Chris-eras-mis dinner

It’s a new holiday.  December 6th.  Mark it in your diaries, kids.  And this is how we do it:

Part 1:

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Part 2:

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Part 3:

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Part 4:

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Just another Wednesday night

We decided to invite the neighbours over for dinner.

Then this happened:

I seriously want this to go viral!

Day off = beach day

We had a day off uni on October 6th. We had no idea why. No other unis in the country seemed to have that day off. We didn’t complain. We did however decide we needed a bit of this:

So thanks to Laura’s fabulous organisation skills, we hopped on the 9am bus from Granada to Nerja which took us on a route that looks a little something like this (click on the – on the left of the box to zoom out and see the full image):

The bus journey itself looked a little something like this:

Steve, Bethan, Alec, Naomi, me, the back of Amy's head, Jess [Laura not pictured cuz she was taking the photo]

Steve, Bethan, Alec, Naomi, me, Amy, Jess

It was really odd for me cuz my family had been to Nerja many a time back in the days when I was younger and wider but it had been probably about 6 years since I was last there. Walking around the town and seeing the Balcon was like being on the set of a movie I knew inside out – it was all so familiar but it felt surreal to be there.

The weather was amazing.  The beach wasn’t packed.  The lilos were fun.

Bus back to Granada was at 7. It was a successful day. Til next time, Nerja.

Here’s where the mágico happens

As promised I’ve uploaded a guided tour of the apartment. Check it out below:

Coming to you live from Granada, Spain… it’s Thursday night!!!

Granada - city view

Granada - city view

Less than 60 hours in the city and we’ve found a place.

Actually less than 20 hours in the city and we’d found the place and said we’d take it.

We arrived Tuesday afternoon after an early flight from Dublin, a taxi from Malaga airport to Malaga bus station, a bus from Malaga to Granada, another bus from Granada bus station to Puerta Real and an arduous walk with our bags to the hostel. We settled in to our incredibly cramped room before setting out on a bit of a house hunt. After making a few calls on payphones we came to find that the majority of places advertised on lamposts and phone boxes had already been taken or the owners insisted we provide them with a Spanish mobile number to be contacted on. The girls sorted themselves out with phones in “The Phone House” (Spain’s name for The Carphone Warehouse – cuz adding the syllables ‘car’ and ‘ware’ make it so difficult for spaniards to understand) but I waited cuz I wanted to do a wee bit of research before shelling out the cash.

House hunting was due to resume the next morning but when we realised it was raining outside (yes it was actually raining in Spain – I didn’t think it possible!) we went online to see if we could find anything on any Spanish property websites. We made a few calls to arrange appointments and had our first viewing within half an hour. We met the woman from the agency who showed us the first place.

Honestly it wasn’t bad. I’d have to fault in on the following though:

  • huge corridor between the kitchen and the sitting room. It was quite literally a tunnel running from one side to the other. You could have cycled it
  • The sitting room had quite the settled granny feel to it
  • Bedrooms were nice but nothing spectacular
  • Rooms weren’t the brightest
  • Community charges weren’t included in the rent

OK wasn’t bad but we weren’t blown away. It was then the woman from the agency told us she had another place nearby to show us. Was a little bit nearer to the university campus and was about equidistance from Plaza Albert Einstein (a big student hot-spot). She seemed very enthusiastic about it telling us she actually lives in the same block. She also mentioned it was a bit pricier but when the rent is a third of what you’d pay in Dublin for the equivalent having to pay about €40 extra each a month doesn’t make a massive difference.
This place was quite literally amazing. Big kitchen, big sitting room area with a 6-seater table, 4 bedrooms, community charges included in the price, FULLY furnished (only household appliance we needed was a new kettle cuz we didn’t like the one they provided- other than that it had EVERYTHING: cuttlery, bed sheets, plates, bowls, cooking utensils, microwave, juicer, everything!). We sat down after she gave us the full tour, checked it on the map, found out it was a 20-25 minute walk to the campus or there’s a bus around the corner that brings us direct. We were all a bit worried we were being hasty by agreeing to the second place we viewed but this just seemed to be one of those too-good-to-be-turned down opportunities. We went around the circle:

Niamh: “Yes”

Jess: “Yes”

Me: “Yes”

Naomi: “Yes”

It was agreed. At that moment we had just decided that where we were sitting was to be our place for the year. At that moment we were home. We were in a city that was pretty much brand new to us all less than 24 hours previously but we were home. All we had to do was return to the hostel, cancel our booking for the following night, pick up our stuff, return at 5, sign the contract, hand over the first month’s rent, a deposit and a finder’s fee to the agency and when all that was done the place was ours.

We were moved in by dinner time.

I filmed a guided tour of the apartment last night but due to the unreliable connection (we’re “borrowing” a neighbour’s wireless at the moment) I’ll have to pop into an internet café to upload it to Youtube.

Check back soon!

I should REALLY start packing

Had a look at the countdown timer on the right –>

I have less than 15 hours.

But I STILL don’t feel like I’m going away.

I haven’t got upset once when saying goodbye to anyone.

I haven’t had any moments of serious nostalgia.

It’s like I’m totally emotionally detached from the experience. I suppose the main reason why is that I have no idea what I’m getting into. I can’t remember my last visit to Granada for the life of me and that makes it difficult for me to imagine living there. How can I picture myself living in a place that I can’t picture at all?!

The fact that we haven’t yet got our accommodation for the year also has me a little bit disbelieving about the whole thing. I can’t picture where we’ll be living cuz we haven’t got a place to live!!

I spent a few weeks in the summer of 2007 living in Alcala de Henares while going to a language school over there and in theory that should have braced me for the idea of living in Spain but this time

  • I’m going with Niamh, Jess and Naomi, not alone
  • I’m going to college, not a language school
  • I’m going for 9 months, not 3 weeks

It’s going to be a totally different experience and I gotta say I’m looking forward to it but I don’t know if I’ve mentally prepared myself for it.

What’s more, I’ve come to realise over the past few weeks, I’ve never had as big a transition as this when it comes to education. I started off my schooling in Our Lady’s Primary School (RIP) which I would’ve been familiar with from the time I was in nappies, given my mom taught in the secondary school, and I would’ve been introduced to the likes of Claire Harrington, given her mother taught with mine, before I even started there. From there I moved to Terenure College Junior School alongside the 5 other guys who were in OLS Primary with me. 5 years there and both classes of the junior school moved up to the senior school. 6 more years in Terenure and my time in UCD began. By pure chance I chose a course which 5 other guys from my year chose to do as well as 2 girls from Our Lady’s (the aforementioned Claire being one of them!) and then was the numerous friend of friend connections to people on the course.

That’s what makes Granada so different. I’m moving to a new city with no connections to anyone in the city with only 3 other people. It’s a totally fresh start. Something you don’t get in the small town surroundings of Ireland where it’s more 3 degrees of seperation than 6. And that definitely has me excited.  Dublin, especially over the past few months, has become painfully repetitive for me.  This is a great opportuninty to experience something new.  Something I haven’t done for quite a while.

Who ever said different was bad? Here’s to a radically different year.