We're two months into our Spanish adventure and wow, what a two months! It's one of those times where you can't believe how much you've done in such a short space of time. We've found an apartment that we love. We have made new friends. We are progressing our business and learning more Spanish every day. Katie has been hard at work teaching English. I have begun the 360° content creation journey. I also drove back to the UK to gather up our belongings. It has been a whirlwind of activities and fun with little time for reflection… until now.
I've realised how enjoyable it is to wake up and have control of my schedule. I can begin the day by studying Spanish for an hour, doing some exercise, or by writing a blog post. I am then busy planning and organising the business, pushing that forward one step at a time. It is work but it doesn’t feel like work when you are passionate about it. It's not a feeling I had when working for a multi-national, with results that seemed inconsequential. I'm happy to be spending 70+ hours a week on the business. It doesn’t feel a grind because it is what I want to be doing. It's also in my control, which I think is a major part of it.
I’m enjoying my job teaching, which I am doing for 10-15 hours a week at the moment. I have four one-to-one classes, one class with a lady and her aunt, and one group class of four ladies. I have fun teaching all of them and it seems to be going well. Three of my private classes are with siblings – Carmen is nine, and her brothers, Pablo and Quique, are 13 and 16.They are really smart children, and we seem to be getting along well. Carmen and I have done some baking and played basketball and I played Ticket to Ride with Quique this week. Pablo took me to buy some firecrackers the other day, which I was too scared to throw when we took them to the park!
I have a couple of hours of planning to do each week and very little contact with my boss unless I need her help with something, which she’s always available for. It’s pretty brilliant. I walk to and from work which gives me time to listen to Spanish learning podcasts and I’m getting to know the city quite well. I could do with working somewhere closer to 20 hours a week, so I’m going to start looking for more work but I’m really happy to have so much time to work with Dave on the various projects. And of course, we have more time for socialising, which is great because we’ve made some lovely new friends.
Anyway besides work and the rest, what do we think of Spain, and Valencia in particular? Well we love it. Valencia is a town built for cycling with gorgeous weather and great cycle lanes. We have been using the Valenbisi system, which is working very well much like the RioBike from our previous #RioLife. The cycle lanes are separated from cars and it's the way to go. I wish London would follow suit and keep growing the cycle lane network while also sorting out the air quality issue. Anyway Valencia has cycling covered and the fresh sea air is probably good for me!
There's no need to own a car in Valencia city, although it's useful to have one when exploring outside. Luckily rentals are cheap! If we had a car, I would be afraid to park mine in the city, not for any safety reasons, but for fear of them being splattered by dozens of oranges as they fall from the sky. By sky, I mean trees. They grow everywhere around the city, giving it an orange sticky glow.
They say the day an orange falls on your head is the day you become a Valencian. Actually they don't say that, I do. But they should say it. It hasn’t happened to me yet, but I reckon Isaac Newton would have discovered gravity a hell of a lot faster if oranges grew on trees in Cambridge.
A major delight of walking around the city is the street art. There's so much art everywhere and we look forward to exploring this to a greater depth and sharing the highlights with all our readers!
My closing comments are of optimism and gratitude. I am grateful to Katie for working so hard to support us and our new ventures. It wouldn’t be possible without her. I'm grateful for enjoying my new routine and learning so much every day, it's almost like I'm studying again. I'm optimistic for our future. As long as we have determination and learn from our mistakes, great things are around the corner. It's a hopeful time but I always carry an awareness that tragedy can strike at any time. I think this makes me appreciate these moments more.
I hope friends of old and new will stay in touch and let us know if we can help them. There is a place available to anyone if they fancy walking five flights of stairs to get to our apartment. I hope anyone still reading this knows that we appreciate their time and we'll continue to try our best not to waste it.
We'll be posting every Monday and Friday, so stay tuned!
Have a great day amigos!