Perseverance

That warm and exciting feeling when Team GB wins a medal. That gasp of admiration as a person or team exceeds all expectations. That sigh of wonder as we appreciate the extreme difficulty of what’s occurred before our eyes…

Nevertheless, us ‘mortals’ cannot quite grasp exactly what it has taken the person or team to get there.

To be the best of the best requires not only talent, support and hard work, but an incredible psychological strength known as perseverance.

Perseverance is what I’ve lacked recently in keeping this blog up to date.

Perseverance is what many Spanish people lack when they say that learning English will always be their “asignatura pendiente” (pending subject).

Perseverance is what we all lack when we give up something we’ve begun.

So what is it really? Perseverance is like a blind faith in yourself and your desired outcome. It’s an optimistic vision, a risky investment, and above all a time-consuming habit.

Often, we may not see the results we crave for a long, long time.  We must then, turn our hard work into a routine; part of our daily lives.

“But I’m so busy!!” you cry.

This a question of priorities. What is really important to you? What are you truly prepared to sacrifice other things for?

There are only 24 hours in a day, and only so many things you can take on at once. You must choose.

Some of these are life choices, such as becoming an athlete. Usually parents make these decisions for their child, but at some point the child must choose.

Without clear priorities, perseverance is doomed. Without perseverance our goals and objectives are condemned.

I suggest that our priorities should be based on the things we love; the things that ultimately bring us pleasure, even if they occasionally bring us pain.

Do you really think that the Olympic competitors just like what they do? Or do you think it’s their absolute passion?

I believe that we should all find our passion and persevere. Not necessarily for the medals, money and fame, but for the simple, mere pleasure of doing it.

Reasons to miss the UK

This post is dedicated to one of my best friends, Noah, who has recently accused me of being “the least patriotic person” he knows…

The Greenery! It’s lush, it’s fresh, it’s beautiful. The English countryside is a pure delight. You somehow feel like there’s always a cow watching over you…

British banter! Otherwise known as a sarcastic exchange of loving insults. It’s never quite the same in another country. 😦

The Pubs! The atmosphere of a local English pub is unique. Pub food, beer, pool, music, and if you’re lucky, a nice pub garden to sit out and drink Pimms in. 🙂

Fresh milk! Ooh yes, it’s nothing, I mean nothing, like the carton stuff. A cup of tea’s never the same abroad. Talking of that:

The Tea solution! No matter how bad it gets, it can always be solved – or at least made better – with a ‘nice cuppa tea’…

Customer Service! In the UK the customer is ALWAYS right. (Well nearly always…)

The Seasons! Those “falling autumn leaves” and “swaying daffodils” primary school poems will always hold a special place in my heart…

Walking in the rain with no umbrella! In Spain I just get called loca :S

London! Enough said.

Family and Friends! Get out the violins, because they’re what I miss most about the UK, hands down.

If you can think of anymore, please add to the list :).

Let’s open a Tapas Bar in London!

With top quality, authentic Spanish food. Not these frozen tapas you get in La Tasca (the Spanish MacDonald’s, according to my friend)…

British people do love a bit of Spain.“Oooh! I just love some Tapas!” cry the people who come to visit me.

I understand. The idea of ‘lots of different bits’ of food to share is very appealing and novel to us Brits.

Yet, some ideas the Spaniards have about British alimentation are funny. Talking about the Tapas Bar. My friends: “We’ll have to take Olive Oil with us, you can’t buy it in England”. Me: “Of course you can!!”

My friends: “Pero aceite de OLIVA?? Most British people cook with butter, and if not they use vegetable oil!!” At my university we all cooked with olive oil – a couple of quid from Tesco :).

Tapas

Another classic: “And of course, we’ll serve cold beer! Nada de esa cerveza caliente!” Me: “We don’t drink warm beer, you’re getting confused with Germany. If our beer’s warm it’s because we drink pints, and once you get half-way through”…

I laughed and suggested that perhaps we should concentrate on the food.

That was when we realized… none of us are actually capable of producing “Top quality, authentic Spanish food”. No pasa nada. We’ll learn ;).

El tiempo vuela…like a Ryanair plane? Let’s hope not!

“Dee de le dee de dee de deee. You’ve arrived at another on-time flight”. YES, we’re alive. Everyone claps. Just a few more minutes until we can escape the dirty, bright yellow seats, and the claustrophobia of a typical ryanair (‘reeyanair’ at Sevilla airport…) ‘experience’…

The Spaniards talk loudly about llegando a casita, la comida de mamá y el frío que hace en Inglaterra, whilst the English mutter quietly about tapas, sangría and ‘getting a tan’.

Both are relieved to arrive, forgetting that nearly a WHOLE day has been lost travelling¡¡Qué ganas de llegar!! It’s a day that’s frequently ‘gone’ for us ‘guiris’ and for Spaniards who live abroad.

But when we wish time away it flies faster than a plane from London to Sevilla. In Spain there’s always something to ‘look forward to’. In the next few months: Semana Santa, La Fería de Sevilla, later el horario intensivo… It is great, however, it often gives me the sense that el tiempo vuela.

In England this year, it will be the same: Easter, the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics… Every time I hop on to a plane, it’ll be close to some sort of fecha importante…

So, the next time I am on a flight, I am going to take a deep breath and not wish it away. I am going to try to appreciate every single day for what it is, and not always looking forward to ‘the next thing’. It is an enormous challenge, but I would really like to think that time CAN be a beautiful, galloping horse, and not, as it sometimes becomes, a tacky, accelerated ryanair plane…

Ufff ¡qué frío hace! ¿Estarás acostumbrada, no?

Every time it’s ‘cold’ in Sevilla, I know that at least one person will tell me that I am used to the cold as I am from a cold country. Sometimes I smile and nod as a polite English girl would, and I say, “Pues la verdad es que si”…. The majority of the time I screech “¡Estoy en España porque no me gusta el frío!” I suffer in the cold. My hands turn red-blue-purple, I turn antipática; I am more ‘friolera’ than most Spanish people I know. And I miss some good-old English central-heating. Yet, through the cold chill shines a crisp sun that  reminds me daily of why I am here. Darkness makes me a little sad; the Spanish are very privileged with their glorious climate. So, next time someone tells me I’m acostumbrada al frío, I will say “¡Noooo! Estoy enganchada al sol.”

Hoy he hecho ‘footing’… ¡Mira como sé unas palabritas en inglés!

Footing is a tranquilo run. It comes from the word ‘feet’, the parts of the body that touch the ground while you bounce (or drag yourself) along. ¿Tiene sentido, no? No. The English word is in fact ‘Jogging’… To ‘lose your footing’ means to lose your balance. For example: “Dave lost his footing when he was jogging…. and he fell flat on his face.”

Espanglis

Espanglis is a vision for those who sit in ‘no man’s land’. An espanglis person can be a guiri who has tasted the forbidden fruits of Spain (sol, playa, tapas, alegría…) or a fan del inglés who sees the promise of the cultura anglosajona. The two need each other at that half-way point. The guiri needs to feel needed and integrated in Spain and the fan del inglés needs the contact with his or her ‘other side’.

Even those 100% convinced of the superiority of lo español are being ‘forced’ to speak English. And you can’t speak a language convincingly without at least empathizing with its culture…

Espanglis is both a comparison of two cultures and a celebration of a hybrid culture in its own right. Now… ¡Vamos a la calle!