First impressions of Spain

I have been living in my new home exactly for a week now. The apartment was definitely a nice surprise for me. I have seen volunteers living in very bad conditions – old, smelly apartments. So I was mentally prepared for this and expected the worst. Fortunately, it was nothing like this. The apartment is in a new building, there is a lot of light, it is spacious and chan chan chan… we even have central heating! So, nothing to be worried about in winter (if it ever comes).

When I arrived to the apartment with our mentor, there was also the landlord here. She seemed to be a quite of a perfectionist. She walked us through each room and showed every single thing and explained how to clean it. At least we know now that we have to be super detailed when cleaning the apartment e.g. window/door jambs, curtains, closets from the inside, all drawers etc. She was definitely a few levels up from me.

What can I say about the Spanish people here? Well, it is true that they are super friendly, helpful and very open. Before reaching to Puertollano we fuelled our car at a nearby gas station. A guy came up to me and started asking where do I come from and that he could not speak English at all and then shared some other facts about his life. Then every time when I looked helpless on a street or at a shop, someone always turned to me and asked If I needed help.

There was also this nice thing which happened at a local swimming center (those who follow me on Instagram already know) – so I decided to go swimming, but of course, as an Estonian, I did not have any cash, but it was not possible to pay by card. So they said that it was okay, I could enter for free. And as it was my first time there, the guy from the reception came with me and showed me where to go, how everything works etc. Then I realised that as the lockers worked with 1-euro coin, I could not use it either, as I had no cash… I didn’t want to go and ask for a coin, I am not that open and talkative, moreover, I already felt embarrassed enough as I got in for free and now I was supposed to go and ask for money. Fortunately, there was a woman in the woman’s changing room and I asked her. She just smiled and gave me 1€ as if it was the most normal thing to do. This story doesn’t come to an end yet, as when I went swimming, a lifeguard showed up with swimming hats and asked to put it on… My first reaction was no, I never wear this. Then he said it was mandatory and I was like okay, then of course I will wear it. He then asked if I go back some other day, and when I said yes, he gave the hat to me as a gift.. I was shocked, I didn’t know how to react to this kind of kindness from a total stranger. 😂

It is also totally normal that the people say “hola” to you on the streets or when you see a neighbour from across the street balcony singing and playing quitar with his daugter then you clap along and have a little chat (shouting from across the street).

The first couple of days when I arrived here, it was super hot outside. And by this I mean that the temperature reached 38 degrees. Usually when you go on a vacation for a week or two, you will do anything to enjoy the sun and get tanned as fast as possible, because you know that this will end and you will go back to Estonia and there will be no sun for another 10 months. But here it is different, as the sun and heat is out there all the time, you are not leaving. I stayed inside with the air conditioner and waited for the evening, so that I could go out and do something. I have been also checking the weather forecast to see if it gets colder any time soon (by colder I mean 28-30 degrees). Actually just today the temperature dropped down to 24 degrees and for the first time here I felt so cold. But the autumn is not here yet, as next month it will still be around 30 degrees.

I have already experienced the Spanish kind of relaxation and taking things easy, not worrying, not hurrying. The classes have not started yet, a few days ago we went to school for a tour and to meet the teachers. Everyone were super nice and friendly and I think I kissed about 30 persons. We have been also asking about the classes, but it is all about chilling now and on Monday (the 9th) there is a bank holiday, so everything is closed and still no work for us. It is actually funny that you have to keep the Sundays and holidays in mind as on these days everything is closed and you need to do the grocery shopping beforehand. I went shopping on Saturday and the supermarket was almost out of food. There was no meat, no vegetables and fruits, so next time I will do the shopping even earlier.

Is there something I am not happy about? Yes! Puertollano’s streets are quite dirty. For a person who comes from Estonia where the streets are clean and littering is super impolite, this kind of behaviour makes no sense to me. Furthermore, it is for example totally normal that you walk into a bar and the whole floor is covered with checks and other trash and people just walk on it. By the end of the day it will be cleaned, but wouldn’t it be easier to throw it into a trash can right away?

Coming here by car has really given us a chance to take these spontaneous trips. I went to Málaga for my birthday, and I must say, I loved it! Need to go back. Then the other day we visited our mentor’s hometown Valdepeñas which is a small town as Puertollano, but very beautiful. I also had the churros with chocolate for the first time now here in Spain and then we visited our mentor’s parents’ home and they were the nicest people. They cooked this huge paella and we were treated like guests of honour. This Spanish hospitality is just something special.

At the moment I am living with temporary flatmates. There is another Estonian girl who is staying here for a week. She did the same thing I am going to do, so it was really nice to meet her face to face and ask about everything. Then there is also a young guy from Poland who will also move out in a week. On Monday (the 16th) two new people will move in – one guy from the USA and a girl from France.

This post was not supposed to come before the post about the road trip. The thing is that I want to make this nice short video about us driving here from Estonia. But I have been struggling with the suitable video editing software as they are not free and then they add this stupid watermark and then I had to convert all videos from our road trip as I discovered that my phone was capturing them in 4K resolution and my computer is not able to play that. So converting them into a lower resolution took me almost a week and then I realised that my computer’s hard drive is almost full, hence the computer is super slow and that makes video editing almost impossible. As there are now holidays I have not been able to buy an external hard drive and all of this has been super annoying for me as this was not the plan. I hate it when things don’t work properly.

I need to go to sleep now as it is 1 am at night and we are going to Toledo tomorrow! ❤️ Sleep tight!

One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *