Out of the comfort zone

As we hurtle through the first month of 2019 I find myself reflecting on how much life has changed for us as a family, and for me personally. In the absence of friends and family we have had to navigate our way through a whole new process of socialising and integrating. It’s all part of the adventure and essential for our survival and sanity, and we’re having fun along the way, but it’s like being back on the dating scene.

Since we came back to Spain, after our Christmas return to the UK, Lizzy has started school full time. Thankfully she has completely taken it in her stride, and is extremely happy there, making friends and being occupied all day. Having completed her first three weeks there have been no complaints or tears, so it’s a huge relief that she has settled in so well.

First day at Caxton College – shiny shoes at the ready

With Selena and Lizzy both occupied all week I have enjoyed exploring the city, familiarising myself with the transport systems, and taking lazy lunches! There are many places locally that offer a daily set menu for around 8 euros, consisting of three courses with bread, drink and coffee included so it’s only right that I should try and find the best one so that I can point guests in the right direction!


Other than that the priority has been to really try and push on with the Spanish language, as although we are improving, it is a slow process and confidence often takes a blow. Selena has her two classes a week at work and has found a colleague who wants to improve her English, so they meet at lunchtimes to communicate and help each other.

I have had to take steps to progress as well, as books, apps and YouTube videos can only take me so far. They are all useful resources, along with Spanish radio etc, but we both need more conversation. To that end I have signed up for a language exchange programme where you try and find others in a similar position, who would like to improve their English.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and received a few offers, one of which involved meeting a lady in the city. Selena was dubious, but off I went and waited uncomfortably at the agreed spot for my date. Sure enough she arrived and we introduced ourselves and ended up having lunch together in the sun!

Strange days indeed. Needless to say her English was near perfect so I’m not sure what she was hoping to gain from the meeting, and we haven’t seen each other since!

Another request to communicate was from a male who wanted a Skype conversation. Again I was wary and uncomfortable about the whole thing, half expecting to be greeted by a naked body when the video call began, but it turned out to be a very nice man who happens to be a Policeman in southern Spain!

So new friends and contacts are developing here, in a variety of ways, with the school providing more opportunities as we have also met with parents of children that Lizzy is friendly with. All of this is helping with our Spanish and our integration.

Before too long the temperatures will rise and a busy year of visitors and travelling will ensue. These days, during the cold evenings, we remember the luxurious feeling of carpet underfoot and central heating. Thankfully the sun still shines though, so I’m heading out into the warm outdoors for a bite to eat!

Lizzy and I both had birthdays this month – my treat was a great paella followed by a boat trip on the Albufera lake.

A new bike for birthday number four
Sunset is the best time for a boat trip on the Albufera



8 thoughts on “Out of the comfort zone

  1. Always a pleasure to read and great pics as well. What a star Elizabeth is – you must be so proud of her! Can’t wait to see you all again in April xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done Ads, you’ve certainly moved out there with eyes wide open so not too many shocks and surprises I guess(apart from the beurocracy of course). Not sure I’ve spelled that right, correction, correctly😁. I’m guessing that Lizzy is going to master Spanish before the grown ups? X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your daughter is getting to look more like your Mother as she was at that age when I first knew her. It’s great to hear about all your doing. The triumphs and the downfalls. You are all very brave. The pull of Cornwall has always been too great for me!! All the best for 2019. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Elinor, yes I see the same similarities! Being able to sit in the warm sun in a t-shirt at this moment reassures me that we’ve done the right thing. All the best to you too.


  4. So pleased Lizzy is loving her new school life. She was very ready for school wasn’t she. You are all doing so well with learning the language. Just keep doing as you are and before you know it you’ll be bilingual x

    Liked by 1 person

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