Here to stay
Competa, May 2006
The other day I realised that my diary, written from late 2002 to early 2005, was still there on the BBC languages website. Having re-read the last couple of entries I thought it might be una buena idea, a good idea, to add an update, just so you know I'm still here in spite of earlier doubts about how long I would stay.
Support from friends and family
I have been lucky enough to be supported by some great friends here as well as by friends and family in the UK, many of whom have been out to visit. There have been times, especially on the bad days, when I've seriously considered moving back to Bristol but I know that would not solve anything. Here I have the luxury of unas vistas preciosas, a beautiful view, un buen tiempo, good weather, and above all a busy social life during the day as well as in the evenings. It may not be the right place para siempre, for ever, and sometimes I do struggle with the claustrophobia of small town life. I try not to look too far ahead, just to the next visitors or the next plan to improve la casa y el jardín, the house and garden. After that who knows.
Three part-time jobs
In February last year I was hoping to find some work to keep me occupied. Well now I have three part-time jobs and am generally pretty busy. My main work is with a local web-based agencia inmobiliaria, estate agency. The boss Denise and I go out together to take the details of las nuevas propiedades inmobiliarias, properties, and then I write a description for the website. I really enjoy this as it helps me get to know the area, meet more people and occasionally practise my Spanish. As an added bonus, Denise and I get on really well and we make sure we fit in regular coffee and lunch breaks.
I also do some administrative work for a nearby country hotel that specialises in walking holidays. There couldn't be a more beautiful drive to work or more peaceful setting once I arrive. As I drive I often remember to compare it to my traffic bound commute in Bristol and feel very privileged to be here.
The third job is the weirdest but is actually more of a hobby. I mentioned in last year's update that Fred had started a band here in the village. This had involved us investing in a decent sound system which I initially thought I would need to sell. However I have started offering my services as a DJ and have amassed a range of mainly 60s and 70s music and put on discos for friends and at various local venues. I would never have imagined myself doing such a thing but it's muy divertido, great fun.
Progress in cracking the language
As far as learning the language is concerned I think I'm beginning to make progress at last. For the first year or so after Fred died I didn't make any effort but since Christmas I've been having private weekly conversation lessons and I love it. I have enough grounding in grammar to get by but realised I lacked confidence to speak. Charlamos un poco, we chat a little, for an hour and learn some grammar along the way when necessary. It's done wonders for my confidence and although my Spanish is still basic I feel able to cope with most situations and no longer have to translate from English to Spanish in my head before I speak.
My companions at home are dos bonitos gatos, two beautiful cats - a ginger male and a black female who is ready to give birth any day now. I wasn't sure how old she was and by the time I took her to the vet it was too late. I'm just sorry I'll have to leave the kittens in the care of friends when I go to Seattle to visit my son and his family next month. I already have offers of homes for them and no doubt I'll be tempted to keep one.
So that's how my life is going nearly two years after it was turned upside down so unexpectedly. Progress is slow and often unpredictable but I am getting stronger as time passes and even feel happy some of the time. Again I'd like to thank all the people who have taken the time to send messages of support via the website - I am touched by them all. Thank you.
Sent by: Sue