My little blog is two years old today. I’m quite proud of myself for sticking with it for this long and I have to say, I have been enjoying it more than ever over the last few months. I have definitely gotten over the pressure that I used to put on myself to publish a post as often as I physically could, and now I write about things I love, things I am interested in and, if I don’t have something to write about, I won’t write and I also won’t feel guilty about it.
That being said, today I do actually have something to write about. So, here are five things that I had never done before I started my year abroad. Enjoy!
1. Gotten on a plane alone.
As someone who used to detest airports, flying and pretty much everything to do with that kind of travelling, this was a big one for me. Within the first four weeks of my year abroad, I flew solo from Jerez to Barcelona to meet up with some friends (I wrote about that trip here if you’re interested) and I was, of course, absolutely fine.
I have flown by myself a few times since, and it gets easier every single time. I’ve found now that I somewhat prefer flying by myself, because I can move at my own pace, and then sit on the plane with my noise-cancelling headphones and not speak to anyone for a little while.
I flew from home back to Spain alone yesterday, and on Friday I am off again on a flight to Valencia for a catch-up with some friends. Before my year abroad this would have been unthinkable for me, because I wholeheartedly relied on whoever I was travelling with to get me through the airport and onto the plane, while I internally freaked out about the amount of noise and people all over the place. Now, though, it’s no problem.
2. Taken a bus by myself.
This one is very similar to No.1, except I honestly cannot remember the first time that I got on a bus by myself, I just know that it will have been within the first couple of weeks of moving here. I know this will seem pretty ridiculous to some people, but I rarely got buses at all in the UK, and whenever I did it was always with someone else who took that particular route regularly, or who could figure out which stop we needed with me.
Living in a tiny town, our main mode of transport if we want to go anywhere is a bus. They’re not always on time, but they are surprisingly comfortable and I kind of feel like now I have tackled the long distance buses in Andalucía, I could definitely go solo on the ones back home. Sometimes it’s the little things that can really boost your confidence, and this is one of those times.
3. Run in the mountains.
I won’t lie to you, I have not been on very many runs since moving to Spain. And the ones that I have been on have been full of pain (running uphill is really hard, especially when everywhere at home is so flat), very heavy breathing, but also some gorgeous views which made it all worth it. If I was fitter, I am sure that I would absolutely love running in the mountains around here (here being La Sierra de Cádiz), but I’m not. So, whilst it is definitely a first that I have accomplished since starting my year abroad, I’m not sure it is something I will be continuing. We will see!
4. Organised ‘life admin’ on my own.
Now I have done the little things, like applying for student finance or for a new passport, on my own before. But the ‘life admin’ (I’m not sure what else to call it) that I have had to do since moving to Spain has been so much more complicated, not only because it has all been in my second language, and difficult. When we first arrived there was the issue of getting our Numero de Identidad Extranjero (foreign identity number), which took FOREVER.
We made so many phone calls to try and book an appointment, went to the wrong police station, and then went to the right police station but after it had closed, before we managed to get it right. Stressful does not do it justice.
But, we did it. And now I feel confident that I could tackle any kind of ‘life admin’ that the UK might throw at me. Bring it on.
5. Played the hostess.
One thing that I have discovered about myself this year, is that I love playing the hostess. I love having people stay, I love cooking for people, and I love showing them around the town we are living in. I have of course had people stay over at home before, and friends stayed with me in the student house in Birmingham last year, too. But because there is only two of us in the house this year, and we have a lot of extra space to house guests, it feels a little bit more real and I am loving it.
I am sure I could list so many more things that I have done for the first time since starting my year abroad, but I will leave you with these five for now. As small as these things may seem to someone else, to me they are things to be proud of.