Monday, 23 March 2009

On Spaniards

Why do so many Brits come and settle in Spain? The main reasons appear to be the glorious weather and the relative cheapness of property and a lowish cost of living - at least, most retirees, who've chosen to live out their days on the Costa del Sol, would probably acknowledge those factors as high on their priority list.

But I feel many of the ex-pat Brits living on the costas often miss out on one of the best things about Spain. With their famous reluctance to learn the language beyond the ability to order lunch and tendency to to prefer all (or mostly) British enclaves when it comes to socialising, they're missing the opportunity to have fun with the Spaniards.

For, based on the Spaniards we've got to know, Spaniards LOVE to have fun and are very good at it. Spanish people are not as smiley and instantaneously friendly as people from, say, Slovenia or parts of Italy. But even the smallest effort at a friendly overture will usually pay high dividends. We've found Spanish people to be warm and inclusive and very generous in their friendship.

In our experience - confirmed by other extranjeros - Spanish people are enthusiastic socialisers and communicators and that's what makes them such fun students when it comes to teaching them English. Despite their well-publicised "sentido de ridiculo" (stupid feeling), which can make them reluctant to try out their English for fear of sounding silly (not something I've particularly noticed, I have to say), they are generally a delight to teach. Their warm sense of humour and exuberant nature turns many an English lesson into a good old chin-wag with loads of laughs thrown in. Whether any English is actually learned is another matter.

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