A year in La Chanca

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!

Moving in day January 2019

Sunset over La Chanca
Photography expedition up the mountain where we encountered Buddhist friends
Mum’s first La Chanca visit April 2019
Six months in – July 2019
Neighbourhood fracas brings the police to the street
Nice introduction to singer Sensi Falan at her family bar in La Chanca
The classic view of the Alcazaba from my terrace

15 thoughts on “A year in La Chanca”

  1. Well done Emma, I have very much enjoyed reading about your time in La Chanca. Experiences only enrich your life and the memories in later life will be treasured forever. A very Happy New Year. Much love from us both, Cherry 🍒

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful way to end the year and your blog, although if you change your mind and continue to write of life in La Chanca your followers will be happy. Your story has been an inspiration I look forward to coming back to Almeria.

    Happy new year and love, Julia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Julia, it was such a pleasure having you in Almeria and I look forward to your return visit too! Maybe I will revivi the blog if something extraordinary happens…. We will see what 2020 brings! Happy New Year xxx


  3. Oh Emma – this is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing so many of your interesting experiences over the past year with your readers! Thinking of you now as you move forward into whatever is out there for you!
    Wendy x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Emma,

    Thank you for sharing your first year in La Chanca with us all. I have really enjoyed reading your blog, and will miss your writings, although I fully understand why you are stopping the blog.
    I wish you a very happy and healthy 2020.

    Best wishes


    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

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