4/09/17 – 10/09/17
As I sit at my desk looking out at the clear blue skies and intricate architecture, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed. The majority of people in Belfast/Northern Ireland/Ireland complain about the weather and their jobs and dream about living la vida loca anywhere else apart from where they are. I was one of those people. I hated the rain and hated working in retail and hated the general atmosphere in Belfast. Until you leave it all behind, you don’t realise how much you actually loved it. It’s one of those situations in which you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. People at home are probably looking out at the rain and thinking, ‘why can’t I be lying on a beach somewhere sipping a piña colada?’ I on the other hand, dream of sitting in a house in the middle of the Donegal mountains, with the fire lit and the rain bashing against the window. I wonder how fast my dreams would change if that actually were the case.
I know I’m going to appreciate everything about home so much more when this is over. My family, my friends, the food, the weather. Another thing I really took for granted was the NHS. I’m prone to a variety of health problems or as Marty likes to say, ”there’s always something wrong with you.” At home, I can just lift the phone, explain my symptoms and I’ll have medication waiting for me within a few hours, free of charge. Here however, I’m not registered with a doctor. The EHIC can only be used for medical emergencies, on short trips. I needed an antibiotic this week and fortunately, my flat mate was kind enough to come with me to the pharmacy, where she persuaded the pharmacist to treat me without a prescription. I can’t miss any days at work without a medical note, which I can’t get, so I just have to soldier on. Poor me.
On Wednesday afternoon I went for lunch with 3 work friends, to a place called Woki. It’s an organic food market/restaurant, with loads of vegan and vegetarian options. I had a vegetarian burger with homemade fries and it was delicious. It cost €11 for the burger and an organic cola, which was a decent price for organic food. Marty is finally a working man again, but it so happens that he finishes at 4pm, meaning that he still has time to make dinner for me coming home. I’m not sure if eating free ice cream counts as working, but whatever. With the help of our older German flat mate, Marty managed to convince me to go to Cypsela at the weekend. I had to be convinced, as it’s a boys weekend and I didn’t want to intrude, but Marty insisted that I was wanted and he couldn’t leave me here on my own. Maybe I wanted to be alone.
I met Marty after work on Friday and we took the train to Flaça Station, where we were picked up by the lovely Susan and David, friends of Marty’s family. We arrived at Cypsela at around 8:30pm and met Marty’s friends, Deaglan and Lorcan, at their caravan. We got a takeaway pizza to share and headed to the bar. My digestive system had been playing up throughout the day and my stomach had tight, sharp cramps. It was also bloated, which was both unattractive and uncomfortable. Therefore, I decided it would be best to not drink alcohol. Well, not that much alcohol. I had two cocktails (just to be social) and ourselves and about 10 others jumped into a mini bus that took us to Begur, a little town about 10 minutes from Cypsela. There was a white party on, with a huge stage surrounded by food and drink stands. The atmosphere was surreal, with the smell of mojitos and the sound of traditional Spanish music.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. By this stage, my flare up had gotten so bad that I could barely breathe. Also, I was sober, which heightened my anxiety and made me feel claustrophobic and paranoid. Fair play to those who can have sober nights out, I am not one of you. I was in agony and all I wanted to do was lie in my bed in Lagmore with 3 blankets and a hot water bottle. I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s night though, so I stayed. Not that I didn’t complain, Marty can back me up on that one. At about 3am it was finally time to call it a night, as by this stage I felt as if I needed an ambulance. The mini bus wasn’t heading back until later on, so we had to order a taxi. After finding out it would cost €25 for a 10 minute journey, we decided it would be a good idea to walk. It wasn’t. After about 5 minutes we entered a dark, empty forest, where we decided that we actually did need a taxi.
On Saturday morning I felt a lot better. Marty however, didn’t. We woke up to the sound of thunder and rain bashing off the roof of the caravan, so I decided it was a bed day for me. We got croissants from the bakery and Marty went to watch the football with his friends in the afternoon. We had takeaway pizza again for dinner (one each this time, oops) and got ready for another white party, this time in the camp bar. It was the end of season party, so it was very entertaining. Live music, white decorations and a lot of alcohol. I stayed relatively sober again, to avoid looking 6 months pregnant. We were all minding our own business and enjoying the Macarena and The Ketchup Song, when the singer appeared at Marty, shouting ¡Arriba, Arriba! and pulled him up onto the dance floor. His face was purple. The rest of us got up too and danced completely out of sync to another Spanish song with its own dance (the Spanish love cheesy dancing). We headed back to the caravan at about 3am but Marty and Deaglan went for an ‘after party’ which I was completely fine with, as I just wanted to sleep.
On Sunday morning, I was as fresh as a daisy and once again, Marty wasn’t. That’s what happens when you party to 5am. The sun was shining (thankfully) so we got dressed and sat at the pool and the restaurant for a while. The lovely Susan and David brought us back to the train station and we got the 6pm train back to bustling Barcelona. As we were both absolutely wrecked (and had no food in the fridge), we decided to end the weekend as we started it, with a takeaway. We picked up a Burger King on the way home and lay in bed watching The X Factor, both 10 stone heavier. It was a great weekend spent with even greater people, and that’s one of the benefits of living here. Hopping on a train and going on weekend adventures together, that’s what life is about.