Friday, August 08, 2008

08:08 08.08.08

Yep, I am *that* sad. Well, last year on July 7, I stuck a reminder in my phone that today I'd look back at what I was doing this time last year and see where I was.

I'd moved to Spain.

As opportunities go, the chance to move to a different country to work on what was promised to be an exciting project to add to my CV was a tempting one. Despite having spent the previous few months making new friends and getting back into the groove of living in Dublin having spent so long away, I was once again faced with the choice of go and give it a shot or stay and regret not going. I think I made the right choice.

The south of Spain in the summer sunshine is quite a stunning place. I'd moved to the tiny village of Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro, a short trip from Estepona, a few kilometers away from Gibraltar

and a short walk from the top-class resort of Sotogrande, home to millionaires, golfing enthusiasts, yachters and this view, one of my favourites.

It was to be a massive learning curve for me. I'd moved over alone with little idea of the locals, the language or the way of life. "I'll be grand when I get there" was my thought before going. "Sure it's Europe. They'll speak the language. Plus I'll be in an English speaking part". I'd been spoiled by having interviews in English, in flying to Gibraltar (little England in the sun) and by romantic notions that it was going to be easy.

I'd been apprehensive, yes. The night before I left, at his birthday last year, Darren had asked me "Are you sure you want to go?" and it wasn't until the plane touched down in Gibraltar on the afternoon of August 5 that I realised that I had to do this.

I was collected by the company driver to bring me to my new accommodation, a two bed apartment where I could stay rent free for the duration of my probationary period. Was I lucky? I felt blessed.

I soon became used to views of narrow streets, of vibrant flower colours and smells and to the sound of Spain - the second loudest country in the world, apparently. I also fell in love. With a rock. Gibraltar, with its views of Africa, its windy, tourist filled streets and most importantly its English bookstores became a regular destination for me, as I explored the rock, met its inhabitants and sat at pubs in the sunshine thinking how lucky I actually was.

In many ways it was a step into a different life. Things moved at a different pace, to a different beat. The sunshine ruled supreme. We went to a Bootleg Beatles concert where the announcement:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the management have informed us that many of you are using digital cameras and camcroders to record tonight's show without permission. We have to ask you to stop as it's the 1960s tonight and your devices haven't been invented yet".

Funny, but also appropriate in many ways. I didn't have internet access (which for a web addict editor is never a good thing), my belongings took ages to arrive and it took me a while to settle into this new place without friends, family or even the ability to ask for a carton of milk without struggling with the dictionary.

Mañana, mañana was the reason, the excuse and the driving force behind everything. If it didn't happen today, so what? The sun is shining, the water's great. Come on down to the beach. Watch the waves. Relax a little.

So that's what I did. One of my fondest memories is the lunchtime Elizabeth and I went for a walk on the beach, just to get our feet wet. Which sounds like a great idea. And was. because playing in the waves at lunchtime is always fun.

Sitting here this morning in D15 and looking out at the waves of traffic heading to the M50, hearing the sounds of this part of Dublin preparing for another day, I can't help but smile. It's been a good year. I'll do the same next September 9.

Where I'll be, what I'll be doing, whether I'll be in front of a keyboard or transmitting this directly to the interweb using the latest in mind-to-web technology, who knows? All I know is that I'll be doing my very best to enjoy it.

Where were you last year?


  1. Just think, in a couple of years you'll be able to have a lie-in before you post.

    Spain looks lovely. I would put up with a lot to live near monkeys.

  2. I can't believe you were anal enough to even post that at 08.08. Was it at :08 too?? :)
    Spain was a great thing for you & I hope when we reach 09.09.09 that we will look back at now & see how great it is too x

    @emordino lol, yes another couple of years before a dacent lie-in -although it'll be 10.10 10/10/10 on a Sunday morning! Not sure how many people would call that a lie-in :D

  3. I loved this, Darragh. Well, one year ago I was writing in my blog about starting to feel at home in Ireland after a whole year here. Now two years on, and I think I'd probably feel an outsider back in England. Funny how it goes. Do you miss the waves, though?

  4. i love this post. this time last year i was closing down one blog and giving up on blogging altogether :) i had just got engaged and was oh so happy.
    i am still happy and engaged this year and blogging again.
    this time next year i hope to be in my country home growing my own food. let's see what happens...

  5. oh i want to be in spain right now!!
    a year ago i'd just moved back from a year in thailand. i was freezing and miserable. thinking back makes this summer seem much better, actually :).

  6. This time last year, knitting, crochet, handmaking cards, sewing etc were the farthest things from my mind. I was looking forward to finishing my accounting exams so that I could get a high flying job with loads of money. This year, I'm finished the exams but still working as a glorified bookeeper and am wondering how many crochet scarves i'd have to sell to allow me to cut down to a four day week :-)

  7. This time last year I was looking forward to and nervous about my holiday to Canada.

  8. A Chara Darragh
    this time last year i don't think i even knew what blogging was... or twitter... or qik...

    I think I was sitting in a field wondering how ca i make this field look magic...! I'm still there?!!

    slan go foill

  9. last year i was hosting a friend from arizona, going to teh dragonboat races in the bay of Vancouver, moaning about my hair returning curly and almost black (it was bone straight and dark blond pre-chemo), and wishing i was well enough to get on with my life again. I was contemplating turning 45 and leaving a birthday message for The Edge at a fan forum (his bday is two days before mine). I wanted desperately to go see dublin before it changed forever with the proposed high rise and the tearing down of HQ at the Quay, and i was feeling like Neo in The Matrix =should i take the red pill and integrate back into the rat race, or should i take the blue pill and start a new path as life suddenly seemed too short to conform.

    unfortunately, i had to go back to the rat race, but i'm still kicking and screaming about it, and soon, very soon, my partner will retire and i can join the ranks of stay at home wives.

  10. 07-07-07 I was at home! On my own with not a toyboy in sight.... well I think so.... do I have to remember that far back? ;)

  11. Impressed you were posting on the right time. I was thinking about it but decided I'd rather be enjoying watching the numbers come up on my mobile while having a cup of coffee.

    So... only four more years of this fun :)

  12. More than just Spain though, D. It was an amazing year and it's gone so fast.

    Give me a shout and we'll organise a night to reminisce about 2007.

  13. Hmmm, where was I July 7th, 2007?

    Oh yea, celebrating the biggest Bungie Day ever :D