A year ago, I left Manila with a one way ticket to Barcelona, 2 cabin-sized suitcases and exhilarating anticipation. Today marked my first year of being a guiri *foreigner* in España, my guiri-versary! It’s been one helluva year! I had to deal with a lot of ‘firsts’ in my life – first time to be in a Spanish-speaking country, live abroad, rent an apartment, move in with a boy, etc. The logistical part of the transition wasn’t easy. I had to face a lot of bureaucratic obstacles and incompetent funcionarios *government employees* and everything in a language I was still feeling self-conscious speaking. The emotional part wasn’t a walk in the park either. I’ve had my fair share of crying fits and homesickness. But, it got easier. Everyday it got a little bit easier.
There’s something about being in cities with canals that sends me to unadulterated nostalgic bliss even though I’ve never been there before. Now that I’m indefinitely living in Europe, I plan to take advantage of my stay here to visit as much of them as possible. And if there’s one city that exemplifies the concept of canal cities, it’s definitely Venice. The moment I set foot on its islands, I was smitten right away. Every corner was postcard-perfect. As if it wasn’t beautiful enough, the turquoise canals and the labyrinth streets were in their prime in early spring. It’s a major tourist hotspot all year round but at this time of the year, we beat most of the crowds.
It’s summer right now so school’s out. That means vegging out, binge-watching series and unlimited siesta. It’s also my 9th monthsary of living here in Spain, my second home. Once every three months, I overshare about my life here abroad. So if you’re curious how much I’ve been sucking/succeeding at adulting, read on.
Nothing says SPRING quite like Córdoba in May. Everything screamed ‘springtime’, from the battle of the patios to ubiquitous flower-laden crosses to hare krishna-inspired shrines. Plus, the fact that the whole month is booked for flower power-themed festivals. Thanks to last month’s labor day weekend, we got the perfect chance to visit this lovely Andalusian city in all its blooming glory.
Florence is known as the birthplace of Renaissance and it is often considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was unfortunate that we could only stay here for 24 hours. I don’t particularly fancy having only one day in a city but we had to prioritize Rome and Venice. We could have easily skipped Florence and visit it some other time but it was begging to be seen, explored.
I remember this time last year, I received my carta de nombramiento for the Auxiliares de Conversación program. I was so excited because I wanted to live in Spain more than anything. I started emailing the school, did my research about the town, and even stalked my director in Facebook. HAHA. It was all exciting and romantic until you realize there’s loads of things you need to do to get your new life started.