I have now been living in Colima for two months. I know this sounds sort of cliché, but I can’t completely connect with the person I was when I first moved out here. Anxiety-ridden, nervous, missing organised Brits, hating the fact I have to adjust to this (sometimes) unbearable heat, and not having a clue about what I was doing at work. I’m still facing a few of these things but I think I’m dealing with them a lot better. I now have a few super nice friends, I’m beginning to get to know my new housemates better, work is improving a little bit, I’ve visited some really great cities, and I’ve started volunteering. So things are definitely looking up.
Most of the people I’ve met out here know at least some English, which I am hugely grateful for. Especially a couple of my friends who are practically fluent. Obviously this is a great advantage for me; when I’m feeling pretty lazy, or have a headache from trying to teach uncooperative students in Spanish, we can just chat in English which they are always up for as they want to keep their level up. But, the whole point of me being here is to speak Spanish so I have to force myself to keep switching languages when we meet up.
This takes me to one of the things I miss about the UK: the British accent. Everyone here speaks English with an American accent which is obviously understandable, living so close to the States and being hugely influenced by the way things are done over there; their politics, music, TV etc. So when we were in the hostel in Morelia and I overheard a couple from Manchester talking I just had to strike up conversation. I hadn’t even thought that that would be something I would miss.
Other than the obvious Family and Friends, I miss a whole host of things but I’m pretty sure I can live without them for now. For one, proper Gujji food. My mum and gran make the best Indian food around; my cooking will never compare. I can make a decent veg curry, but I will never be able to make daal, kichidi, parathas or kheer – proper comfort food. I am expecting a huge Gujji feast on my return. Around 15th August, take note.
Most people know that music means a great deal to me. If a first conversation naturally leads to music and gigs then it is going very well. So living in a very small city in Mexico means that I am missing a LOT of live music, which is always so abundant in London. I’ve already missed the likes of Lucy Rose, Editors and MS MR which has been heart-breaking. I’ll also be missing Glastonbury volunteering which I’ve done for the last two years, and despite the hard work (litter picking Pyramid Stage from 6-12 every morning) it’s always a great few days.
But these are all things I’m just going to have to live without for a little while. Living here means I’m in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, rich in culture, history and political energy. With amazing food, the opportunity to travel around and meet new people, and being surrounded by the Spanish language for a year, is a whole different adventure that I may not be able to experience again. So now that things are looking up, I’m seeing things clearer – this year is all about trying new things, stepping out of my comfort zone, and (dare I say it) figuring myself out.