This was actually supposed to be written at the six month mark, but I got a bit lazy/having too much fun. I thought I would reflect on what I’ve learnt/experiences I’ve had since moving out of home.
1. Madrid is a relatively cheap place to live so I really can’t complain, but when everything is paid for at home it’s a bit of a shock suddenly having to pay for everything with a relatively low pay. Thankfully in Spain you can get pints of terrible beer for €1.50.
2. When I have a problem I am in fact the adult so I have to deal with it myself. Thankfully up until now it’s been pretty smooth sailing (touch wood). The only thing I would have to say is that everything happens slowly in Spain, especially the visa and visa renewal system, it’s an absolute nightmare.
3. Living in Europe there are so many amazing countries at my doorstep and travel is affordable. This summer I’ve already travelled to Singapore to see my family, then I’m off to Croatia with one of my best friends from home and to Greece at the end of the summer with another one of my best girls.
4. Sometimes things don’t go completely to plan… Due to the awful terrorist attack in Istanbul the other day, my amazing TopDeck tour around Turkey was cancelled, so now I’m going to Budapest, 3 amazing places in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Slovenia. I feel so sad for the people of Turkey that they have had this happen to them, but it may have been a blessing in disguise that my trip was cancelled.
5. Living as an expatriate in a very foreign country, when you make friends, you click very fast. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had in the last 9 months, and I’m very grateful for them. But the hard thing is saying goodbye, because generally people don’t stay forever.
6. Yes being born a native English speaker is awesome, but I wish I could speak more languages like my European friends, some of who can speak French, English, Spanish and Italian for example, some even more languages. I feel like New Zealanders should have to learn another language throughout school, like in Europe, it’s a such a useful skill to have.
7. On the topic of languages, I feel like I always knew that the best way to learn another language was to live in the country but it’s not as easy as that. My Spanish has improved so much, but it doesn’t come naturally, you have to put yourself out there and practice the language, it’s very easy to revert back to English, which I am very guilty of.
8. The most important thing I’ve learnt is to completely be myself, don’t have a care in the world what someone else thinks of you, if you don’t like someone don’t be friends with them and just take every opportunity that comes your way. I know that before I moved to Spain I was more conscious of what people would think, but I’ve left that behind and I act/do/think what I want.
I think I’ll leave it there, a list doesn’t always have to be ten.