This is it. The year is up. At the 12th stroke of midnight will my La Chanca Life turn into a pumpkin or will it be the fairytale ending I was searching for at the start of the year?
In many ways my move to the gypsy heartland of Almeria has been like a fairy story. This time last year I set off to seek my fortune in the city, just like Dick Whittington, but leaving my cat (and the dogs) behind me. My tale has been populated with anecdotes of Moors and Gypsies, the streets of La Chanca with its romantic view of the castle and sea, and the quest for a new life.
But of course, real life is never as black and white as fairytales, and my year in La Chanca is no different.
With the romantic view have come rubbish strewn streets, noisy nights, and at times a sense of isolation equal to being alone in the middle of the mountains. On the other hand life has been colourful and interesting, I haven’t felt in any danger and the neighbours seem to have grown to accept me. Even if I do keep reversing into their wall!
But what the year really has brought me is a much needed change of direction that has re-energised me and realigned my values. I could have chosen to stay in my own home, but I needed something different, an active decision to move on.
There have been times of course when I wondered what on earth I was doing, missed my family and questioned my decision. Sometimes the green green grass of home seemed a lot greener than the view in La Chanca! But looking back over the year, I have had opportunities and experiences here that have strengthened and inspired me. I have survived as a British immigrant on the dodgy side of town, I have kept my links with my home life and friends, and I have two new jobs!
Much of my mission statement that was my very first blog has been fulfilled.
I wrote: “Will I find my dream job, spiritual home or new purpose in life, or will I be desperate to get back to the quiet country life and return to my comfort zone?”
The answer is, yes I do have a new purpose in life, and my new legal business does have the potential to be a dream job. (Teaching does not appear to be my calling but it’s been good to have the opportunity to discover that!)
No, La Chanca is not my spiritual home, but it has a special charm and authenticity and I do love Almeria, with its tree lined avenues, quirky bars and shops and the ever present sea.
I don’t want to return to the country life but I am much more able to appreciate it now. How sad that I wrote a year ago: “I don’t bother to pick my own olives, my oranges fall to the ground uneaten and weeds grow everywhere.” Well right now I am in the middle of the olive harvest and have picked and eaten plenty of oranges! Coming back to my Cariatiz home now is a pleasure.
But I have realized that one year is a very short time when it comes to changing your life. Really, I am just settling into things, and am only at the start of my new working life.
So, my life in La Chanca will continue for the time being, while I establish myself more in the city and my career, and try to build on the experiences I have had this year. That is the fairytale ending – a new beginning.
But this blog is going to be rather more of a pumpkin.
Its time is up. Now that I have recounted the trials and tribulations of my life changing year, the story pretty much continues unchanged, and that doesn’t make for very interesting blog reading.
Consolidation is not the same as adventure, the working life is not the same as the exploring life.
But, I am happy. Writing this blog has been an integral part of my journey, and I’m grateful to have reached this point. And it has been a wonderful experience sharing La Chanca Life with all of you, my readers, and receiving your likes and messages of support. Thank you!
So I say good bye and leave you with some pictorial highlights of La Chanca Life 2019. I wish you all a very happy and rewarding 2020!