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Thursday, August 13

“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I recently read that nearly a third of British immigrants (I do not like the term Ex-Pat) living abroad have no local friends and refuse to venture beyond their native friendship groups.  This is surprising to us, as it seems there are always complaints in the British media that immigrants, who have chosen to live in the UK have created Ghettos and do not integrate with the English community. To my mind, the matter of integration within another culture requires will on both sides.
  The same research found that more than a third of Briton living abroad have not learnt the local language and 1 in 4 were uninterested in local customs or cultures. Again this must really depend on where you live, most of our fellow immigrants here be the English Dutch or German have a vast knowledge of the local way of life.  Our fellow immigrants were most helpful on our arrival, pointing us in the right direction, and steering us away from the wrong direction,  be that as may, our move to Spain was about a different way of life and trying to adapt and submerge ourselves in a different culture.  Of course we socialise with our fellow immigrants but not on a day to day basis, in fact not even on a week to week basis.  One or two we bump into in the local market on a Saturday bit generally there are odd gatherings of the clan a few times a year, we may meet for coffee every few months and, as a matter of fact, we are having a gathering of the clans next week. Our way of saying thanks for the help and friendship over the past 15 months.  We have never underestimated the advice given by those who have already made the move.
BUT  its our local Spanish friends who have taught us the language, taught us the way of life and given us experiences we could never have had, had we not embraced our community and more importantly had they not embraced us.

Our new friends have welcomed us and our poor grasp of Spanish with open arms, always a smile and a helping hand.  So it was with an equal amount of pleasure and trepidation that we decided to hold our first ever Finca La Ciguena party for our local friends.

I consulted my closest friend regarding the food and she duly sat down and sent me to the supermarket with a list of ingredients.  Then the night before the party she arrived with her sister in law and we all set about preparing for the next day

Console my dear dear friend here, her sister in law Rosa and the fat birds me!

There was chopping and peeling and lots of laughter.  

The following morning I was, to be honest, VERY stressed, 22 people turning up, 22 Spanish People who spoke no English!

What if they did not like the food, what if I got Spanish brain freeze!

How was I possibly going to prepare everything in time. 

 I forgot, this is Spain, here in Spain your kitchen  belongs to anyone, no territorial issues here, and  45 minutes after they were due ( that's an early late) the various cars started to arrive.

The ladies decamped out of the cars,they were all carrying saucepans and plates of one thing or another.  I was told to calm down and put on the music, suddenly my kitchen was full of women chattering and getting on with it. True friends

and when the ladies say HE's a good chef he  is allowed to stay

Then the generator was turned on and the meat prepared and cooked outside on a griddle which one of the ladies brought it with her, as it was quicker than my stove.  I also learnt that my pans etc really did not stand up to cooking for large Spanish families, making a note to add larger pans to the shopping list.
I set about laying the tables and letting them get on with it, just rushing to the pantry when an ingredient was requested.

Eventually we sat down to

  • Calamaris, ribs, chicken, pork, salads, potatoes, bread, chorizo olives and loads of other stuff, followed by MY CRUMBLE!  flans, cakes, cheesecake. Lots of drinks and laughter.

Blane with his best buddy and our dearest friend Miguel

My Spanish went to pot at the beginning, as I tried to say welcome to our house, Bienvendido came out as vienvienndooooooo.  I  had also prepared a speech, telling our  friends how important they were to us, how they are like family, but two sentences in I cried, oh the bloody embarrassment, but they cheered and clapped and as always made me feel OK
Eventually everyone left at 3 am in the morning and all appeared to have a good time.

A few days have now passed.........Mmmmmm  I think we will  have another one next year.

As a footnote, what I loved about this party the most, was that it was about the people, not about the house, not about the colour of your kitchen or the quality of your kitchen cupboards ( which is a good thing as we have curtains) no it was about us and them, the food and the drink



  1. That just looks like an amazing time, you are so brave but then again you have great friends. How's the Spanish coming along?


    1. Hi Not too bad. There are days when it just flows and others when I can barely get out Adios!