Monday, December 13, 2010

Spanish Lessons

I began writing this while flying back to Manchester from Malaga in Spain. The last two weeks have been a great relief from the cold of England and God has been teaching me a few things.
Cliffs near los canos de meca

I have learnt to slow down a bit more and appreciate beauty in the smaller things. When I first arrived at Los canos de meca I didn’t particularly think of it as a beautiful area. Nice yes, but not amazing. I have been spoilt though growing up in Australia and Zambia in incredibly beautiful areas, the best beaches in the world… As I did more exploring around the area, I became much more aware of beauty in smaller things, flowers, butterflies, landscapes. 

I have also had the fact confirmed (it was previously suspected) that I am a high candidate for being susceptible to Seasonal depressive disorder or whatever it’s called. When I first told people that I was coming to England, many who know me were like ‘Why? You hate the cold!’. I find that I can tolerate it, but yeah it definitely does bring my mood down and can make me a bit miserable at times, and withdraw a lot. Warmth and lots of sunshine (and ideally beaches) really really improves my mood. Before when I’d left England for Spain, I didn’t even really want to talk to people and became a lot more reclusive, but now I’m back to my normal bouncy self, much more willing an open and wanting to talk to people.
Trafalgar lighthouse
 God honestly really looked after me with the weather hey. Before and when I arrived, it had been raining. But the weather (even though predicted to rain) just got clearer and clearer and warmer and warmer. Thursday, my last day of working it got above 25 degrees so I went down to the beach and sunbaked for a bit, relishing in the warmth!!! I was going to swim, except there was a bit of a breeze down there that would have made a chillfactor bit too cool for swimming. I’d been about knee deep in the water and was surprised to find it not that cold –  its probably comparable to the coolness of the ocean in summer in aus! I must have timed it well (or just God blessing me), because Friday the sun disappeared, the clouds, wind (and probably rain) came back and the temperature dropped, so no more sun. Makes it easier to leave, or easier on transitioning back to the UK! I think it is about 2 degrees at the moment in Manchester. Freezing! Ke frio!!

The view from magic mountain
Before coming to Spain I think I was quite stressed and tensed which tends to manifest itself in physical (and maybe some mental) symptoms for me, restlessness, muscular aches, anxiety, terrible concentration, getting teary at random times over stupid things… I did get a bit stressed out while in Spain, but that was more related to trying to find accommodation for Manchester and Dubai and going round in circles and the frustration that provided. I’m now feeling significantly better. I’m sure even more sunshine and warmth would further improve that, but that can wait till I get to dubai and then Australia within the coming weeks.

Completely weeded vege garden ready for planting!
I really enjoyed being outside and doing some work with my hands rather than being inside for a change. Actually, I think that having less pressure from work helped as well. I love being a dietitian, but recently I have been working with a lot of TPN patients (total parenteral nutrition – feeding through the veins when the gut isn’t working), which is extremely interesting, but it is EXTREMELY precise, huge risks associated with it, and you have to be very very particular with your calculations,  your documentation to make sure you don’t cause unnecessary injury (like increasing their TG or damaging liver or something by using the wrong rate) so a lot of responsibility there that is always playing on the back of your mind. Working in the garden, while more physically, doesn’t have as much mental responsibility so a bit of a break there. I find that I need to be doing something, to feel useful or productive, and yeah I enjoyed this experience of workawaying. I’m thinking about doing more next year if possible. We’ll see. There are so many amazing places you can work around the world in this context, doing so many things, working in guesthouses, working on the land, child care, language teaching… the list goes on and on and on. I’m keen to do more! 

My painting handiwork
Working in the garden also brought up a lot of personal questions about what I want to do as well, where I want to go, what I want to do. It re-introduced me to an interest in holistic health, herbal medicine and naturopathy which I’ve had for years and years (used to cart my herb pots around NSW/VIC between jobs!!). It made me wonder whether I should look back into furthering knowledge in that area rather than International health and development? I’m not sure, I will see what happens I guess. When I was exploring and working in the garden I enjoyed discovering new plants, or realising how many plants I actually recognised by name without prompting (both wild and cultivated). I was exploring the cliffs one morning and was looking at a plant and suddenly thought, hey I know that plant! It was wild rosemary – the cliffs and mountainside of the area in canos de meca was covered in rosemary!! I picked a whole bunch of it and we cooked it that night with potatoes. Mmmmmm J yum!

A chozita

The magic bus I slept in

Kitchen we cooked in outside the bus

Inside the magic bus - my bed!
So now I’m heading back to Manchester. I had a bit of a crazy weekend because of Francesca my car failing the MOT test before I left for Spain. Once in Manchester I picked up my car (was glad to see it where I left it, not stolen or frozen to death!!!), and then drove down to Felixstowe to Aunty June’s place. My relatives down there are going to help me sell it, to a garage or a wreckers. Means I can also see them briefly before Christmas. I’ve rented a room out in a student house in Rushholme until the 23rd December while working at the hospital for 1.5 weeks.

Then it’s down to London where hopefully I will see Lauren (who I was debating going to Morocco to see) for a day then I’ll be in Shoreham/Brighton for Christmas before flying to Dubai for new years eve via Amsterdam and prague, then before I know it I’ll be back in Australia. All happening!!

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