I have arrived in Valencia!
The beach is beautiful, the sun is bright and I don’t think I’ve ever been so warm in my life. I’m currently in Cullera, a small town near Valencia, with my soon-to-be housemate Alex. I’m staying with her and her family and so far, it has been incredible. You can’t imagine how lucky I have been to end up in contact with Alex.
I had every intention of travelling alone to Spain, staying in a hostel and then trying to find somewhere to live. However, over the summer, whilst working in a hotel, one of the managers (and also one of my ex-Spanish teachers) told me that his niece was looking for another girl to share the flat she had rented in Valencia. I couldn’t believe my luck; Alex is the same age as me and is going to be studying minutes away from where I have my law lectures. So, on the 20th of August I left my parents at East Midlands Airport and began a much easier journey than the one I planned when I booked my flight.
Alex lives is Cullera, a small town that is a short distance from Valencia. Her Uncle invited me to stay at her family house for two days but, as they didn’t want me to be alone in the flat, I have been invited to stay until my course starts.
After being picked up from the airport by Alex and her parents, we went straight to her house. They only have two bedrooms, Alex’s and her parents, and after knowing Alex for only a few hours I ended my first night sleeping beside her in her double bed.
Alex speaks some English but we only speak in Spanish, apart from the occasional word when I’m struggling with something and she knows the translation. I think we’re going to be excellent friends and I’m glad she’s so friendly and chatty. By day four we had done almost all I had dreamed of doing, we’d shopped, been to the beach and even visited a pool in a complex where one of her friends lives.
I am very, very thankful to Alex and her parents for allowing me to stay with them. Above all, Alex has been excellent in letting me tag along with her whenever she goes somewhere. Her family have been amazing. They’ve paid for my meals when I’ve been invited to eat out with them, they’ve cooked for me, and have made such an amazing effort to make me feel welcome and help me improve my Spanish.
Quite a few of Alex’s friends have asked me what I like most about Cullera and I stand by the answer I first gave when someone asked me the question; the family-orientated culture that the town possess is incredible. Alex’s family all have houses within 5 minutes of each other and without warning the randomly agree to meet somewhere for breakfast within the next ten minutes. Everyone, from Alex’s great grandma to her nephew all meet if they’re available and just spend time talking to each other. As a guest in their house, I’ve always been invited to join them and have loved feeling like an extra cousin in this wonderful family.
A year abroad comes with many new experiences but also many challenges. It’s been an interesting week with lots of changes but I’m definitely enjoying everything Valencia has offered me so far!