The week we arrived

I hope to write every week about our experiences here in Tortosa, highlighting the key event that happened over the previous seven days. You know, like on Friends, where each episode is ‘The One where Ross did something something’. But on this, our first week in Spain, I could write a post for every day. So much has happened and everything seems momentous!
It’s the week we said goodbye to our loved ones and spent 26 hours travelling to get to Tortosa, a little town on the Ebro River and our home for the next year. We bore the travel quite well really, considering we left blistering Melbourne heat and went straight from the pub to the airport. The movies we watched were a credit to the airline, and we even got a bit of sleep. The internet makes the world seem very small sometimes but travelling by plane for 23 hours, and then 3 hours on a train makes you realise that it is still pretty big. I find that somehow reassuring.
My view on the walk home. Not too shabby!
We are yet to find a house at the time of writing, but we both feel pretty comfortable here. The people are amazingly friendly (and patient with our lack of language), the views are incredible and even though the water tastes rotten (thanks for spoiling us Melbourne), we are getting used to it (or cutting it with juice). The Spanish attitude towards food is very real here – today I googled ‘how to eat like a Spanish person’ and yep, it’s exactly like that. Chatty morning tea, lunch from 2 until 4, dinner from 10. We are yet to stay awake until 10:30…
Some delicious whitebait treats to get us through to Spanish dinner time
This week also marks the week I started my new job as a climate researcher for UERRA at Catalonia’s Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Some would argue that starting a new job 42 hours after arriving in a new country is a bit foolish and I would agree with them. My jet lag made it pretty hard for me to take on any new information about the job or the tasks that lie ahead. However, I did get a bit of admin done, including a swipe card and a bank account. That last one required us to sign no less than 13 forms!
We were in purgatory for months in Australia before our arrival, waiting for our Spanish visas and all important NIEs (National Identification Numbers) to be sorted. More on that at another time, when we can look back and laugh. Already I’m so glad we got to wait at home, rather than going through that process here. There are a few more steps before we can call ourselves legit Spanish residents, and I’m sure there will be more on that later too.
For now, we will force ourselves to stay awake until it is a respectable teatime like 9:30pm, and get ready for the long weekend! Monday is a holiday across Spain, and Tortosa is celebrating with a sunny forecast, a Christmas market and a poultry exhibition. Obviously. Hopefully we’ll make the most of all three. Hasta luego!

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