My mother used to work for a Spanish family in Davao City in the Philippines when I was a kid. The matriarch was very kind. She gave me some simple Spanish lessons and encouraged me to learn more. Mama also advised me to learn as much as I could. But I was busy playing with other kids and playing was all I cared for.
Later in school, I learned a lot about the more than 300 years of Spanish colonization and Spain is for sure the country that has influenced my people most. Almost 85% of Filipino words are derived from the Spanish language and even our surnames are often Spanish sounding, labeling Filipinos the Latinos of Asia. Many still consider Spain as the motherland because of the connection and influence it has brought to our way of life, religion, customs and traditions. People are still speaking Spanish or the Filipino version of it, Chavacano, in parts of the Island of Mindanao where I was born.
After getting married in 2014 in Davao, my Norwegian husband and I started to talk about traveling the world. This has always been my dream and my husband too who has travelled a lot since he went to sea in 1962. He encouraged me to never stop dreaming, and most importantly, to act on my dreams. According to my husband, traveling opens both outer and inner horizons and learning languages gives more insight in humanity, and is at the same time a great tool for survival.
We decided first to go to Europe with Spain as the number one destination since I finally want to learn the language I was advised to learn as a kid. In late February 2016, my husband accompanied by his youngest son (24) set out to explore Singapore and London before they ended up in Malaga the second week of March. Their main task was to find a good starting place for me and my husband in Spain so that I could follow a little later.
After finding Fuengirola and Torremolinos too destroyed by mass tourism, they went a little north and found Almuñecar more in line with my husband’s remembrances of how it was when he visited Costa del Sol in the 1970’s.
After checking out some flats on the Internet, my husband sent me pictures and I liked very much one flat close to the beach in La Herradura. We rented it for one year from March 15th, then my husband went back to Davao and we did what we had to do there before my big step into the unknown.
I have met some nice foreigners living here and everyone seemed to love this little town they call ¨magical¨. The book of Renate Van Nijen, Reflections from La Herradura, gave me more insights of the village´s past, present and future.
So far La Herradura is doing fine as a safe base for beginners in Spain. The language is still a great barrier and the locals seem reserved. But they are kind and smiling and when I learn to communicate better, things will be more interesting and enjoyable, of course.
By: Gracela Einarson