Today I will take you to St.Feliu, at the Costa Brava, the most beautiful coast in Spain.
It all started in May 2015. I absolutely wanted to go abroad for some time to do an internship. A new language, a new culture, a new job and a completely different environment. Once again, the wanderlust has gained the upper hand.
So I started looking for job offers in Spain on the web and found the site studenjob.at where I found an offer for an internship to work as a waiter at the coast of Spain.
After two telephone calls, where I was tested on my Spanish skills and several emails I finally received the pleasant response: YOU ARE HIRED! Congratulations. I was so excited and I just couldn´t hide it.
The first thing that made me really nervous was the day before I had to leave to Spain. I was watching a documentary about the Restaurant La Taverna Del Mar, the very restaurant very I was about to start working in a few days. The problem was I could not understand a single word.
But why? How was that possible?
Well it was Catalan and not Spanish. I felt a surge of fear. “What if now everybody there talks Catalan and I will not understand A SINGLE FUCKING WORD?” (Tip: Always prepare yourself properly in advance and check important stuff like the language!) not the day before. This way you won´t experience any bad surprises.)
On the 1st of August I took my flight directly to Barcelona since I could not find a direct flight to St.Feliu. My flight was 2 hours delayed and I called the restaurant using my broken Spanish in order to find out if the delay would be a problem.
That was also the time I felt relieved as I realized that people there definitely speak proper Spanish even though they do it very reluctantly and prefer Catalan.
After an awful flight through hell because of the a massive thunderstorm and apocalyptic turbulences which made me feel that the end of the world has finally arrived, the fearless kamikaze-pilot hit the ground with a mighty “Almost-Crash-Landing”. (Tip: NEVER fly with Vueling. If possible, choose a different airline).
As a result of my delayed flight I missed my connection with the bus and I had to wait for 2 hours at the bus station at Barcelona Airport.
I did not have the slightest idea whether the restaurant would still be open to take me in or not. I was already making plans to sleep on the beach and dig a little hole in the ground where I could sleep together with all my bags.
But I got lucky. At half past midnight I finally arrived at the restaurant. Completely exhausted, I received a warm welcome from the whole crew and the manager himself.
Full of curiosity, I could feel the eyes of so many people trying to analyze this blond, straw hat wearing newcomer, who seemed to just not belong here with his long hair and blue eyes.
After that everything was happening really fast. Together with the Mexican guy Jorge, I drove straight to my apartment where I was given a room with a French phone-game-fanatic Quentin, who listens to the same Red Hot Chili Peppers album each day; which became a real struggle for all the members in the apartment.
Apart from that guy, I was living with two polish girls Alicia and Carolina, who always spoke Polish together and ignored me wherever possible and Lidia, a short, strong, mustached but very nice Mexican girl, who slept most of the time.
At the beginning it filled me with great joy. Although I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, for the first time I had the feeling of actually being needed and to be able to make a useful contribution. A feeling that you normally do not get as a full time student.
My Spanish got better each day and I was very happy. Another thing I learned on my first day: If the plate lies upside down on the Paella-pan, that means that people are still eating and you should not take it away. 😉
After two days of work I had my first day off and it was just beautiful. Sun, beach, ocean, my nasty baggy swimming shorts that I found in the closet and the best coconut in the world, I could get to like this place.
After a sleepless night during which I engaged in a furious battle with a giant mosquito that lasted 2 hours, the whole work started over.
I was quick on the uptake that each day has the exact same process and after already two weeks it felt like torture having to do the same stupid routine each and every day. In addition I had to deal with consistent time pressure and the harsh tone which made it evident that:
GASTRONOMY IS A RUTHLESS BUSINESS!
A lot has happened during that month and it seems almost impossible to tell everything. Some stories still should not be left unmentioned:
The day when that guy smoked his joint at the restaurant and it was okay for everybody (?!).
Fabi VS Giant Mosquito Part 2.
The ice shower in the apartment.
The fleeing lobster who ran through the kitchen and got everybody screaming hysterically because nobody could catch it with the long pliers.
My birthday fiesta party was held in the party town of Platja d´Aro, a city’s single purpose is to hold parties. The city comprises of only clubs and nothing else (I had a truly legendary night which I like to recall with great happiness).
The day when my big toe got completely numb because the black patent leather shoes were crushing my toes.
The disco swimming pool with lots of beer and mojito.
My stay at the hospital because of high fever and strong rheumatic pains and nobody gave a damn (¿que pasa con la gente?).
The day when I first dropped an enormous fish plate and then kicked over a water bucket (the day after my birthday).
Snorkeling along the coral reef with lots of cool fish.
Moritz Epidor, the best dark beer in Spain.
The day I put a sea crab into the aquarium with my bare hands.
And lastly the day I learned that Mexicans can get very angry if you express thanks when they give you a ride in their car, because it is natural (“don´t mention it! why do you say thank you hombre?!”)
After a month of backbreaking work it was finally time for El Ultimo Dia De Trabajo. I was proud of myself and satisfied because I learned a lot: how to adapt quickly to a new environment, how to share an apartment with 4 other people and how to deal with the feeling of being completely on your own. I could not wait to come home to see my family and friends and I was extremely happy to come home on the 30th of August.
I made a lot of good and a couple of bad experiences along my internship in Spain, but in retrospect it was all very important for my personal development. Today, many years later, I like to think back to this very special time that certainly left its marks and sometimes become aware of how much I learned in life.
What a great adventure 😀
Have you lived abroad before?
When and where?
Let me know in the comments 😉
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