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Happy New Year

January 3, 2011 – 9:00 am

Hello. This is my first blog post of 2011. Happy New Year, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, whether in Andalucia, the UK or elsewhere. I was fortunate enough to avoid the snow and ice travel chaos when I flew to England before Christmas by the skin of my teeth, arriving 24 hours before the huge blizzard which crippled so many airports. I hope that those who did get caught up in it (including my boss at andalucia.com) made it to your destinations safely in time to celebrate with your loved ones.

I’ve been writing this twice-weekly blog for a year now (with the exception of August, which was covered by Sara) about life in Seville, the ups and downs of living in Andalucia as an expat wife and working mother. It is a constant reminder, and reinforcer, to me of that you learn new things on a daily basis when living in a foreign country, from local customs and traditions, to language. This is a double-edged sword – it means that life is never dull, and for me was a major reason for leaving London/England; but it also means life can be hard work. We all need little treats, the most important for me being seeing my English friends. Your social network as an expat, always isolated to some degree, is crucially important. If you’re busy and you’re choosing between meeting up with a compatriot or working/shopping/housework, go for the fun option – especially if you’re feeling down (and who doesn’t in January?) and in need of boost.

2010 was marked by economic hardship for many, so let’s hope that this year brings some upturns for everyone. Enjoy the first big festivity of 2011, Los Reyes Magos, this Wednesday. Processions in every town big or small area highlight of the year for children in Spain – although you don’t need kids to join in. With a national holiday (for kids to enjoy their Reyes presents) on Thursday, real life doesn’t start again proper (ie kids back at school for first full week; their first day is Friday, bizarrely) till next Monday.

Happy Reyes, and may 2011 be a big improvement on 2010.

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