This year was very special for me because I spent 8 months working in the south of Spain in a small city called Granada. I moved there because of Antonio Banderas. Well, kind of. I actually worked as an Animator on a film he is producing called ‘Justin And The Knights Of Valour’ due out next summer (you can see a preview of the movie here). My coworkers were from Spain, France, Italy and even Denmark. I was the only native-English speaker on the crew, but I never felt left out. People were so warm, friendly and accepting of me, so I felt like I always had a place in my new adopted country (where I couldn’t understand the language). I will never forget the kindness and generosity that was shown towards me, especially when I needed it most.
Granada itself is a wonderful little city. It is enriched in history that varies from Moorish (the Alhambra and the ‘Albaycin’ neighbourhood) to Spanish. Walking in the Albaycin is like going back in time as you can still see Arabic shaped doorways and mosaic patterned tiles on the walls. Flamenco originated in this area, so it is a very special place. And for those who don’t know, ‘Granada’ means ‘Pomegranate’ in Spanish, which is considered a sacred fruit in many cultures. (You can see more pics of Granada in my previous post here.)
I have a lot of memories that I take with me from my time there. Some memories include: swimming in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, experiencing a sorching summer with a daily average of 40C (104F), celebrating Spain’s Euro Cup championship, partying until the sun comes up (and sometimes even later), and rescuing ‘Pumpkin’ a tiny street kitten (who was adopted by a lovely Spanish couple).
When you live in a different country, you tend to adapt to your surroundings. So, I adopted a Spanish way of life… I slowed down. I learned to relax. I learned to take my time. I learned how to be happy with having very little. I pushed my personal boundaries, I made mistakes, and I learned a lot about myself. This was the first time in my life where I can actually say that I felt truly relaxed, and truly happy with who I am. I made lots of new friends that made my time here unforgettable, and I learned how to love again. Granada was a very meaningful experience for me, and one that will be in my heart forever.