Its the girl from the north who is living in the south. So below, I have wrote about my first month in Ronda and some of my experiences, focusing on 5 different aspects. If visit Ronda is into your plans, enjoy!
The language, seems like a good place to start seen as though that’s why i’m here. When I first arrived, I was seriously questioning what I had spent the last 2 years learning; what I was hearing was like a whole different language to Spanish and everyone was talking so fast! Gladly though, my ears tuned in to the southern Andalusian accent, and I could start to understand (phew!). Initially, my replies were limited to 3 words; ‘Vale, bien’ and ’si’ and when my brain wasn’t switched on, ‘¿que?’ was used a lot but, I like to think that I conveyed so much more with these essential pieces of Spanish vocabulary. Secretly, I really hope that I will be speaking with an Andalusian twang when I leave Ronda. All that being said, my classes at Entrelenguas are really helping, even now, only a month in, I can see the progress I’ve made, and the length of my replies are starting to increase!
‘You’re going to the south of Spain? Take your suncream!’ Is what I was constantly told by family and friends before coming to southern Spain, and I believed them. I thought, like many that I would arrive off the plane to that warm, welcoming breeze and that my main problem would be choosing which ice cream flavour I wanted and that will be absolutely true…in June. Or July. I forgot that Spain has a winter too just like most European countries. I’ve experienced every type of weather since arriving here in Ronda…sun, snow, sleet, wind, thunder, lightning, rain, you name it, we’ve had it. Who would have thought it! Even though it’s not what I expected and I was definitely not prepared for it (my summer dresses are waiting for their moment of glory in my wardrobe) I have to say I am enjoying it, this weather reminds me of England and I get to see Ronda through many different perspectives. Lucy and I got ourselves prepared by buying hot water bottles, fleece cardigans and most importantly a kettle, because, lets face it, we’re English and we like our tea to keep us happy and warm on those crisp Spanish mornings.
I also want to give a shout out to the scenery here in Ronda. Coming from the north-east coast of England, I live very close to the sea and so this was a big change for me. I love my morning walk to work (minus the HUGE hill that tests my fitness daily) because I get to appreciate that gorgeous view. I am keen to explore the surrounding area of Ronda and so I have got myself a map and I am ready to go hiking.
Food and drink
Hello, my name is Holly and I am a foodie; one who eats food not for hunger but as a hobby. I’ll admit that im not a great chef; hey, i’m a student, what can I say? But after a four month stint in a French catering school, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in learning to cook. Visit Ronda and food is conected! What I am definitely good at is appreciating great tasting food. In fact, my first month in Ronda has been a month of firsts; my first real churros, Spanish hot chocolate (the white hot chocolate is exquisite), paella, tapas and the breakfast Bocadillas (ham, oil, tomatoes in a fresh toasted bun with coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all all down) safe to say that I need to find myself an exercise class and soon! Lucy and I have now decided to get a Spanish cook book, get stuck into the food culture and try cooking some tasty Spanish dishes whilst practising our Spanish at the same time, wish us luck!
People and dogs
I don’t know what you think the stereotype of Spanish people is but my stereotype was that they’re all flamenco crazy, friendly and like to drink coca-cola. The last two are true. I never imagined how friendly they would be though and since arriving, I have only had positive interactions with Spanish people. Whether that is the Entrelenguas team helping Lucy and I find somewhere to live, or meeting people in the street that I have met once and ending up going for tapas with them and their family, followed by drinks in the sun then sushi, they are so welcoming and willing to help you out which makes it a great environment for anyone to learn Spanish. I also have to mention the dogs, I love how many dogs there are when you visit Ronda. I also love that Entrelenguas is dog-friendly so I can have daily cuddles with all the doggies.
No traffic lights
This section is a combination of things I’ve seen or noticed since arriving in Ronda that I find unusual or different to my life in England. My first thing is the fact that there are no traffic lights when you visit Ronda, why is this? The roads are a network of right angles with the occasional roundabout, and police officer to direct traffic flow. How do people know when to stop and when to go? Is it one way? Also the magic rubbish swallowing bins. I am used to seeing big, green, foul smelling rubbish bins covering the streets so when I discovered these underground bin disposals that fit into the street without causing an eye-saw and swallow up your rubbish without leaving a trace, suffice to say, I am amazed by these bins. Finally, I have noticed that the sugar packets you get with a coffee are huge! In England, they are small, thin, and rectangular and when I really need that sugar boost, I may put 2 in my coffee but here in Spain I only need 1/4 of the sugar packet!
All in all, it has been an exciting first month for me in Ronda and I cannot wait for what is to come in the next few months!