23 May 2016

Hi everyone!

At the time of writing this, this will be nearly the end of my third day in Seville - so I thought it was about time to start writing my blog, as I promised I would. It's nothing too serious, just something to give everyone an insight into how my year abroad is going.

So I left Liverpool airport at 6 am on Wednesday the 24th September, heading to a city that I've never visited to teach English in a school as a language assistant. Not very much worth talking about happened until I arrived in Malaga airport. From Malaga airport I had to take the train into the bigger, main station in Malaga and get a connecting train to Seville. I found the station and my train without much of an issue - buying my ticket was when my Spanish was first tested. I went up to the counter and asked the man if he spoke English, to which he replied no. So I bought my ticket in Spanish and he told me where to go etc. then he started laughing and said "But you can speak very good Spanish". It's amazing how much confidence a little comment like that gives you but as I approached my train I had a big smile on my face.

The Spanish trains put English trains to shame also. It makes Merseyrail look like a joke of the train world. Actually, no, Northern Rail. With their stupid purple, dirty trains. Mr Northern Rail should pop over to Spain to see how it should be done! These trains were immaculately clean, and bright white (not stupid purple) and very very organised and efficient. It left precisely on the minute and arrived at Sevilla San Bernado precisely when it should have. It also had little monitors all over the place, telling me where I was in Spain, next stations and other information such as the speed and weather and things. All in all, it wasn't a bad 2 and half hours!

At 13:06 (precisely) I arrived in Seville. The person who looks after me at the instituto where I will be working had arranged to meet me at the station to show me around and make sure I could find my hostel okay. Yes, I am staying in a hostel - but it's actually incredible! Nicer than some hotels! For starters I have to scan my finger to get into my room! There is a movie lounge which is basically a room filled with huge sofas and cushions and it’s just generally really nice! Anyway, I was met by Santiago at the train station who showed me to the hostel. Santiago cannot speak any English at all, so this was one very awkward journey, it was only 5 minutes! It was also the first time I had heard the Andalusian accent, or Andaluz. It's completely different to any Spanish I've heard before and very hard to understand. I think he realised by the blank stare on my face that I was having trouble understanding him, so he said he would try to speak castellano with me - which made it slightly easier.. but not that much. There is a phrase that they use here to describe andaluz which is "Los andaluces se comen las palabras" which means "Andalucians eat words" - most of the key sounds in Spanish are just.. not there. You kind of have to guess. I find it very difficult. But apparently if you can understand Andalucian Spanish then every other Spanish accent is easy!

Santiago showed me to the hostel and asked if I wanted to meet up with the other English teachers at the instituto, so I of course agreed and he said he would meet me at 8. I think between about 4 o'clock and 7:30 I just slept.

8 o'clock came and I walked with Santiago for around 10 minutes, I thought we were going to the school to meet the others but no.. he took me to a bar! So we went into the oldest bar in Seville, a tiny 17th Century place (with original flooring!) and he bought me a beer. The others arrived and I think there were 7 of us, they were all incredibly nice and very very welcoming. But they refused to speak English to me, which is good.. but also threw me in at the deep end a little bit. I haven't properly spoken Spanish in a while so to be talking to 6 other people at the same time about myself and where I'm from etc etc, is a daunting task.

You can read more about David's first few days in Seville here or browse his year abroad blog.