Two weeks does not seem like a lot of time to most people. However, I'm sure you will all know that when you move to a completely new place where you do not know anybody this can seem like a lifetime. I have certainly found that the last two weeks has seemed like a very long time but not because I have not been enjoying my time in Sevilla. It is because I have had an awful lot of things to think about whilst getting used to a new job, a new culture and making new friends. So I will now tell you all about the larger challenges that I have faced since I arrived here and how I have managed to overcome them.
The first major challenge that I have faced during the last couple of weeks and that has been tougher than ever is the language barrier. I have noticed that adapting to speaking the language has been much harder here than it was when I arrived in France last summer. However, I am not going to get angry at myself for this as I have only been learning Spanish for two academic years whereas I have been studying French for 10 years. So.....I guess you can see the difference now :)
You might think that the natural way to react to struggling to form sentences on the spot and therefore communicating with people would lead me to freak out which to be honest, it did during the first couple of days. However, as the days went on I began to see the funny side of it but also began to feel a great sense of motivation to improve my knowledge of this language! Therefore, every time I run into a situation where I can't think of a word that I need to use (which seems to be every day at the moment), I see it as something that I need to learn rather than thinking that I am stupid so I go back to my room or my office, look up the word on word reference, and add it to a vocabulary table that I have been making throughout my year abroad so far. This may seem a bit strange but it is actually really helping me learn new and important vocabulary as well as keeping a positive attitude towards my learning rather than feeling like I am failing. Because of this it has become an addiction now as I can't seem to keep away from my vocab table :)
In addition to linguistic survival, I have also had a very tough start in some ways as I came to Spain without any accommodation organised. The reason that I decided to do this was because I wanted to be able to see where I would be living and meet the people that I would be living with before signing a contract. Now you may think that this was probably a very stressful and horrible experience (which it has been at some points) but on the whole I have again seen the benefits that it has brought with it. This is because I am constantly being forced to speak Spanish when eating out, viewing flats, and communicating with hotel and hostel staff. It is week 3 in Spain now and I am still living this way of life but I am pleased to announce that I have managed to find somewhere to live and am signing the contract as we speak so I will be moving into my permanent room next week! I am now in my third room since I arrived but will luckily be staying in this one as it is in the perfect location and is very comfortable and peaceful. So it is not all that bad!
So on top of all of these challenges that I have been facing each day, I am also really happy because I have met some wonderful people and really found a nice circle of new friends here in Spain! It is lovely because they are from lots of different countries so we are all learning about different cultures as well as sharing something that we have in common which is living and working abroad. I also traveled to the city of Cadiz on the south coast of Spain this last Saturday which was lovely as I got to explore the ancient city as well as strolling along the seafront in the warm sunshine and eating Tapas whilst being serenaded with live Flamenco music!
Overall, I would like to end off this post by telling you how pleased I am with how the first couple of weeks in Spain has been. I am enjoying my job, working with lovely people, and have a buzzing social life so I am very excited about the next few months and what they will bring! I am going to finish for now but please do take a look at the photos of my trip to Cadiz on the 'Photos-Sevilla/Andalucia' page of the blog.