Expat Life: Viernes Momentos De Magia / Friday Moments of Magic

Friday

It’s Friday, just gone 7PM- probably my favourite moment on the island.

I’m sitting in a newly discovered cafe (there are so many to choose from!) the beach an arm’s stretch away. Sitting here I face out to sea- beyond the safe, cosy confines of San Sebastian- to the horizon and onwards, worlds away from me.

Friday

I hear funky Spanish tunes from across town, signalling ‘it’s the end of the week!‘. The beat vibrates through town, bouncing off crumbly walls and mingling with the laughter of children and adults alike. Anyone who day trips here on a weekday afternoon would assume there lived no children, a land like Vulgaria in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But now it seems every child in Spain is here. The main piazza is full of them. 4 year olds riding bicycles without stabilizers, whizzing past groups old older children doing handstands, playing football, lolling around on benches. Toddlers taking their first steps, teens their first hands. Chatter, chatter, chatter- I can’t walk more than a few steps without a delightful smile in my face, “Hola teacher!!”.

Where are the grown-ups? They’re perched around the square in groups, having a good old natter, some cranking open a few beers. Every so often their chat is interrupted by a child (could be theirs, could be anyone’s), bumping into the table and showing an incredible stone or leaf they’ve just found, before running back to join the fun. The children are well and truly free.

Back to this cafe, I only have €1.50 in my purse so before I order I check if that’s enough to order te de limón. There’s a bit of confusion but the smiley young waiter says “Yes, te limón, is on eur an fif”- “Oh, fantastic!” I say, and he looks surprised at how delighted I am. Another reminder that the Universe is always conspiring in our favour.

My shoulders start dancing up and down, the atmosphere loosening me up after a somewhat tedious/stressy afternoon with 3-year-olds. Without any common language between us, it’s pure luck if they don’t cry or let me wash their hands before smearing paint everywhere. It’s interesting to watch them interact with each other.

Friday

The soothing waves take me away from my thoughts of plasticine crumbs and sobs over who plays with which train. The clouds are pinky-grey and rest gently on the horizon, slowly edging their way up the sky, like a soft blanket wrapping around us.

It’s a little windy, though, and two women just got up to move inside. Highlights of being a smoker I suppose- 1) you build up weather resistance 2) you always sit outside.

The sand in front of me is grey which even after 6 weeks still surprises me. But it suits La Gomera. I fear golden beaches would change it completely, the free-to-use wooden umbrellas being replaced with rows of plastic sunbeds for 10 bucks a pop.

Friday

I like this cafe too because I feel I’m on the edge of town. As far away from school and students and normal life as I can be in just a 5-minute walk. I like that I save this place for these moments. The other week my colleague said she didn’t want to use up all the roads too quickly, and it’s very true. Apart from The Maldives, this is the smallest place I’ve lived (Somma Vesuviana almost slipping in front). I want to know every street, every cafe and every local who owns it, but I also want to keep this feeling of newness. I want routine and familiar, yet I yearn for discovery and adventure.

Friday

The sky is now a wide palette of pastel blues, yellows, pinks and oranges, a marshmallow blanket tucking us in and ending the week, turning to dark and starting the buzz of the weekend.

The music still plays and makes me smile. I couldn’t do this a year ago. I couldn’t sit in a bar by myself. Okay so I have my cigarettes and my notebook to keep my hands busy, but I’m not anxious like I once was. I’m not fretting that someone will try to talk to me- in fact, I’d quite like it, I’d say “pull up a chair!”.

At the end of the harbour a green light flashes, beckoning an incoming passenger ferry from Tenerife. The town gets ready to shift once again; commuters and students return home for the weekend, tourists unload with their maps. Families walk hand in hand towards the light, some of the kids I recognise. Public school is closed on Monday, so many people are going away for the long weekend. Other visitors pay their dues and make their way to the light, it being the last ferry of the day.

Friday

What is it like, I wonder, to climb aboard and see The Island getting smaller and smaller behind you. I have yet to find out. I have no desire to leave. For once I am content with my lemon tea and ancient palm tree standing tall beside me. I’m alone and not all at once.

I could sit like this for hours, but the colours are draining from the sky and the tables are filling with dining customers. I feel refreshed and ready for my 2 glorious days off, my reward for the hard work this week.

As I’m getting ready to leave, the street lamps flicker on. A gentle reminder La Gomera has my back. I never walk home in the dark.

Friday

My phone buzzes, it’s my colleague suggesting we take an evening stroll, how lovely. We wander towards the harbour, down to that green light. There’s lightening in the distance so we sit down to watch, dangling our legs over the wall, over the Atlantic Ocean. Then our legs take us to a secluded beach across the way where the lights of Tenerife twinkle brightly. Close enough to feel we aren’t stranded here, far enough that it’s outside our bubble.

Friday

Does Friday hold any significance to you? This one in particular for me is the end of my constant laziness. The start of early mornings and resuscitating my forgotten blog. Is there anything you didn’t do this week you can start fresh on next week? Have you been alone and yet not at any point? Where was it? Tell me your stories!

“When you do what you truly love, it wouldn't matter whether it is Monday or Friday; you'd be… Click To Tweet

Hi! I’m Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I’m an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I’m using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

51 Comments

    1. Thank you Brianna! Yes, I’m teaching English in the only English school in town. I teach 3 to 12 year olds and it’s the perfect mix of hard work and bliss. I can’t imagine a life for myself without a daily dosage of children’s noise and laughter. I’ll be here until June next year, though I can’t help but think about staying for a second academic year. Life here is so peaceful. What more could one want?

    1. Thanks Juliette. It’s funny how society and life can make a day feel unlike other days in the week! In Maldives, the working week was Sunday to Thursday. Took my brain some time to adjust! You’re absolutely right there, I’m lucky to have the time to be able to do so.

  1. You are a fantastic writer… Fridays are magic in some way, they are a promise, a beginning and you made a nice story out of them. Such a beautiful account of a simple afternoon you chose to make special. Great reading.

    1. After being afraid to write for so long, thank you kindly for your sweet words. I’m quickly learning that everything is of our choosing, including our perception, and even our own happiness.

  2. San Sebastian, Spain? (an island?) Not exactly sure where you are, but I want to be there too. I like travel blogs that aren’t afraid to just describe a moment, a slice of life, for those times when you are traveling and are just very very aware of your mood, and your setting. Then, the smallest things seem to fit in. Nice job.

    1. Thank you Tom. I’ll go into more detail about where I’m currently living in other posts. But yes, I just wanted to describe a slice of my life as an expat in La Gomera! (Canary Islands) 🙂

  3. Oh well! This reminds me of so many times I’ve been fortunately surrounded by beautiful moments and people when I actually thought I’m lonely; especially during few of my beach trips:)

    1. It is interesting how the brain processes being alone and loneliness. I think everyone ought to spend time alone at some point, its great for growth.

  4. Love your style of writing, it was like a chapter in a novel! Pictures are so pretty, it made me want to take out my easel and paint out the scene. I’ve always loved doing things solo, I occasionally go to the theatre or cafe by myself to catch up on my thoughts!

    1. Thank you Anju, I’m so pleased because this creativity is something very new for me. That’s great that you do! Being alone can be a very daunting prospect at first.

  5. What a wonderful read! I think each of us have a destiny which takes us to places. Circumstances and situations happen to take us to different places. Your spot for a tea on Fridays looks very dreamy to me. 🙂 Enjoy!

    1. Thanks Indrani! I often wonder about the role of destiny in my life. Am I here because I was never ‘not’ meant to be? Or because I made it happen? Thanks again!

  6. This was a beauty to read – so picturesque, I could almost feel and hear the soothing waves lapping at my feet. I absolutely adore how scents, sights and smells take you back to a particular moment. What lovely magical moments. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Fridays to me are a mixed bag of joy for the weekend, but also a sigh if I haven’t accomplished everything. Your pictures are breathtaking and the idea of people watching and being lazy now and then totally had me in la la land wishing I could just veg for a day.

  8. To address one of your questions. I also use Friday to make up for incomplete work from the previous week or simply just to sleep in a bit and enjoy the weekend.

  9. I stay at home if there is no friend who accompanied me to hang out. Alone in one place made me quickly bored, so I prefer a couple others. But in doing a job I could not be with my peers, because I would forget to do my job and will play.

    1. Interesting insight Komang. But alone time is super important. You don’t have to feel bored. Which hobbies of yours inspire or excited you? I find working towards who I want to the be in the future is a great way to spend time alone and not feel bored or lonely.

  10. Loved your pictures. And the lovely message that went along with it. Your observations about people are also quite apt. I could find myself relating to a few here.

  11. That sunset is incredible! Like a willy wonka sky! I love how this post is about a moment, a feeling in time rather than just the usual mumbo jumbo. Really enjoyed seeing life through your eyes!

    1. Thank you! That’s what I’m really trying to avoid, writing like “first I did this then went here then did this and these are the photos” glad you enjoyed!

  12. For me, Fridays are usually days of doing nothing, just come back from work and go straight to bed to watch a movie. I would love to swap, and be a beach in Spain, watching the sunset from a cafe. Today though, I am in Spain, writing this comment from a sunny terrace in Granada.

  13. Aw, felt like I was right there with you. Alone time, especially when you’re in the moment, is really something special. I felt something similar when I was alone in Lombok, Indonesia and enjoyed waking up in my tiny rooftop hotel room and exploring the town on foot. Alone but not really 😛 Beautiful post and I can totally relate to hopping in and out of a routine (currently also trying to start fresh ;))

What do you think? Let me know!

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