When Andrew and I found out our placement for Auxiliar de Conversación would be on the Northern Cantabrian coast, we were, of course, stoked. But we were excited because we had been placed in the same town, in different high schools (hey, we need a break from each other every now and then) that are located around the corner from each other. I didn’t really think too much about living in a beach town, with an ocean view from our balcony.
I’m not exactly a beach person. I’m still not really. I like mountains, hiking, green patches of grass, meadows and turning leaves in autumn. The beach is a cliché. Where does everyone go on Spring Break in the great State of Alabama? No thank you, Panama City, send me to Utah, where the snow is three feet deep. Strap me into a snowboard and send me hurtling up the side of a mountain so I can tumble back down it. I don’t want anything to do with your skimpy bikinis and tropical flavored calorie dense fru-fru mixed drinks. I prefer hot chocolate and warm gooey cookies at the Johnson Mill.
Recently though, I have a new found appreciation for a life right next to the sand. I am enthralled with the beaches here in Northern Spain. I arrived a little jaded by Gulf Shores, but I find the ocean waves here much more peaceful. The beach in Laredo is long and incredibly wide, with space for everyone. There are no frat boys drinking beer after beer out of a cooler and staring at stupid, young, scantily-clad women as though they were meat. The water is clean and clear and an aqua blue-green. People walk along the water everyday, indie burn outs try to surf, and puppies splash happily. Sometimes we run or walk close to the water, close enough to get our socks wet, and then I am thankful to live in Northern Spain, where I can see green mountains while my toes are wiggling in the sand. Truthfully, we have the ultimate of both extremes. Mountains literally surround us and I even hear rumors that there are ski slopes nearby. And outside my window, waves crash against craggy cliffs and I don’t have to make a choice between mountains and surf. At least for 7 or 8 more months.