Living abroad affects your brain in weird ways. You can’t help but change your view on the world, especially if you live somewhere for over a decade. A decade is an extremely long time. Think of your whole time at secondary school, plus a bit more, that’s how long I have been in Seville, and that’s why things I once cared about, have slowly started to lose their importance.
Settling here was a nightmare at first. I’d been travelling and teaching English round the world and stopping in one city was like going from living in a beach house with the sea in front to waking up in a box flat overlooking someone else’s washing line.
I struggled for a couple of years before I felt integrated in society and happy with my long term decision to stay in Seville. These days I’m quite settled here. Seville is a lovely part of the world, I have a wonderful wife, and two great, exhausting kids. My brain, priorities, and way of life have changed immensely since living in the UK. Here are a few things that I just don’t give a damn about anymore.
How many pints I drink a week
I rarely drink pints now. The other day I was chatting to a friend at work, telling her I buy 6 small bottles of beer and make it last over the weekend. She was shocked.
When I worked in London, I’d easily drink over ten pints of beer from Thursday to Sunday night. I guess it’s partly my age (37), but in Seville I’m just not that fussed about pints anymore, both the cost, and the damage it does to my brain and body. I’d much rather have a decent bottle of red wine, of which, luckily, in Spain there are so many to choose from.
Saying that, when I’m home, the first thing I’ll do is go for a pint with my Dad (and probably a kebab on the way home).
The latest travel disruption on the tube
That nervy feeling of checking the travel information in the mornings before leaving the house has long gone. Worrying about getting an ear full at work because of the train strike and delays, or if someone decided they were going to throw themselves on the tube track, just doesn’t enter my head anymore.
There are other issues with getting about, like whether the metro will be so busy I won’t be able to get my bike out at my stop in the mornings, but I can count the number of times there has been a problem with the line on my left hand.
Once I got to the metro and there was a massive failure, so instead I cycled to the centre. It took ten minutes longer and I arrived to class like a sweaty freak, but it wasn’t the end of the day.
How cold it is going to be in the mornings (or ever)
I wore gloves twice this year, and I had to take them off after about ten minutes because I was sweating. I have two jackets: one thick brown one, and a thinner green one. I used the brown one twice this year, and yet again, I was sweating. Unfortunately I sweat a lot, especially in Seville.
The only time I really feel cold here is when I get into a cold bed during January. That’s the coldest part of my year (unless we go home for Christmas), but luckily it’s only for a couple of weeks. A lot of people I know have electric blankets to battle this disastrous cold problem, but I’m too manly to do that (I have a hot water bottle though, and it’s got a pink cover)
Which sandwich to have for lunch
Prawn and mayonnaise, tune melt, or chicken supreme? Choosing which sandwich to have on my lunch breaks was often a taxing decision. I’d normally spend half my morning at work trying to decide which one to have.
Since living in Sevilla, those finely made meals of bread on bread with something in the middle rarely get to my lips. The only time I have a sandwich is when there is nothing else to eat in my house, or if I have to eat at work for some strange reason. Sandwiches are actually banned in most parks, you’re just not allowed to eat them; the park inspectors will escort you out and send you to the nearest tapas bar.
Where I am going to live next
Okay this wasn’t the case until we bought a place two years ago, but that constant nagging feeling of making the decision where to live was a real drag at times. Now I don’t give a damn about new properties. I can go visit a town or city in Spain and not suddenly start wondering what it would be like to live there.
I used to have a reoccurring nightmare of finding the right place to live, and not just the flat, but the country, and city. I lived in Ecuador, Brazil, Australia, and Thailand, but in the end chose Spain (or rather it, or my wife, chose me).
Now I spend more time worrying about how I’m going to improve our house, and how long it takes to clean (especially the patio after a freak sand storm from the Sahara) rather than where to live. It’s such a relief not having to worry about that anymore.
I’m sure there are a load more things I don’t give a hoot about, but to be fair, they have all been taken over with other, more important, and relevant things to give importance to; like raising two kids, learning a language, and being a father and providing for my family.
What about you? What do you care less about since living abroad?