? Or a home away from home? Let me know in the comments.