July 21, 2015, by Rachel Bainbridge
My bonds with my friends are the true reason why my stay here has been so special
As I have sat down to write this latest entry to the Year Abroad Blog, I have been hit with a great sense of pain. “Why?” you may ask. “How come?” you may ponder. Well, it is due to the realisation that I am two thirds of the way through my time here in the beautiful Basque city of San Sebastián. Where on earth does the time go? Call me melodramatic, but I just can’t bear to think that I am well over the metaphorical colina, to think that the only way now is down. Part of my reluctance to come to terms with the fact that the end of my time here is visible is down to my connection with the place. One might denounce this as cliché, but it really does and always will have a special place in my heart. However, without a shadow of a doubt, it is my connections to the people here that make me so grateful for the time I have left. My bonds with my friends- no, almost my family, are the true reason why my stay here has been so special, and so ridiculously amazing.
Without hesitation, my biggest and strongest pool of relationships is that of my fellow Erasmus students and language assistants. To say that I have made some lifelong friendships with people from all over the world is something that both excites me and makes me proud; that this normal British guy has managed to appear somewhat interesting and likeable to a number of different people from different backgrounds and cultures. We all get on and have got on (for those who have unfortunately already left) so well, and it truly is fantastic to be able to have a laugh and share some great experiences with such crazy, fun and interesting people. Furthermore, making connections with other Brits, as well as US citizens and Canadians too, has had its practical uses as well as social ones, as they’ve all been a great font of advice and support when it came down to managing our ridiculously stressful lives as Auxiliares de Conversación (and when I say stressful, I mean exactly the opposite. In my case anyway). A few say that they’ll be staying here next year, so I’ll be sure to stop by again.
I’ve also got the people from the Institute in which I work, both students and staff alike, as well as my private students who have been bundles of joy in their own rights, but the two English teachers I have had the pleasure to work with have been the highlight in this regard. To say that they’ve been incredibly kind and very helpful is an understatement. They’ve been my unofficial mentors in Spanish and even Basque, great fun to work with and, most importantly, good friends as well as colleagues. I really couldn’t have asked for much better than what I got when it comes to this.
All that is left for me to say is that I thank God that the world is such a small place these days. It means that, no matter where I am on the planet, getting in touch with these phenomenal people is only a click away or, better still, a personal visit is only a plane ride away. Move over, Pitbull, there’s a new Mr Worldwide!