Life in Girona
Well, I’ve been in Girona for about just over a month now, and things are going great! So I thought I would write a short post to give an update on what’s been happening on the other side of the world. I posted a photo on Instagram of an oven roasted chicken I prepared for dinner, with a honey, soy and mustard seasoning. One reaction I had to that post was “welcome to ‘adulting'” which I did think was funny, but also true. Still, I know plenty of adults who don’t look after themselves cooking nice meals every night of the week…
Anyway, besides my training, (which has been going great), here’s the other adulting things I’ve been doing, which were seemingly non existent in 2016.
I now have a Spanish residency card. This means that I can legally reside in Spain/Europe for a duration of longer than the Schengen Agreement of 90 days. This can also be renewed after one year for an additional two years, for a total of three. It was a long and stressful process to obtain, but it was even more stressful without it last year, and worrying about the fact that I needed to be staying in Europe for longer than 90 days. I thought I had everything sorted before I left Australia, but it turns out there were a few more steps to be completed after arrival in Spain. These final steps turned out to be rather difficult, but with some help from some local representation, things got taken care of.
I also now have a Spanish phone number! (If you want to get in contact with me, send me a direct message through one of my social media platforms to get it). I didn’t have a Spanish sim last year, and survived purely from free Wifi and the fact that nearly everyone has iMessenger. My Australian number worked, and I had it in case of emergency phone calls, but that was about it. Usually it would ring at 2-3am in the morning from Australia, usually telemarketing or my bank asking why all this money was being spent in Spain. Being locked in for a two year phone contract in Australia when you spend more time overseas is not fun.
And now I have a European Bank account, so CBA doesn’t need to call in the middle of the night. Last year I didn’t have even have one, so every single transaction had additional transaction fees and ludicrous exchange rates. It’s also important to have a European account to pay bills, such as rent. The Spanish phone number and bank account go hand in hand, in that you need the phone number for security during bank transfers, and you need the bank account so you can pay for the phone bills. So you can’t have one without the other.
The day after I arrived, I went to a few bed shops and bought myself a nice queen bed that I liked. It was a good thing I did it immediately, because it took nearly 3 weeks to arrive. Spanish delivery I’ve found can be stressful, and at the time of ordering I only had my Australian number, so I had to keep that plugged in until the delivery was made. If they can’t get in contact to make a delivery time and date, who knows when the thing will turn up. Rumour has it that many items get lost in the Spanish post, but surely a large bed couldn’t go missing, could it? It was about 9am in the morning when I was about to get kitted up for a training ride when my phone rang.
“Brendan, is that you…?”
“Hello, yes this is brendan”
“I am from bed. I bring bed now, at 11, ok?”
“Ok, see you soon”.
That’s how I remember the conversation, and it’s a good thing I wasn’t already training. There was no way I was going to risk being out from the apartment until this bed was delivered, as I had been eagerly awaiting its arrival for some time now. I ended up leaving for training at about 1pm that day, and got home just before the sun started to go down. But at least I had a new bed waiting for me.
The apartment was reasonably well furnished, and most necessities were already in place thanks to my two roommates, but my bedroom was a little bit bare and in need of some TLC. I’ve still got to decide on a few more items to finish it off, but it’s nearly there. Which is good timing, because in less than two weeks I head off for my first race, and things will be pretty busy from then on.
It’s early days, but so far so good. I mean, I haven’t even had my first race yet, but I am feeling good about things. Looking back at my training in Girona from 2016, I realised it wasn’t to the level it needed to be. My biggest training week was barely over 20 hours. And my best training happened when I stayed in Boulder, Co. Was this because I didn’t have my sh@t sorted in Girona? Maybe. I don’t know… but things are sorted now, and all my time and energy can be spend towards being prepared for the upcoming races.
These tasks may appear extremely straight forward and a normal part of life, and I agree. But there’s an expression here where you can ‘get spain’ed’. Being a foreigner, things are just a little bit harder to get done, and everything takes just a little bit longer than you’d expect. One thing is waiting on another thing, which is waiting on another thing, which is waiting for something you didn’t even know had to be done. That’s the general theme. So for me, getting these things all out of the way feels like an accomplishment.
Anyone who has been following my Instagram posts will see there has been a few mountains climbed! Girona certainly doesn’t have its shortage of training options… And with a forecast for 24 degrees tomorrow, it’s nearly time to break out the sunscreen 🙂
Thanks for reading,