Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Learning Journey (Beth)

Getting out of your comfort zone is definitely a learning experience. Some people, like Nathanial and Tom are constantly on the lookout for new adventures. Others, like me, are content to be pulled along on some of those adventures and will usually enjoy the ride, but rarely are the escapades instigated by me. Others, like Alfie, have to be cajoled, threatened or dragged into the adventure and will usually protest and/or complain for the duration. Perhaps after the event you will get a grudging admission that some enjoyment was had, but usually not.

Yes Mum, yes Dad, it is a lovely view. When can we go home?

Almost every day on this adventure we are having to learn something new. Where can we get water? Is there a shop near here that sells fresh milk? How do we ask for directions in a strange language? As well as the practicalities, we are all learning how to adapt to being together all of the time, living in a small space. I can't help but feel that whilst challenging at times, all of the newness and the problem-solving requirements are a good mental workout. Also, there is a certain buzz to be had when a particular problem is surmounted.

We have been asked a few times if we are trying different foods. Because we are on a strict budget we are not really eating out, save for the odd take-away lunch so our opportunities for eating new stuff is limited to whatever the chef (me) is willing to prepare. So far we have almost exclusively stuck to what we know from the English supermarkets when shopping for food and whilst Tom really wanted us to buy - and eat - the whole rabbit we found in Lidl's chilled section, I was less enthusiastic at the prospect. Ditto octopus tentacles. I am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying food when eating out, but slightly squeamish when it comes to preparing meat that isn't ready-portioned and wrapped in cellophane. I think this is a perfect example of what I said at the beginning, but somehow I can't see Nathanial volunteering for kitchen duties in the spirit of pioneering.

Please can we get it Mum, pleeeease!!

In France Nathanial and I ate a lot of Camembert, having never really eaten it at home. We also ate quite a lot of croissants, pain-au-chocolat and almondes, all of which we did eat at home but the French ones are so much better. We are missing them a little now we're in Spain. I have discovered that I can make a delicious rice-pudding with long-life milk and risotto rice. I wonder if you can make risotto with pudding rice? If memory serves, it is cheaper to buy.

Another new thing we have learned is that you can rent a lovely Spanish villa for not a lot of money in the winter months. Secondly we learned that Spanish villas are designed for HOT weather.We have also discovered that Spanish electricity is pretty pants. Don't expect to be able to use the electric heater in your chilly villa if you also want to cook your dinner/dry your hair/iron your clothes, because the power will trip out. We have surmised that these are the reasons we seem to be living in a ghost town where all the neighbouring villas are unoccupied, but we are enjoying the extra space all the same.

I am learning more about myself too. As someone who has always told herself that my motto is 'worry about it when it happens', I have noticed on this trip that the phrase 'I'm worried that.....' falls from my lips on a very regular basis.

I'm worried that the boys will climb up that wall. Oh, they already have. I'm worried the boys will fall off that wall.

I'm worried that the van will tip over when you back it on the drive..

It's a bit steep, this road we're down, can't even see over the horizon!
I'm worried that we're about to re-create a scene from 'The Birds'

I'm worried that Christmas is going to feel really strange (more on that later).

Perhaps over the next few months I will manage to ration my use of the phrase, or perhaps I just need to give my "'ead a sheck" as Nathanial would say. I'm sure a certain amount of worrying lends a degree of caution to proceedings. Sometimes it's hard being the only grown up in the family.


  1. Life would be eternally grey if you didnt take a chance on what if we did this or that. But you need someone to ground things so all hell doesnt break out and end in disaster. I think you have the right combination. As for the cuisine just think of lasagna as a different cottage pie. We all have the same basics to start with it's just a different way of putting things together. Incidentally rabbit is fine but the bones are many and small. It makes a good stew. Most meat is best either cooked very fast or for aeons. Adapt to suit time and enthusiasm. Just your mother rambling on. Dont worry everything will be fine.

    1. Thanks Mum! Eating rabbit as a child is something else I will never forget :) xxx

  2. Beth, we're worried that you might get sunburn over Christmas and we're worried that you're missing the cold weather back home. We're also worried that enjoying yourself may actually be bad for you and now we're worried that we're worried.

    It looks like you're having a great time so here's our Christmas present to you:


    Don't worry, it's not a virus. Just a song on Y/T that's had 24 million hits (all known worriers before playing the song).

    Chill ..... !!

    1. Oh dear, now I'm worried that I've made you worry!! Thanks for the song, the boys and I have been humming it all day. I'm not too worried about sunburn over Christmas, I've been sunbathing most of the afternoon with no ill effects, certainly better than the usual last day of term madness at home!
      I'll try to stop worrying so much, but you haven't met our children ;)

  3. Is there something we should be worrying about. Sorry it's just that when you have loads of time and nothing to worry about you can worry over nothing.
    Nice view of Albir from up by the lighthouse - we're near to the ONLY big building in the picture. Also looks like Benidorm with all the paloma blancas - actually they're only pigeons! Benidorm just has to be seen, love it or hate it, or both. Have a great Christmas and make your new year's resolution to stop worrying.

  4. Hi Wendy, yes the bird pic was taken in Benidorm, we went in a few times when we were staying at Orange Grove. It's certainly an experience and the boys stuck out like sore thumbs there.
    I think we might have had a quick cycle around your campsite, unless there are two big sites along the beachfront at Albir? We didn't see any British vans though. I hope you enjoy your Christmas,


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