30 March 2013

Come with me now on a journey through time and space...

... as I describe to you (through the magical medium of mainly photographs) my experiences thus far living in Tarragona. Yippee! I will begin with... food! Because it's one of my favourite pleasures in life and if there's one thing me and my boyfriend, Paul, do best, it's eat. It's our favourite pastime.

The food in Spain really is something else, in my opinion. It's all so fresh and flavoursome and living in a seaside town means we get to enjoy the privilege of eating some really delicious seafood. There's a restaurant down on the port which does ridiculously huge portions of squid rings, garlic prawns, mussels and serves the most amazing paella marisco, which I would happily eat every day if I could. I've never been a seafood person, in fact my stomach would heave in horror every time the words prawn or salmon were even mentioned, but since moving abroad I've become less picky with the fruits of the sea and I am so glad I've branched out with the ol' taste buds. 

As well as boasting some of the most succulent seafood around, Spain has shown me how something as simple as potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and allioli can be one of the best-tasting mid-afternoon stop-off snacks (or, as it is known in Spain, tapas). Other delicious tapas include: fried battered squid, chorizo cooked in cider, spinach frittata, meatballs, garlic mushrooms, tomato bread, glazed pork belly and a mixed platter of the best Iberian cured meats. You can't go wrong with any of that.

Next up... my visit from my boyfriend, Paul!
He's lovely, isn't he? It was so hard when I first arrived in Tarragona because, although I had internet in my friend's apartment (who was very, VERY kind to let us stay there for a week whilst we searched for our own place), it was still hanging over my head that it would be weeks before we had it organised in our own place. Not being able to Skype him every day was hard, so when he finally came over (on his own birthday no less!) it was almost like meeting each other for the first time all over again. Needless to say I bawled my eyes out, but it's always the best feeling that first hug, even if it is in front of a bus station or an airport full of people. I can never quite describe it.

Here is a brief overview of what we saw during our week together!

A lot of the photos taken were of graffiti and street art because we love the normal tourist-y things (like the Sagrada Familia, which was just breathtaking), but we also like to look at cities from a more gritty angle and ride the metro all day to see what there is to discover down side streets and alleyways. Besides visiting Barcelona three times to explore some of the deep-dark corners, visit the sex museum and find the Montana paint shop, we ate a lot of good food (like I said, it's one of our favourite pastimes!)

I was really sad that he had to leave again, I always am, but this time was different because I really wanted to share everything in Spain with him because we both want to live here when we're older (I say older, probably in the next few years!). After he left it didn't feel right for a long while; I really wished that I could share everything I was seeing and doing with him and I still do now. I suppose it's all right though because we now have the new family addition of internet (yay!) and he'll be coming over again in June (after I go home for twelve days in a couple of weeks). But still, it's the hardest thing being apart from somebody that you've spent almost every day with for the past four years and shared every little detail about your day with. "You can do that on Skype" I hear you say - but it's not the same when you can't irritate the hell out of each other in real life. Virtual prodding and poking like on Facebook actually does nothing to get a rise out of the other half for your own amusement.

So yes, the boy came and went. I got into the swing of things at university - which is a damn side better than the one I was presented with in France, I'll tell you that. For one, I don't feel like I have go to university in Spain wearing a hard hat and dust mask; the buildings are all brand new and the facilities are excellent. I'd heard stories about how bad the organisation is at the URV, but it's not a shade on the complete chaos of Aix-Marseille. At least the Spanish have a "no pasa nada" attitude and will try to help you as best as they can (albeit it can sometimes take a while for paperwork/important documents to go through), whereas the French just absolutely loved to put up red tape  anywhere they could and then feign stupidity when you asked how to cross it.

But, I am actually enjoying university here. The lessons I'm taking are quite interesting. They are as follows:

  • Introduction to English Translation - Does what it says on the tin. It's a lot of technical jargon about translation techniques and cultural issues, but interesting nonetheless.
  • Uses of Written Spanish - I thought this would be about analysing different types of written text, but really so far it's been about putting us Erasmus under a lot of pressure to read 9-page articles/60-page textbooks and do spoken resumes and reviews of them. This is my least favourite class.
  • Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language - This is easy for me to understand because I already studied a year of teaching English as a Foreign Language. It's the same concepts, just switch the languages.
  • Advanced French - I don't think any of us think this is as advanced as we expected, but maybe it's because we've already lived in France and have picked up more than we originally thought? It's all right though, it's a nice revision lesson for what we have learned and the teacher is a really sweet, old grandfather figure who doesn't give us homework if we have too much to do already.
  • Spanish in America - This is my favourite lesson, but it happens to be at 8am on Wednesday AND Thursday! It's a lot of names, dates and numbers (basically, history) but the content is actually really interesting to me, especially about the Aztecs and the Mayans. I have no idea how I'm going to sit the exam because I've never answered a history question in my life, but I'll give it a go.
So there we have it! Those are the main points that I should have mentioned ages ago but was too lazy/just never got round to doing it. I don't think I missed anything major out apart from when we were finding a flat, but there's not much to talk about there aside from the fact that everything is DIRT CHEAP, there is next to no paperwork involved and our estate agent is like our Dad. Our landlord and his wife live in the flat beneath us as well, which is handy if we ever have an issue with anything!

Oh! And the fact that Spain is very noisy and REALLY enjoys a party. Recently, because this week has been Semana Santa, there's been various church groups dressed up in traditional hats called capirotes (they resemble the KKK hats, to somebody who's not religious) playing ominous drums all hours of the day and carrying gigantic, wooden religious scenes in an extremely creepy, swaying motion down my street. It's very different here, but different good, not different bad. I think interesting is the word.

I'm glad I wrote this now because my family are coming over to visit tomorrow (it seems like it was only yesterday they'd told me they'd booked flights!) so I'll be able to write about that when they've left. 


NOTE: all photos in this post have been taken by me. Please do not redistribute without my permission. If you would like to redistribute an image, comment and ask and I'll (more than likely) say yes. Additionally, some of these photos can also be found on my Flickr.

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  1. Very beautiful post...I like your blog.^^
    Maybe follow each other on bloglovin???
    Let me know follow you then back.
    Lovely greets Nessa

  2. Hey like your blog, gorgeous photos :) If you want to visit my blog we can follow each other on bloglovin, twitter and instagram? Let me know I'll follow back :)


    1. Thanks! Followed your blog. My username on Twitter and Instagram is "oxxomoco."

  3. Thank you so much for the follow.^^
    Follow you back on bloglovin.
    Lovely greets