If any of you follow my Instagram page (lottie_raee) you may have noticed that a couple of weeks ago I attended an EVS training course in Caceres, mainland Spain. Like with everything I had my hesitations, I was the only one attending from England/Menorca and there were 26 people from all over the world gathering in one small youth hostel. It was guaranteed to be an interesting week.
Let me begin with the journey because I noticed something for the first time when I set off at 6am in a taxi to the airport and that was how much I’ve learnt to enjoy travelling alone. No longer am I only focused on my destination, but I have the confidence to enjoy the passing places. I had to stop in Madrid for three hours so instead of simply sitting around waiting for my train, I chose to go and explore the local area. This was something I would never have been able to do this time last year, instead I would have been crippled by the fear of missing my train or losing my luggage. Travelling alone is an art, a new, strange kind of art but one that you only learn to appreciate once it’s been forced upon you multiple times.
The course itself focused on my expectations, what I should actually expect and how to overcome any problems I might face along the way. It was a great way to learn what the EVS schemes are about, if you can speak fluent Spanish of course (which I can’t as of yet). Obviously when working alongside Italian, German, Serbian, Spanish, Danish, Czech, Romanian and English people we needed a common language and as we are all working in Spain, it’s no surprise which language it was. This was the perfect environment for me to practise and improve my own ability. However, all the participants spoke in English during free time. Making it very easy again for me to fall into the trap of relying solely on English being the International language (we have it way too easy).
Something that was pointed out to me quite suddenly and something that was met with initial excitement when I was on this project was the amount of food that is consumed in Spain. True, it is good food but wow. Continental breakfast, followed by a coffee break and tapas an hour or so later. Then lunch which is a three course meal, with extremely disproportionate portion sizes, followed by another coffee break and cake. Then dinner which is another three course meal. Reading this it probably sounds like Heaven and believe me I am a foody person, I could eat for England, but I started this course a regular human being and left as a beach ball. Something else quite hard to get my head around here is how late they eat dinner. Dinner is eaten at around 8:30 – 9:00pm which was a shock to my system, a system used to eating at 5pm, this unfortunately Spain is not something I’m going to agree with, I prefer to be in bed sleeping at 9:00pm.
The course lasted one week and included trips out to the beautiful Monfrague National Park and to Plasencia, the main town in Caceres. I left the course feeling much more secure about my placement here, much more aware of what to do if there’s a problem and I have greatly developed my international network.
I’ve been living in Spain for one month today and in the space of one month I feel like everything has changed for the better. I started out on this project nervous and unsettled, constantly worrying about home. But today I’m happy, excited to continue working in an environment that I love and grateful that the sun is starting to come out. Roll on summer!
Love from Lottie xoxo