Ten years later
I’ve just spent a week in Spain with the 3 girls I lived with on my year abroad - 10 years on! Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and (back in the earlier days) good old email, we’ve managed to keep in touch and keep our friendship going strong a decade later.
Things always work out for the best... eventually!
Our friendship came about completely by accident - or maybe it was fate. When I arrived in Spain with nothing but a suitcase, one of the teachers at my school (I was a language assistant) offered me her sofa to sleep on for the first few days. I was in a rush to move out – I felt like I was imposing on her and her family. So I took the first flat I found. But it wasn’t for me. The lady I lived with was much older, working full time and had a huge dog that ruled the roost! I was looking for people my own age, fellow students: a readymade social life. So I bought a local newspaper and a pay-as-you-go Spanish mobile phone, and that’s when I first spoke to Carmen. I booked a slot to view the room in the apartment she shared with her sister Luisa and their childhood friend, Encarna, and the rest is history! Which just goes to show that if things don’t work out perfectly the first time round, there’s probably a reason for it: something much better is waiting around the corner!
Friends for life
10 years on, we have just had a great week split between Murcia (where we lived together in our shared flat) and Benijofar (where Carmen now lives with her husband and 3 year old son). We spent the days enjoying the lovely weather by the pool and the evenings enjoying great food, reminiscing and catching up. The best part of the whole week was going back to Carmen and Luisa’s parents’ house for a huge family Sunday lunch.
My Spanish family was such a strong support network for me while I lived in Spain – I’m not sure if I recognised that at the time but I certainly do now. The friendships you make on your year abroad can definitely last a lifetime – they’re built at a time when your friends become your family, and they’re another great reason to keep your language skills up long after you’ve finished studying. I’m determined to go back to Spain to visit Carmen and co. for many years to come!