One day, just one day, I might be told to leave Seville. I don’t know why. Maybe my mum decides that she can’t live without me in England anymore, or my kids become British pop singers and want me to be their manager, or I get that illustrious book deal that I’m secretly hoping for and have to return home to be closer to my publishers.
But, more than likely, I’ll be in Seville for the foreseeable future. If it were to happen though, if Brexit did actually start to come into play and we were forced to leave, part of me would be glad to leave, to get away, to escape – with my family, of course, but why?
Bugs / insects / annoying flying things
The bugs in Spain fall mainly on my house. I never used to be that bothered about bugs. In England it’s just a few spiders, bees or the occasion swarm of wasps gathering round your jam sandwiches to worry about. Here though, especially in Seville when the heat starts to kick in, like right now, the bugs start to ruin your day.
I said in my last post that I have developed a neat relationship with the mosquito family in Seville: I don’t kill them, they don’t bite me. But there are other, unwanted bugs who tend to spoil my free time. It’s not me personally who they bother, but my wife and the threat of danger to my kids.
Let’s take those cockroaches for instances. Last week, a bloke called Roberto, who is a bug killing machine, turned up, opened up our drains, and exterminated cockroaches, yet again. We didn’t actually have any in the house this year, but we had a huge problem last year, and since he was cleaning out the neighbours drains, we got him round again. He did a great job, apart from breaking my patio floor a little, but it was 85 smackers to have the pleasure of his visit.
Then we have the ants. No matter how hard we try, how much yellow dust we put down, how many times I light a match and spray deodorant over them, they still come back. Either to nick the scraps of food that fall on the floor while we’re having lunch in the patio, or to carry the other dead insects back to their nests. We have a birds nest in our nispero tree at the moment, and every now and then a baby one is there on the floor in the morning, covered in ants, poor thing.
Like I say, it’s not that they bother me directly, but, as the man of the house, I have to get rid of them, which normally eats into my free time. Surely back home this wouldn’t happen?
Drivers and their zebra crossing skills
I’ve become much more mellow in my older age (late 30’s, when the hell did that happen?) But this is still one of my pet hates for living in Spain. I’m not sure whether it’s just in Seville, but I’d say 4 or 5 out of 10 drivers don’t stop at zebra crossings.
Normally it’s the taxis in the centre who are the worst. When we moved out to the sticks I was expecting the locals to behave better, but at times they are worse. A neighbour of ours had a pretty bad accident a while back because a car didn’t stop at a zebra crossing.
Back in the day I would just walk out and make them stop, but these days I just wait and wave. I don’t even stick a finger up anymore, that’s how much I’ve grown up. But my kids are normally with me, so I have to behave.
I don’t get why they drive past. It’s just foolish to me. Sometimes they wave, as if to say sorry as they whizz off, which makes me laugh, rather than get annoyed.
I wouldn’t miss that feeling though, of not knowing if a car is going to stop, especially if you’re pushing a pram with one kid, and carrying another in your arms.
Always being a foreigner
Even after 12 years, I still feel like a guiri. The feeling never goes. Now I can deal with it; I accept that some people have never spoken to anyone from a different country before. I get that they must have lived in a box, or a town, where everyone speaks the same, with the same accent, same beliefs, and wears the brand pants.
I appreciate that for some people hearing a foreigner attempting to perfect their language may be funny, weird even. I mean why would anyone want to live in another country? Sometimes my level of Spanish does let me down. Often, when I chat with strangers, I can see the clogs ticking in the mind as they wonder if I even know what they are talking about.
As a teacher, I’ve adjusted my hearing for strange accents, weird pronunciation of the English language. I’m used to it. It’s my job.
But I’m never rude about it.
Often I am told ‘Tu no eres de aqui, no?’ ‘You’re not from round here, are you?’ I can’t wait for the next person to say that to me. I have a new answer prepared. ‘Pues no, realmente, soy de Martes y alli solo hablamos con nuestros orejas’ ‘Well no, actually I’m from Mars, and there we only speak with our ears.’
I know what you’re thinking, even I’m thinking it, so predictable. Yes, I live in Sevilla, yes, it’s so hot, blah de blah de blah. But no, I actually like the heat. I love the way it makes me sweat. I enjoy changing my t-shirt up to 4 times a day to stop me scaring away people through my intense body odour. I love waking up during the night and wondering if I am, in fact, in the oven. I enjoy being confined to the house between about 1pm and 8pm in the summer, it’s really really fun.
I wouldn’t miss the heat, no, of course not. But then I’d be complaining about the weather everywhere. That’s what we do. We are humans. You can never get it perfect anyway, just like a sponge cake.
I guess looking back over the two posts, I’ve made the right decision to stay, to get settled, and have a family. Sure, the grass is often greener, but at least I have some grass to eat, and I am quite partial to eating grass, especially with a hint of lemon.
What about you? Would you not miss anything from where you live if you had to leave?