Gatwick's newly refurbished South Terminal departure lounge: 6.45am aka silly o'clock. I prioritise spending 45 minutes staring at the board over shopping - my zombie-like morning self can do little else. I spend the two hour and twenty minute flight sandwiched between two fairly burly guys doing all I can not to snuggle on to one of their shoulders during my plane nap.
Arriving at Seville airport, I am waved through security (my passport didn't leave my hand!) and find myself, bags in hand, in arrivals with no idea who is collecting me or from where - the epitome of Spanish organisation! I find myself scanning the expectant faces of those waiting - what if both parties are standing in arrivals, not knowing what the other looks like? I send the mandatory: 'I've arrived, I have a pink bag with flowers on it' text and see who gets out their phone but no one does. Turns out she's running late and we've landed 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
My boss Eva arrives and spends the car journey chatting away. I reply in nods, ahems and occasionally in an completely indecipherable Russian/Spanish hybrid language. Guess all those months in the Motherland paid off.
We arrive at a white wash chalet in Valencina de la Concepcion (8km from Seville) and I haul my suitcase (spot on the 20 kilo limit) inside. Eva shows me my room and bathroom and invites me to unpack - I happily oblige.
Surprisingly, a week later it still looks fairly similar...those who know me will tell you that either I'm lying or some kind of miracle has occurred. I can assure you its the latter!
Almost as soon as my suitcase was stowed away in the wardrobe, I was taken out for a tapas lunch in nearby Gines. El Tinterillo de Gines is something to be seen indeed. A sun drenched patio surrounded by orange trees, the chatter of families and couples alike sharing the days news and suddenly out from the restaurant doors pour waiters laden with plates flogging their wares like market traders, shouting what delights are coming from the kitchen. You have to be pretty quick with your shouted replies as dishes are snapped up pretty quickly.
Credit: restaurant facebook page
The blogger in me was itching to get out the camera but politeness told me that it wasn't the time. Look out for a future post on this unique restaurant...
With my first day drawing to a close, I wondered how I would find the week ahead. Filled with new faces, new places and new experiences.
On Sunday, I received my timetable, a stack of Cambridge course books and the page numbers covered thus far - away I went to plan Monday's lessons. Getting thrown in at the deep end much? Not that I don't have experience enough to handle it... :)
The week in general has been a blur of little faces looking up at me, getting lost in and under piles of files and teachers books and getting a taster of what la vida andaluz is going to be like for little old me.
I guess I could get used to lunches in the sun and this little guy greeting me when I open my window in the morning.
Until next time!