I’ve attempted a few times to write about life abroad or more specifically, my decision to move from Scotland to Spain. It’s funny actually, when I tell people I have a blog, they always assume that is what I write about all the time, when it’s actually what I find the hardest to write about.
It’s difficult trying to express in words how at home I feel in both places. How I rarely feel like I’m in a FOREIGN country. How I feel just as at home in Spain as I do in Scotland. How I absolutely love my life in Spain, and can say hand on heart I prefer the Spanish lifestyle (it’s hard to argue with so much sun and a constant combination of siestas and fiestas). Yet living here has made me more fiercely proud to be Scottish than ever, and makes me miss Scotland and all of its beauty (even if it is shadowed by grey clouds 90% of the year).
Do I miss home sometimes? Absolutely. I’m not trying to pretend that life in Spain is rosy 100% of the time (particularly in current circumstances). But at the end of the day, Scotland, my family and my true friends will always be there for me, regardless of where I – or they – live.
Do cultural differences sometimes drive me up the wall? Of course they do! Like the fact that people don’t queue up for things in Spain, or the fact they are so direct when they speak. But I’ve grown to love these “quirks” and find they make me appreciate an orderly queue of polite people every time I’m back home more than normal!
Do I get sick of speaking Spanish all the time? Yes, and no. I absolutely love being able to speak another language, and feel like I can express myself differently in both languages. But my poor wee brain sometimes gets tired, that’s for sure.
And Scotland, what can I say! The land of breathtaking scenery, friendly people, square sausages, irn-bru, tattie scones and ridiculously hairy cows. Like I said beforehand, living abroad makes me even prouder to be Scottish than I have ever been. Hearing a Scottish accent or a set of bagpipes is enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Bonnie Scotland – I’ll move home one day!
So what made me think about all of this? A good – and very artistic – friend of mine recently drew a cartoon portrait of me and I reckon he summed me up perfectly: he drew me sitting writing at my laptop (he took the liberty of upgrading me to a Macbook, if you’re reading, thanks for that by the way), with a glass of wine at arm’s reach (naturally) and with a window and bookshelf behind me. Through the window you can see some of both Glasgow AND Madrid’s most famous sights. And on the bookshelf, there’s a little Scottish AND a Spanish flag.
I know it might sound silly, as it’s maybe an obvious fact consider I am Scottish and live in Spain. But for me it hit home that both Spain and Scotland make up who I am now, and both play such an important role in my life and heart.
Anyway, why did I decide to write all of this tonight? Because it took me back to why I chose to use the name Alba on this blog. Fun fact, it isn’t a coincidence. Alba is my actual name translated into Spanish. But it also means Scotland in Gaelic. Tell me that is not fate? Oh, and it was just pure luck it also stands for A Little Bit About.
Scotland, I love ye, I’ve always loved ye.
Spain, te quiero, y siempre te querré.