Hope everyone is ready for it!
Obviously this is what I think i want at 25, and I've tried to be nonspecific and thing about the root of all my ideas and worries and what realy feel most strongly about with them. In other words at the moment I'm really interested in the Teach First program, but that may change and I know the core desire it's born out of is the fact that I love teacing but want a more steady job, a senior position in a tefl company that has enough work to hire me every year might end up fufilling the same need. I also want to have kids, and experience love but I'm not rulling out the idea of not getting married, or the idea of being a single mum. Those are not my ideals but they are not deal breakers either and of course some things may change completely, I may teach for three years and decide I don't want my own kids on top, I may decide to leave teaching to raise my own kids, etc...
but as part of my resolution to worry less I am listing these things so I can always say to myself "does this affect the things you really want? is it wort worrying about"
I also intend to create a list of everything no matter how minor or stupid, that i worry about and burn it...but I'm not sure if that's going to go up here or not. Finallly there's the possibility of one last rant on sense of place and sense of home to get things clear in my head before it gets added to the burn list and I try to take the next year as it comes.
I have a lot to do in September and reasonable things to worry about, and willl certainly fee bette when settled in Madri for the yer and working and earning again..idleness doesn't suit me, but I'm determinedto work on not worrying so much when I'm idle anyway.
So without further ado, the "what I think I want " list :P
Next Two /Three Years
A more permanent job,
To be settled in one location, wherever that is.
To have started querying one of my novels.
To have a dog
To have had a big proper romance (longer than previous dating and more intimate)
Next five years
To be settled if I haven't already for a good reason.
Meet Mr right and have my own place or be sharing with a boyfriend and not other people
Have a dog if it was impossible before
Next Ten Years
Own a house/flat
Have kids, (very much a preference for with a partner, not so great a preference for getting married, I’d like to but I’m not totally bothered…and it depends on where I end up, In the UK it’s cheaper to be married, in CH tax is a pain for married couples, it’s cheaper to be unmarried partners)
Have one novel published ideally, or start to look at self publishing if not.
In My Lifetime
See the giants causeway,
See Argentina, and preferably a little more of south America.
Make at least some small difference to the life of someone outside my family.
Get published/self published and have at least a small fan base
See as many cool places as possible.
Learn to worry less.
Keep dancing and singing and do more of these things because they make me happy
I'm 25 years old and I don't think I've ever had a sense of place. I always planned to leave Switzerland, even during the parts of my teens when I was relatively happy, but when I got to the UK I definitely felt like one of the international students, a little outside it all, never entirely British, always a bit of a half breed.
I was definitely happier in Brighton, I started to get bored towards the end of my time there, but things have changed a lot for everyone since I moved away. I didn't have any luck meeting guys who were really right for me there, which has made me a bit wary of moving back, but I had lots of friends and I liked being by the sea.
On the other hand it's no like I met loads of guys in the Basque country last year, far from it, and that was certainly too small to be home. I fell in Love with Madrid on a visit, but then I love London to visit, I have no idea how much like home it'll seem after a year.
But I'm lonely and home sick tonight and once again wondering how I can possibly be homesick when I don't actually know where home is for me.
I want one day a family so that I always know that home is with them, but I think I'm going to have to pick somewhere and make it work, I don't think I'll ever walk into a door and feel suddenly and completely at home...which would be so very nice.
I can enjoy myself as a foreigner, as a stranger in a strange land I had a lot of fun last year and I want to travel a bit more before I settle, but what I really really want is to find somewhere I feel I belong in the world. I miss people in Brighton and my sister, and I hope that my parents will soon be spending more time in the Uk, but I still love the continent. I just...it's so difficult to figure those things out. No one ever tells you life will be this hard when you're a kid.
And I want to love someone too, I feel like I love my friends and I love my parents, and I thought I loved some people once, but neither of those worked out and I'd like to love someone I hadn't already written off as impossible as some kind of subconscious defence mechanism, even better if they feel the same way, nevermind (yet) if it lasts. I'd like to love without fear.
I'm not much good at doing anything without fear.
Rendered amusingly in a "Cole porter protest song" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-M6x9be
Ok so the train from Sevilla to Barcelona is about 5 hours and not too arduous. Barcelona itself is rife with pickpockets, so the first thing I did when i got out of the train is make things as difficult as possible for them.
The first day I went to the hotel, dropped my stuff, and went straight to the beach. Then i treated myself to a nice meal in the evening.
Second day I wandered round looking for souvenirs for friends and familly, ate, then joined a walking tour at 4.30 and went round the old town, it was exhausting and informative. Ariskari will be intersted to know that I've found the reason the cathedral cloister has 13 white geese in it.
Barcelona is in what was once the independent kingdom of catalunia. It's two patron saints are St George (which is why the barcelona town flag has the catalunia flag and the "english" red cross on white background...actually st george's symbol I think...) and St Olalia (not sure of spelling.) We all know St George (or do we ? if not just ask) but St Olalia was canonised as another of those saints martyred by the persecution of the christians by rome. The romans subjected her to 13 tortures when she refused to renounce her faith, one for each year of her life. Then they crucified her. There are 13 geese to represent each torture, and they are geese because they are white and represent her purity...or because geese make fucking good guard dogs, take your pick :P
This morning I went on a Gaudi tour. He was a staunch catalunian nationalist whose made the city famous for his architecture...which is nutty, but wonderful and incorporates symbols of catalunia wherever possible, later his obsession changed from nationalism to religion and he incorporates christian imagery into a lot of his work. Some of his chimney's inspired the storm trooper helmets from Star Wars. A fascinating character,classic crazy genius figure, and really, really good architect.
The rest of the plan is as follows, today a nap, some more time at the beach and possibly a visit to the magic museum before dinner.
Tommorow check out, find somewhere to leave my bags at or near the station, and then head firt to casa batillo (one of gaudi's works) to see the inside (don't have money to do so today) and second to bike around the city seeng variety of parks and stuff, before eating and getting on thetrain hopefully having tired myself out lots so i can sleep on it. Tomorrow night at 19 I catch the train back to geneva, and while I've enjoyed my holiday I am covered in mosquito bites and absolutely exhausted so it'll be nice to go home.
Ok, so I took a taxi from the station to... right near the hostel where the street got too narrow and the taxi driver left me with a "it's first on the left love" (Spanish equivalent, of course). Although not as cool as Makuta Backpackers inn in Granada, Sevillainn is in a great location, right at the centre of the old town, with a roof terrace that looks out on the cathedral. I arrived at about 8, settled in and wandered out quite late to get food, giving me my first proper view of the city.
Which was just...wonderfully romantic, I wish I knew more about architecture to tell you what era it's all from, but all i can say is pretty pretty pretty. I found Taberna Los Coloniales on recommendation and it did not dissapoint, the food was cheap and very tasty and the portion sizes were generous. The place was absolutely packed, always a good recommendation! I had one of the local delicacies and another tapas (bite sized) dish...I realy needed two tapas or one medio, not one medio AND a tapas, but I saved the leftovers to cook at the hostel...and I MUST get the recipe for that sauce.
Seville is not the most touristy city, you can see the sights in a day, but i also wished I'd had longer to spend because the atmosphere was so lovely. I also wished i'd had more money to Spend, becaue they had horse drawn carriages andI really would have liked to tour the place in one.
So I wandered round the city, finding first the plaza d'espanya, more Spanish than spanish/arab it was still a really decadent building, rich people seemed to have loads of water fountains, probably as the ultimate status simple in hot dry andalusian"look we can afford to waste water." I then wandered through the park and down to the river. Along the river I saw " The gold tower" it's not gold in the slightest but I'm sure there's a story or three about the name. I walked past the bull ring up into town past the castle and into the cathedral, all of this before going back to the hostel for a siesta.
the afternoon was spent lazing on the roof terrace and exploring the town a little more, then I repacked my case for the last stage of my journey and early the next morning took the train to Barcelona
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from Cordoba, but it wasn't what I got at first impression. I suppose I was expecting more of the old world sleepy beauty of granada, where most of the buildings are old, and those in the centre are shiny and new...but carefully created to mirror the older architecture, with grandiose marble pavements and terracotta roofs.
Cordoba station leads quickly into the centre, which provides a shocking return to the real world with gleaming glass fronts and ten story business buildings. Plaza tendrilla is a fantastic place to grab a map from the information point and take stop, though if it's 37 degrees when you visit you may be tempted to walk into the water jets springing up from the ground, and I saw children doing just that. If you search a little harder you'll find that like granada they do a "buy a drink, get a tapas" deal for about 2.50 which is perfect for lunch, but there's no great street filled with the restaurants that do this as in Granada so you have to go looking for them.
The real must see in Cordoba is la mezquita, but there's enough to explore outside of that, and if you're looking for a base in Andalusia which is less of atourist trap then cordoba is a good bet, central for other places such as Seville and Granada.
From plaza tendrillas I walked away from the centre and into the style of buildings I am more familliar with, typical spanish architecture from 20 years ago, and eventually arrived at Plaza corredera. This is an interesting place, all the castilian northern Spanish towns have a square like this, bordered on all sides by covered archways with a wide open central courtyard and roads of each corner of the square. Though common in the north, this square is the only example of its kind in Andalusia. Following one of the roads out I went down to the river and crossed Puente de Miraflores. I followed the rather murky silt river down to the old roman bridge and stopped to watch the birds on nearby river islands and see the old windmills in the water. Break over I crossed the brige and came into view of La Mezquita itself.
TO BE CONTINUED
To start with my alarm didn'tgo off, I rushed to the station, tipped the taxi driver a fiver because I had no time to wait for change and managed to catch the train by the skin of my teeth. Perhaps this all should have been a sign.
When you first arrive in Granada the initial impression is "What? Is this it?" because the station is dusty and drab and generally not in keeping with the towns image of decadent and glorious ottoman empire past. (I think it was the ottoman empire anyway... the arabs anyway,).
As you make your way to the centre of town it all gets quite well heeled, very pretty, very Spanish, thoroughly european, cafés crowd the sidewalks, people sit under parasols and shelter from the heat and the whole place feels very lived in, like you'd never find it totally empty. Still nothing hugely remarkable yet..just pleasant.
The first change, the glimpse of what makes Granada GRANADA as oppose to just "Nice spanish city" is when you get to the Cathedral. The cathedral is grand and imposing in scale, but inside pretty typical of a building from that era and school of architecture, however it is a FINE example..and it's not cathedral itself but the square and maze of small streets nearby, all smelling absolutely gorgeous.
BEcause the area around the Cathedral seems dedicated to markets selling one of two things: Spices or Tea at not outrageous prices. There's mint, floral mixes, pur eh, and of course turkish. There's paprika and Saffron and Thyme, which beggars will try to sell you at prices that truly ARE outrageous.
The real change comes when you enter Albaracin "the old moorish quarter." It's the kind of place you expect to find in the Europe of other people's movies, tiny streets that double back on themselves, old cobble stones and steep inclines, hidden squares, shops selling morrocan imports and fillig the streets with the smell of not quite cured leather. You can go round a corner and suddenly find yourself face to face with a vista of the whole city laid out before you. Albaracin is gorgeous ...and horribly confusing. I got lost everytime I tried to find my hostel, which is smack bang in the middle of al this. Said hostel won "best atmosphere" on the booking site I tend to use, and I can see why. There's a treehouse in the garden, free breakfasts and cheap dinners, hammocks to lie in, a dozen hidey holes in the garden to shelter from the sun and read books in, a little oasis of "Chill winston" . There's a lascitude to SPain in general that seems to have been distilled in this one little garden, a kind of delicious laziness, a feeling that most things can inact wait till you've napped in the sun just a bit longer.
I'd like to be able to wax lyrical on the beauty of the Alhambra but All I can tell you is it looks gorgeous from the outside, as the ticket went the way of my wallet. I can also tell you not to wear backpacks in the jam packed tourist buses that get you up the steep hill to the ALhambra, they apparently make it easy for thieves. I can't talk about luxurious arab baths either, but I've still mostly enjoyed my time in Granada, and since I'll be living in Madrid next year and I have a good shot at being able to get a replacement ticket for a different date I shall probably return for a long weekend and book some more hammock time...
All in all Granada is many things, but boring isn't one of them. It's well worth a visit, but keep tight hold of your stuff and be on your guard. Also a nice firm "No" will take you far when dealing with obnoxious street vendors.
So much for relaxing for therest of the trio and celebrating without a care in the world, just had my wallet knicked right out of my baG while I was wearing it.
To the helpful couple who pointed outhey'd seen someone open my bag... Couldn't you maybe have said something befor said man got off the bus, or come to the police station with me to describe him?
I have no passport ( apparently I can still go home with the police report, so at least that's one thing sorted) I have no money, I have an English card I've suddenly realised I haven't used in soloing I've forgotten the pin and a booklet I can use at the Spanish banks without my now cancelled card... But only at th desk, and the banks don't open till Monday.... How the hell am I going to survive two days without money, I can't buy food and I'm expected to pay the hostel in Seville 2moro night up front. Once we hit Monday I can embrace the great British tradition of keep calm and carry on, but I'm not sure how to get to monday
Fuck shit bugger wank mope
Well that acronym feels appropriate right now, since I just lined up my job for September/October (they aren't quite sure when they want me from yet, but the important part is they want me). It's a good firm, bigger than the last one, about 40 people as opposed to 6, but still not crazy huge. It didn't feel quite as friendly as the first place did yesterday, but the location is better and near an area I've heard I should be able to afford. Salary is about the same...and most importantly they offer teacher training sessions and opportunities to keep improving, which I feel is really important this year now that I've mastered just staying alive in the classroom..now I want to get GOOD. Reckon they'd be happier if I stuck around long term but there's no min contract so If I hate it I can leave. Bad news if they hate me they can get rid of me, but hopefuly that won't happen and if it does I'll be set up in MAdrid which is chock full of freeland opportunities...that pay better than the contract stuff (Imma start with contract though because I prefer the security, and because you can often mix and match)
only downsie is they want to start me on 20 hours for the first two momths, which might not pay quite enough, but once I'm on the full time I should have plenty. The other school would have been me and my boss at the new branch so not much chance to make friends...plus they hadn't yet OFFERED me the position.
So anyway, important thing is I have a job, I can spend the whole summer chillin and not worrying, and my boss (one of them) sounds kinda like whoever played Truman Capote in "Capote".
MADRID NEXT YEAR HERE I COME
As to what else I've been up to.
Day 3: I headed down to Atocha Metro, and walked through Retiro park again, past the statue of the fallen angel, which is one of the few public statues of the devil in Europe...bank smack in the capital of one of Europe's most catholic countries...pretty interesting.
Having seen that I found the Thyssen foundation, and bought a ticket to their Hopper exhibition. There were several paintings I really liked so it was worth the money. However I had 15 minutes to kill before I was allowed in (so popular there were timeslots!) and the muffin and coke I had at their cafeteria was definitely NOT worth 8 euros. Not EVEN with the bloody view.
Took the metro to Goya, walked from Goya to Anton Martin via Lush and buying products I probably didn't need...but I really like their stuff.
CHilled at the hotel, then went out and found my first interview (The job I didn't accept) Had the interview with a very nice woman, and then went down to sol and foundsomewhere nice to eat before returning to the hotel. Also finally picked up a hat today, this was definitely a good move.
Went to interview early, spent the WHOLE morning in the interview, it was gruelling they really made me work for it, but this is one reason I'm taking them seriously. I was then told I had the job if I wanted it and to come back at 17.30 if I was still interested to sign some documents... So whilst waiting for this I had a cheapo lunch, wandered off to find the temple of Debod...an egyptian temple they just imported wholesale here (read: stole? probably.) It was...a lot smaller than I expected and I didn't see anyway inside. Boo. Then I went on a nice long walk through pretty parts of town, stopped for a drink and ambushed another solitary tourist because I wanted someone to talk to-.. and headed back to sign said papers.
I'm now off to the Jazz café I loved so much the first time round, to eat dinner there and listen to live music. Expecting it to be a lot quieter ona week night.
Tomorrow on to Grenada and the hostel there! Sharing with 5 other girls I don't know doesn't seem quite so bad after a whole week by myself and that's sort of what I was counting on at this point. Gonna have to be more careful with stuff obviously.
Hotel here was pretty nice, but I won't miss the lift up to the 8th floor, it's very old and very clunky...eek.