Monday, March 19, 2012

Merry Christmas?

How honest should you be when writing a blog, I wonder? When I read books, and very often I read autobiographies of people in similar situations to Alan and I, that have taken the somewhat brave/ crazy choice to opt out of the lives we used to lead, and try a totally different life style. These books always have light and shade, laughter and sadness, as their lives change in many different ways. Of course on one hand I could pour my heart out, but on the other hand I will always respect my families privacy, so I shall endeavour to do both as well as I can.
I apologise if I am repeating myself in any way, but I want to remind myself, as well as any readers, that when Alan and I decided to move to Spain, I was unwell. I really had n't simply chosen to opt out, I really needed to, and could not really see another option at that time. Had I not been ill, I'm sure I would still be living in Brighton, teaching my wonderful dancers. Thank the Lord it was nothing drastic, but an illness that just meant I could not perform my wonderful life as a dance teacher to the best of my ability. My son was in a relationship with a lovely lady, and he was a proper grown up. My daughter was younger, and she did come to Spain with us, and with her lovely partner, however as we are so rural, they were desperate for the buzz of a lively town, and went back to Brighton after about three months. I never in a million years thought that a) .... both my son and daughter would separate from their partners, and b)...... each have a beautiful baby girl, (my son, by a different, although equally lovely lady) turning me to become a doting nanny, sadly from a distance!
Last year I was extremely lucky to have my daughter here for Christmas, with her gorgeous girlie Kaci, and plus Kaci's daddy too. However circumstances this year have made me realise that I will never have my beautiful granddaughters with me, over Christmas again! Of course I totally understand that when a couple split up, that the parents have the extremely difficult task of only having part of any special occasion with their child, and that must be heartbreaking. As Christmas got closer this year, this was cementing more and more in my mind.
I tried so hard to think of it as "just another day" but I just could n't and I have to admit to becoming pretty down about it. I was also extremely cross with myself too! I know how lucky I am in life, with a wonderful partner and two great kids and two gorgeous bright grandgirlies. I just could n't snap out of it. I became even more angry with myself when a dear friend told me she was thinking about me over Christmas, when she had lost a son a few years ago. I could nt imagine how she copes day to day, and how dare I feel like I was!!!
Alan was his normal patient caring self, but I was having a low period, to say the least. Luckily over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we had two rather lovely experiences to enable me to take my mind off of things for a little bit.
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve we had a visit from around eight horses including two beautiful foals. We could here bells very close. Usually the mare will wear a bell then the farmers can hear where the herd have "escaped" to. Yes the fencing of our local farmers is very poor, so we often get 4 legged visitors, which I have to admit we love.
Alan feeds one of the foals

Kittens Messi and Xavi come for a look!

So does Rafa the alpaca!
That horse actually became rather special to us, when I finally catch up on my blog, you will read why!!!
Christmas morning I woke up to a lovely catch up on skype with the family and girls. Thank the Lord for whoever invented skype, I say! It is one thing to chat to your children on the phone but to be able to see them, and the children playing and to be able to interact with them is just wonderful! They were both having Christmas dinner with people dear to them and I was very happy about that, I think Alan and I had a lidl chicken, but it was fine! During the course of the afternoon Alan called me outside, we had another visitor. The farmer whose land is closest to us has donkies on it, one had escaped and we had our own "little white donkey" come to see us for Christmas!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My first Zumba Class....... Yikes!!!

Can you possibly imagine my nerves.... not having taught dancing for 4 years, and there I am about to take a brand new style of exercise and dance, zumba, in a foreign country. Where as hard as I try, I still can't speak the language! Stomach ache, running to the toilet, dry mouth and sweaty palms, I had it all. I was so determined to make a success of it. I had worked so hard, with a website, facebook page, posters in shops, flyers given to shops and after a trial run and being too scared to do it I even gave flyers to the mums outside of the local primary school. Anything could happen. I could have 100 people turn up, I could have had none! Luckily for me I had around 25 the first night. I had decided to do a free class. One thing that is against me in Montoro is the fact that the town hall pay some teachers to run aerobics classes in town, plus spinning is popular too, however their favourite form of exercise is a walk round the town, in their matching track suits and their nice white trainers. This of course is also free and they can put the world to rights as they do it.

The night of the launching of zumba into Montoro arrived. The ladies had no idea at all what lay ahead of them in the class. Zumba is huge on the coast of the Costa del Sol, and I thought and hoped I could bring it straight to my new adpotive home town of Montoro. I had choreography my warm up's, dances and cool downs until I possibly could have danced them on my head, and then more. I had rehearsed and rehearsed how I was going to introduce myself too. Sadly the Andalucian accent is not quite the Madrid accent, and I'm not sure they understood exactly what I was saying, I think some was lost in translation, but it was all fun trying. Alan and I have learned if we need or want anything, that we have to ask for, we always start the conversation, in Spanish of course, by saying "I'm sorry I only speak a little Spanish!" This is usually met with a smile! Or on occasions "Madre Mia!" So of course I started with that, however just before starting the warm up, I thought I had told them to "Have fun" but I think it translated as "Have a funny time," or something embarrassingly similar to that! Imagine also taking every "s" sound out of the English language, yes everyone and not just at the end, Yep that's what I was, and still am up against. Plus they seem to be taught like that from being small children. I now know when I said the word "mismo" in other words the same routine again, they all looked at me so blankly until someone shouted "Ahhhh mi'mo!"

The very first week was great, 25 in the first evening class 21 in the morning class, of the same week. Since then I have been struggling in Montoro. Montoro is a wonderful little town, although the sort of town where nothing changes. For example we were looking for tiny swimming pool tiles to use in our oversized bath, that we call a "poolette" sounds posh eh? We did n't want swimming pool blue, but could n't get anything else in Montoro, because no one in Montoro wants anything other than "swimming pool blue." Also they would n't dream of going anywhere other than the local over priced furniture shops, because they always have done, and the ladies still seem to prefer walking round the town, sadly, to coming to my zumba cass. I do however have a small group of lovely ladies that are extremely loyal, and seem to have a great time, and they cannot believe why more ladies do not come regularly. They are super supportive and it is helping my Spanish no end! I will soldier on!

My very first zumba class

First morning class

Poor Geri... again!

Our Geri had her morning walk as usual, and Alan and I were commenting on how well we thought she was doing, especially considering she has arthritis in her spine. She still loves her short walk with Miliko every day. The other dogs have a longer walk , whereas Geri being a slightly elderly lady at nearly 14, and our Miliko being impaired by not being able to pant properly, due to not being able to open his mouth more than 18 mms, means they are thrown together for the short walk, also known as the last walk, and "the thank goodness I need my breakfast walk."

After lunch, Alan and I went through the terrace where the smaller dogs hang out, and we noticed she was limping quite badly with a back leg being the problem. Two years ago Geri had undergone a successful cruciate ligament operation, and this injury looked similar, although not as bad. When Geri damaged her ligament last time, my son Mark had come over for a holiday, and it was the excitement of seeing him, made her run round and round the olive stones, and up and down a flight of stairs. She yelped and the leg immediately just hung limply. This time this was not the case, she was at least able to put a small amount of weight on it and hobble. Poor Geri!

We actually bypassed our usual vet, as we had heard there was a vet that spoke very good English about 45 minutes away. We had previously used a vet in Cordoba who was fantastic, but he spoke no English and we relyed our a young vet being able to attend at the same time as us, to help translate, so we thought we would give another vet a try. The vet pretty soon realised it was the cruciate ligament, and insited it was operated on asap. Alan and I said ok, but we would wait until after Christmas as it was at that point just a few days before. Over the Christmas period, Geri certainly seemed to improve slightly, she was on anti inflamatories and she allowed us to lift her on and off of the sofa, she knew her limits which was good.

After a couple of weeks to took her out to literally walk about 100 yards, then increased it. When she had finished her anti inflammatories we her took her back to our own vet Andres, and discussed the situation with him. I think he would have preffered her to have the operation, but to us she our little old lady, and we really did n't want to put her through an operation unless it was completely neccessary. Now 3 months on she is walking every day on the lead, with Miliko, lies in the sun and soaks up the vitamin D, and looks at us with doe eyes and she just lets us know when she wants on and off of the sofa. From about 8.30 in the the eveing she settles down for the night, and does n't move until around 9am the following morning. Around 10 pm she has a drink, she rests her head on the arm of the sofa and looks at Alan, and he takes her a drink. She also enjoys a bit of a lie in from the boys, who we hear scrambling around about 8 am. Alan or I, depending who needs the loo first let Carlos and Miliko out and Geri settles down for some lovely snoozes! Fingers crossed she will not need the operation, she is not in any pain and is very happy with her life right now..... bless her!

Our gorgeous Geri, being used as a cushion by Miliko :-)