torstai 18. elokuuta 2011

Huelva, Andalucia, Spain, Europe, World, Earth, Universum

In March 2010 I went back to Spain to do my internship, this time to south of Spain; Andalucia. Huelva was going to be my home for the next 6 months Huelva might have been the ugliest city in Spain but its people were really friendly. It was really close to the border of Portugal and maybe that’s why I visited Portugal at least 5 times. It felt that Huelva wasn’t a big city but Wikipedia says that the city has a population of 149,410 inhabitants which is a bit less than in Turku in Finland. Oulu has 141,962 inhabitants and i. Huelva’s area is really different comparing Spain in general. The first impressions of Spain for most of the people are its beaches and sun dried lands. Huelva was different. Of course there were beautiful beaches, but the most ecologically important and best-preserved wetlands in the whole of the European Union were close to Huelva in Andalucia. For the first time in my life I saw flamingos in their natural habitat in the Donaña National Park.


El muelle de Huelva

 This time I had a room waiting for me when I got there. I found if via Facebook and decided to take it after seeing couple of photos of it and the landlord/flatmate seemed really cool and nice. When I got to Huelva, I went to get the keys from her working place. I couldn’t understand a word of her Spanish! I’ve heard Andalucian accent before but hers was hard. Patricia and her cat Richard were amazing, and her mother too! On that same day when I arrived we had a lunch with Patricia’s family. It’s a southern Spanish habit to touch other people a lot and I became familiar with that from that day on; when the months went by I started to love it. We had a great time with Patricia for three months until I had to move out because of some unfortunate money problems.

My flatmate Richard
The view from the balcony
After 3 months something interesting, but unfortunately, too private happened and I had to move away from Patricia’s place. One friend of mine knew an “illegal” flat where I could live for the summer. By “illegal” one meant that during the academic year 3 girls were living in the flat but during the summer it was empty. The problem was that those girls didn’t have to pay a rent because they had a grant that covered the rent also for summer although they weren’t in the flat. We paid 100e/month each what was just extra money for the girls. There were 4 rooms in the flat and I got the second best one. The best one had its own toilet and king-size bed. I loved my room! It wasn’t anything special; just a bed, table, wardrobe, drawer and big mirror, but it was really cosy and the atmosphere was nice. It had a good karma.

The view from the second's flat balcony
My flatmates were Honduran and Colombian boys. I have to admit that they were pretty challenging time to time but I learned a lot from South American culture and cooking. I learned how to cook some delicious Colombian food and luckily there was a Columbian restaurant nearby. The staff in the restaurant gave the best customer service ever and probably good food and nice staff were the reasons why that place became our favourite place in Huelva.

There was probably only one thing that I didn’t like in the flat and that was cockroaches. The cockroaches were massive in Huelva! There were jokes about Huelva, how everything is bigger there because of the factories and pollution. I started to calculate my timing to go to kitchen in the night. I knew they would be there between 4-6am. Once we tried to kill one with some spray and it walked towards us about 5 minutes although we sprayed it the whole time. Damn! Probably one the ugliest cockroach accident happened in a Chinese store where we were looking for a bikini with my mum. I took one hanger out of the clothes rail when I saw a terrified look on my mum’s face. There was a 10 second silence before she could say anything and when I saw that massive, disgusting, dirty cockroach walking on my thigh I started to scream like a dying pig. It was interesting to realize how Chinese people hide their feelings. There was nothing on their face, not even an amused smile. The cockroach continued his life, as us as well. Later my mum explained the silence. The cockroach was dangling on the leg of my shorts and it was really close that it didn’t go inside to have a look. My mum knew that if she would have said something in that point, I would have taken my shorts off and maybe then the Chinese would have had their laugh. Enough for the cockroaches.

3 weeks before I was suppose to go home to Finland, the landlord of the flat came behind the door and realized that someone is living in there. Probably they contacted the girls who live there during the winter. I heard them many times after the door and they were even talking to the neighbours. I felt like a criminal. It was obvious that we had to move out. And so started the last but not the least adventure in Huelva. I moved to Casa Bonita.

Casa Bonita doesn't look so amazing from outside

The view from Casa Bonita's massive terrace
Casa Bonita was a famous party house. When I moved in there, 6 people were occupying it already; One Spanish, Swedish, 2 German and 2 Austrian. I was the seventh. I slept on a mattress in the living room. Honestly, those 3 weeks in Casa Bonita were the best times of my life! I just love to live with many people, have someone in the house all the time that you can hang around with. Of course we had our hard moments but in my opinion it was easier to live with 6 European than 2 South American. Probably the cultural differences were smaller or easier to understand.

The best friend of Erasmus-students
After those 3 weeks of partying and beach it was time to go home again. I spent amazing last days in Madrid, freezing. And I was totally frozen in the airport in Finland while waiting a bus. F******! And it was 9 degrees. J That was the first part of my culture shock. Welcome home, Krista!

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