Sometimes, small changes make a big difference. Sometimes, no change can be a good thing too. Let’s hope so anyway, because right now I’m kinda going nowhere.
The past weeks have been a little hectic and a little uncertain… with some minor hiccups and stress factors, that lead to number of broken glasses/burnt saucepans/keys-locked-inside-the-house type incidents, and the feeling that nothing was working out right… but nor was anything actually wrong. House hunting, work, exams, money, petty arguments, bureaucracy, failing technology… these are all normal challenges, that normal, mature people deal with all the time.
A nine month winter, and a sadistic, irrational, trumpet-playing housemate, are not.
No pasa nada, all that has passed.
I’m not sure if it’s luck, or patience, or just the way of the world, but suddenly everything has taken a turn for the better. The sun has literally, finally come out*. I passed my Spanish exams, finished work at the high school, and received (officially) my work placement for the coming course. My job is thankfully secure, and my visa is on its way. By Tuesday, I’ll be a legal resident again. And I’ve even got a new phone, that’s capable of making calls!
But best of all, in recent news, I’ve found the perfect studio apartment.
Perfect – ish. It doesn’t have a kitchen. Or a washing machine. Or a couch. But it does have a gorgeous view of old Segovia and the back of some endearingly crumbled flats, where storks rest on the chimney tops and make curious beak-clicking sounds. The apartment itself is actually a done-up attic. That means the walls are impractically slanty and the space was not exactly designed for living in. But it’s clean and mould-free (mould is a problem in these parts), and who needs a real kitchen when you have a fridge, microwave and hotplate in a (slanty) cupboard? I’m developing a system for washing dishes in the (unfortunately benchless and drawless) bathroom, and can just move the hotplate to the windowsill whenever I cook fish. I’m yet to tackle the laundry situation, but the landlady (who is awesome) has ordered me a washing machine and perhaps I can last without washing clothes until it gets here (I’m not too sure when this will be). How wonderfully romantically bohemian. I might have to crank the gin back up to absinthe, or cut off my ear or something, just to complete the picture.
In terms of the usual moving-house drama, this has been the easiest yet. After weeks of scouring advertisements (when I should have been studying) and visiting some depressingly over-priced and under-ventilated one-bedroom ‘apartments’, I’d pretty much decided to risk the share house experience again, despite the horrible backfiring of my most recent experiment. Then, last Saturday I saw the ad for this flat in a local newsletter. I inspected it on Sunday and picked up the keys on Monday. Thanks to having finished work, my old flat being paid up until July, and only needing to relocate about 100 meters, the rest of the move was completed at a leisurely pace, on foot, using supermarket green bags. I spent a small fortune on bits ‘n pieces, both essential (such as Spanish scrabble, pot plants, and fancy cushions) and non-essential (such as cleaning products and cutlery). I’ve got to say, I’m pretty chuffed with the transformation.
Best of all however, is the peace. That doesn’t mean silence, quite the contrary. There’s a moderate level of background noise; birds, traffic, and people moving around (and talking nicely to each other) in the surrounding flats, and the little girls on the ground floor are learning violin (they’ve got a way to go, but I’m happy to hear anything that’s not trumpet). By “peace” I really mean “escape from the unhealthily tense/toxic atmosphere” of my previous flat. It’s so nice to have my own space again. I’m aware that by living alone I run the risk of converting into an antisocial hermit with a tic for every mania, or worse, forgetting how to speak Spanish… but the truth is that now I can be more social, host dinner parties (if everyone brings a chair), talk more Spanish (to the storks or my plants, who will surely make comparatively animated company), and I dunno, relax, sleep better. It’s been nice being able to read without having to wear noise cancelling headphones.
So what was I saying at the beginning of this post? Something about going nowhere. Little moves and big changes. Well yes. I had planned to be travelling around about now, but that got waylaid by the unforseen expense of moving. Never mind, it’s not like I’m missing out on travel (I’ve done a fair bit recently, and there’s more planned for later this summer).
So for the moment, I’m stuck quite happily in Segovia, for much of the school holidays and next year as well. I’ve decided to keep working at the same high school, but make a few changes to my evening schedule. Less private students and no Spanish classes will hopefully mean more time for writing and/or translating. And perhaps just doing nothing in particular.
Having time out at home is bliss.
*It was actually colder in Spain at the start of June than it was in Melbourne, where it’s winter! The weather has been so weird that there’s talk of Spaniards going north for summer – future generations will soon be buying vacation packages to sunbathe in the Ukraine.