gerund or present participle: basking
noun: Basque; plural noun: Basque
This pair of homonyms (english teacher now!) does a nice job of summing up the last 8 weeks. We arrived in Bilbao early September and managed to find ourselves jobs, a dream apartment and a great community of people who have so far made us feel very welcome. Sometimes I think I've stumbled upon paradise. Well that might be painting it a bit too rosy, as getting set up in a new country is hard work. Between job searching, getting social security numbers, bank accounts, internet, apartment hunting, all in my currently mediocre spanish has been challenging, as well as getting to grips with being a new English teacher. Include also adjusting to siesta hours and getting lost too many times to count, we've been a bit all over the place!
We live in Sopelana, we chose a commute in exchange for a sea view. Metro here is cheap and efficient, and gives me lots of time to read! The upside is that we can literally walk from our apartment wetsuit clad surfboards in hand and be in the water in less than 10 minutes. For climbing we have got a small crag a 30 minute walk away, and then there are tons of good spots reachable by car. We had to bring the trusty little yaris back to Ireland a few weeks ago, and we're currently on the hunt for a new van.
The trip back to Ireland was a bit rushed on the whole, but it was nice to get home sooner than expected and see family and friends, and we were amazed that the journey from Bilbao to Cherbourg was easily doable with one night stop. We got to visit Rennes on the way, having studied so many photos of it in college it was nice to finally enter the cathedral.
For me, living in Sopelana and working in Bilbao allows me to have one foot in city living and the other bare in the sand! I've often wondered how would I reconcile this pull and push relationship with cities, and at least right now this is the perfect fit. There's the Guggenheim, Fine Arts Museum, so many little pintxo bars, the historical Casco Viejo. I get my fill during the week and then spend the weekend by the sea.
And Yoga? Now it's easy to feel inspired to practice in this amazing location, but it was difficult in the first few weeks. When everything was all over the place made it really difficult to keep to any kind of routine, and I really felt the consequences. My back got really stiff and when I tried to climb again everything felt so disconnected. There seems to be a couple of studios dotted around Bilbao and one very close to me here in Sopelana. I hope to get my Spanish up to a level where I can teach here. Now that we're settled and have a sea view I'm excited to get properly back on the mat, especially having learnt so much from Caroline's Yoga this summer. I've taken up dancing lessons at the encouragement of some new friends here, so I'm learning all the caribbean dances, it's great fun! Between this, surfing and skating I'm really enjoying learning new ways of moving.