So many things have happened in the last two weeks that I don’t know where to start. Today I’ll just tell you about our trip and our first impressions of London.
Our trip to London was unusual and surprisingly very pleasant. First, we decided to avoid the traffic around Madrid and took the Silver Route (Ruta de la Plata) that crosses Extremadura and continues up north until we reached Leon. There we were welcome by our friend Isabel, who has just moved there to study at university and become a vet, and Leo, Isabel’s lovely golden retriever. Both Isa and Leo are settling in very well in Leon, the city and its character really suit them. Isa offered us a wonderful vegetarian meal to show Lorenzo that eating without meat is not that bad and her flatmate cooked a wonderful gazpacho Albacete-style. We didn’t spend much time in Leon, but I started to feel relaxed after the last two crazy months. The atmosphere at Isa’s student flat is peaceful and full of good energy. It’s funny to think that Isa has ended up in Leon because there was a mistake with her selectivity marks and couldn’t go to Cordoba. It seems to have been a blessing in disguise.
The next day, we set off towards Santander in order to take the ferry to Plymouth. We found out that we were the only Spanish people on board; the rest of the passengers were either bikers or people who owned amazing cars. Most of them were over sixty. The views of Santander port on departure were breathtaking. The voyage took twenty hours, but they passed really quickly, as there was plenty of entertainment: a showman singing cover versions of Robbie Williams, an indoor swimming pool on the deck... We slept very well despite not having a cabin because the people were really respectful of each other’s rest.
The arrival in Plymouth was also impressive, so green and picturesque. Then, we had to drive to London. The problem was that the directions we found online sent us through central London and it took us a while to figure out where we were. Finally, we arrived at Sue and Phil’s home, where we are going to stay, at almost midnight. They were really nice and Sue offered us some delicious leek soup and made us feel at home immediately. Their house is decorated in a very cosy style and our rooms are full of light and comfortable. Lorenzo’s and mine have a view to the street, which is very quiet and Carla’s is under the roof and looks as if it came from a fairy tale. We also have our own sitting room and kitchen, so even if we are living with a family, we feel independent. However, Sue and Phil are there whenever we need them and Sue constantly offers us delicious treats such as homemade bread or chocolate cake. Besides, we can park on the street for free, which is a luxury in London.
The next day I met Pam Schweitzer, the person I am going to work for this year. Immediately, I knew we were going to get on well. Pam came to the house and accompanied me to the place where I am going to work: the University of Greenwich Drama Department, which is not in Greenwich but in Woolwich, a very multicultural area near the river Thames, in a building that used to be a swimming pool. Actually, the place is called The Old Baths. There are even rests of the balcony around the swimming pool in some places. Of course, there is no swimming pool anymore, the building has several classrooms, offices and a theatre. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. I met Jason, the caretaker, and Thom, the IT specialist. I was shown the place where I am going to work, a small office on the first floor next to a big window (Thom envies the natural light I enjoy). She also showed me the staff kitchen (a luxury when you have to eat out every day).
Pam is a lovely person, very attentive and worried about our wellbeing. She’s a very talented person, extremely bright, but she’s very approachable and really, really likeable. She showed me the Reminiscence Theatre Archive, which I have to organize and told me about the work I have to do.
My first week at work was intense, with a two-day training session and a trip to Poland. I’ll tell you about it on my next post.
Talk to you soon!