Monday 9 July 2007

Work, silly drinks and Saddam Hussein

As you may or may not have figured out, my life pretty much consists of work at the moment and the occasional shopping spree or trip to the internet café. I am now starting my third week straight without a day off and it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I realised this will not go on forever. As for the week after this one, I will have 2 days off every week! How great isn’t that? But I am a bit afraid it will make me less good at my job..

It has started to become increasingly busy now in the pub. A lot of ‘holiday-makers’ are coming in ordering this and that – many strange things. If someone says ‘don’t you know that?’ when I ask them about a drink they’ve ordered I will just say ‘No, I don’t, ‘cause I am from Sweden and we drink civilised drinks there’. ;-)

Oh and I meant to tell you all that Saddam Hussein doesn’t seem to be dead. He keeps on coming in for half pints close to closing time more or less every day. Alert the media, alert the world! ;-)

It is apparently possible to check the results from Valla online so I will do that at some point. Keep your fingers crossed. Talking about the university there; remember the literature course I took there? Well, I am half way through one of them books we were supposed to read. Better late than never, right? ;-)

So I guess that’s all for now.
Hasta luego!

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Life goes on

Life in Torrevieja has started to become routine. We still haven’t been touristing or found shops in the city centre. But the ceiling in my bedroom has started to leak (and stopped as we found the reason for it), we’ve encountered our first (hopefully the last) cockroach (monster!) in the apartment, Fiona fell into the sea and I have realised that people drink very strange drinks. Jolita, who is working in a restaurant where basically only men work, have been asked out by every single one of them. Fiona and I saw “L’auberge espagnol” (Pot luck), a movie about being Erasmus, and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t corresponding to our experiences. I have realised I miss Sweden and started to get more and more annoyed with Spanish people – the truth is that I can’t wait to come home to a civilised country where people are normal and where things get done quickly, not left undone with the excuse “well, it’s after 14 and it’s Friday”. P-lease! But I am still enjoying the hot weather when it isn’t too warm and spending too much money on clothes that I will have problems bringing home… Oh well. It will all work out, somehow.

Tuesday 26 June 2007

Drafting pints of beer as if I’d never done anything else...

Since last time a lot of things have happened. First Jolita started working in a restaurant with the main responsibility for the ice creams, and then I started working in an English bar last Friday. And Fiona joined us here in Torrevieja. I have watched a lot of educational tv-shows on SVT and spent all my free time on the balcony where I can see the sea. Who would have thought this a few weeks ago?

So yeah, one week and a little more has passed by here in Torrevieja and both me and Jolita have jobs. It is rather funny really, the fact that she, who has a lot of experience in bars, is working with ice cream, and me, who has been working with smoothies – almost ice cream – is working in a bar… Oh well, I gotta learn properly sometime. And isn’t an English bar a good place to start?

My boss is English and apart from her I am working with her daughter and a Chilean guy. It has been going all right so far. I think I can become relatively good at the job. Most of the customers are English, some are Irish and very few Spanish. There are a lot of regulars that I am supposed to talk to. I don’t know, I guess I am more Swedish than I thought, doing small talk with people I have nothing in common with is not one of my strengths. I can be polite and nice in a normal way but I am not too good at talking about nothing and feel I don’t know these people good enough to start telling them my life story. The worst thing is that the regulars have all been introduced to me and remember my name while I am completely confused as to which English lady is Dolly and which English man is John…

It’s fun though and on Saturday one man asked me how my second day was and then continued to ask how long in fact I had been in Torrevieja. When I replied one week today, he said "and already you’re drafting a pint like you’ve never been doing anything else!". That was nice. Otherwise Saturday evening was hell. I was working first a couple of hours in the afternoon and then from 18-03. I came home with so much pain in so many places on my body that I exhausted stumbled into bed and decided that I was going to sleep many, many hours. Normally the bar isn’t open that late, but we don’t close until people go… Welcome to Spain – you’ll never get thrown out of a bar here!

Apart from working I’ve spent a huge amount of my first wages on a shopping spree and is spending a lot of my time at home on the balcony. Even late at night it is nice to sit out there and just enjoy the still rather warm evening.

I’ll be back soon with more information.
Hasta luego!

Monday 18 June 2007


I am writing this on my laptop in my new apartment, in my new city – Torrevieja, but as there is no internet in the apartment to either steal or pay for I will be blogging it from an internet café most definitely.

These last few days have been an emotional roller coaster, going from leaving Valladolid and saying goodbye to the last few people, to going to somewhere we don’t know (we didn’t even know where to stay, but that worked out just fine). At this moment things are on the right track. We got to stay in my relatives’ flat, but first in Vaida’s new home village – Daya – where we arrived on Thursday evening.

But first thing is first. Wednesday. The day was spent packing, cleaning and talking to one of my last remaining friends there, Gabo. And of course finished with a last (?) visit to the bar of mine and Jolita’s choice; the Dublin Bay. That was where most of the things started and that is where we ended.

Then came Thursday and the time to leave. We brought ourselves and our in total 8 bags to the bus station and off we were. We arrived in Alicante 20.30-ish and were picked up by Vaida, her boyfriend Angel and a friend of his, and off we were (once again) to a small pueblo (village) called Daya (where there are only three streets) where we had a place to stay at for the weekend before going to Torrevieja, where we are to live and find a job (hopefully). The funniest thing was when Angel just picked up the 3 heavy bags and carried them as though they weighed nothing…

As we arrived in Daya it was time for dinner (cenar) and so the grill was out on the street and Vaida says to Angel “on the street, no?”, “claro”. It turned out that “on the street” truly means on the street. We set up a table and there we were drinking beer and eating grilled “ratas con un poquito cucarachas” right then and there on the street. Friends of Angel and Vaida came and went, some brought beer others just drank some. We stumbled into bed around 1 totally exhausted from the travel, emotions and heat (it was still very warm in the evening).

Vaida said it is only Spanish from no on, I said of course. I really need to get into my Spanish. I do know quite a bit, understand rather well and the speaking is becoming better as well. That is why blogging in English may be more difficult, but challenges are what keeps us going, right?

They speak a completely different Spanish here, well, maybe not completely different, but a rather different accent. It’s kind of like Aino’s “baby-Spanish”. They say ‘maomeno’ instead of masomenos, ‘do’ instead of dos, ‘tre’ instead of tres, ‘etoy’ instead of estoy, ‘epañia’ instead of españia and so on. We’re happy we were in Valladolid in the beginning to learn the ‘proper’ Spanish, but will probably be influenced by the people here after we have gotten used to it.

On the Friday we went to the one bar in Daya with internet access. We actually went there twice as we needed to check about the apartment in Torrevieja. We really felt how we were ‘extranjeros’ (foreigners) as we were more interested in the internet than in drinking beer and talking to people… We also went to the ‘piscina’ (swimming pool) of Daya – so nice! In the evening we had dinner in Vaida’s bar with some of Angel’s friends. It was cool, but my head got so tired towards the end as I was speaking and listening to only Spanish. After dinner I spoke to Valladolid and it turns out it has been raining since we left – Valladolid is crying because we left! ;-)

Saturday was a crazy day. It started 10.15 with Vaida coming into our room and saying that we will leave for Torrevieja in 45 minutes. It was just to wake up, pack and get ready and then after some additional waiting time we left for the agency in Torrevieja where we were to get keys to the apartment. The only problem was that there wasn’t anybody in the office. I called the number I had and got a hold of a guy who worked there – Swedish one – and after some time he came and after some additional time I had the keys in my possession.

As we had no idea really where the apartment was except for the address we took a taxi and suddenly stood in front of a 12 floor apartment building with a pool, gates and balconies. We took the lift up with our 8 bags and found our way to a 2 bedroom apartment definitely up to Swedish standard. We went to the Hiper Todo Todo around the corner to buy some basic food and imagine my surprise and delight when I found loads of Swedish food in there! We’re talking Swedish brands and Swedish lingonsylt (lingonberry jam), even Swedish Bob saft! I think I will like it here I said to Jolita as she ran around the shop in search of anything Lithuanian (she didn’t find anything).

After unpacking and relaxing on our balcony we had dinner and then eventually went for a walk to the beach (which is about 10 minutes walk away…). Found several Irish bars, restaurants with menus in Swedish and eventually a small shop with Russian food. This place is hilarious! Oh yeah, I almost got a job before I even had a chance to look for it… But am not sure how it will work out…

Yesterday I met I think 3 different Swedish families just in this house. The whole “I am here so I can learn and speak better Spanish” – idea is being questioned already. Oh well.

Apart from that we found the beach and laid down for a bit with the result that the two of us are red now in several places on our bodies… Shit happens. And fucking hell Real Madrid scored the goal in the league – what a shit! But vale, next year for Barca and this year for MFF...

As we don’t have internet in our new apartment, don’t expect quick answers. I will do my best to find a nearby internet café but am not sure how lucky I will be on that front as there are mainly apartment buildings and villas around here…
Hasta luego!

Friday 15 June 2007

and the adventure has begun...

Just a quick note saying that Jolita and I now are in a small village near Alicante visiting Vaida before going to Torrevieja Sunday or Monday. All is good except the heat which almost kills you... But here you have dinner on the actual street outside your house and drink beer until it starts to get less warm.

Will be back soon with more information...
Hasta Luego!

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Goodbye Valladolid, hello new adventure!

In the middle of packing and cleaning and throwing away I thought it might be a good idea to write about my recently decided plans. Well, they’ve been kind of there for a long time now, but anyway… Tomorrow I am leaving Valladolid if everything goes according to plans. And I my never return again. (Well, one should never say never…) It is with some emotionality that I look back on this semester, it has been a few months of good times and good friends. The university was a bit of a disappointment as I’ve already mentioned, but the life here has been to say the very least, relaxing.

Sol left yesterday morning, a sad goodbye, but as I know we will meet again in September it was still ok. And tomorrow I’m off to new adventures. My first destination will be Alicante (as that’s where the bus goes to). It will be interesting to go and rediscover my childhood places around there. We’ve talked about Torrevieja, Benidorm or in fact staying in Alicante. At this very moment we do not know where we’re going to stay. Hopefully I will be back with some information about that. I am looking forward to going, but so much has to be done before leaving, and the fact that it will be supposedly 40 degrees or so in the shadow down there is scary. I am going with Jolita and Fiona will later join us after her exams. Neither of us are very used to that sort of heat, being from Sweden, Lithuania and Ireland. Oh well, give it a week or so and we will get used to it, or will we?

Keep your fingers crossed that everything will work out for us. If it won’t I guess some of you will see me sooner than you think. Now I’m off to say goodbye to some more friends and to the city that has been my home for these past few months.
Hasta luego!

Saturday 9 June 2007

the time has come and the goodbyes have started for real...

Since Monday and that rather interesting exam in ‘European integration’ we have mainly been studying for the next exam, writing silly paragraphs for the Dragon and drinking coffee. On Thursday we then wrote the literature exam which at least was in English although still a bit silly considering our teacher asked us to name books that we hadn’t read but which were written by the authors who wrote the books we were supposed to read. I say supposed because in reality we didn’t read much at all. It was a total of 7 books that we were supposed to read, and given our rather generous amount of free time here it shouldn’t have been a problem, but somehow we just didn’t. Anyway, the exam went ok, we think.

The Dragon still hasn’t told me I passed the scientific and technical English and today was the exam. I didn’t go. I was so annoyed that I decided that it was enough now. She can’t think for real that I will do even more work than everyone else. One thing if I do extra paragraphs because she is unable to admit her mistakes, but an exam or even to go there just to hear what are you doing here. No, I decided it was enough. I will try to get a hold of her on Monday and then play dumb.

Thursday evening Sabine, Sol, Jolita, Naomi and I went to the beach here in Valladolid (a constructed one by the canal…) to have a traditional Spanish Botallón. We had wine, beer and sambuca and sat on some benches enjoying the warm summer night. We had originally planned to go to some bars after, but we were all rather tired and decided that going home was the better alternative. On the way home I saw my first live cockroach here in Spain. It was on the street and truly disgusting.

Friday was an incredibly warm day. It was so warm that it was almost impossible to be in the sun for more than 5 minutes. In the shade about 30 degrees. Sol and I concluded that while some people go to saunas, we just stay in Valladolid… Later, after I had exploded with anger towards the Dragon it started raining and there was thunder and lightning and I found myself in the university with Jolita thinking how to get home in the best way, without getting completely wet.

And yesterday it started for real. The goodbyes. Last week we said goodbye to Vaida, but I will most probably see her rather soon anyway. Yesterday it was time for Sabine and Naomi to say byebye. It was a bit surreal the whole evening as we somehow ended up talking about wars, diseases, rapes, dictatorships and other less nice things. Then at one point Sabine and Naomi decided they wanted to sleep for a few hours before having to leave at a stupid hour today in the morning, so there were hugs and kisses and promises to keep in touch and repetition of memories and after a long goodbye they left and we were left with a funny feeling after the discussions on horrible things and having to say goodbye.

Jolita decided that we were to go out and got us all (Sol, Fiona and me) to get ready. After almost falling asleep in one bar we went to Lola – the one bar/club that we all really love and that we only found recently. They were playing reggae when we arrived and then moved on to house/lounge. There were several guys in striped t-shirts and us, as they were showing animal porn – animals ‘doing it’ - on the tv, we found ourselves wondering if we accidentally came there on gay night. We didn’t care, we just sat in the comfortable sofa beds and talked and drank until we decided it was time to sleep.

According to Fiona men are complicated in a simplistic way, Jolita has promised to take care of any future cockroaches for me, Naomi is happy that she’s going home, Sabine is hoping that she will get to see the Alhambra and Sol isn’t feeling the way she thought she would about going home. Me, I’m just happy that I soon won’t have to deal with neither silly classes nor silly teachers in Valladolid.

‘Til next time, hasta luego!