I took Spanish to heart
Section: My piece of Spain
Tim is particularly fond on a big map of Spain Tim is particularly fond on a big map of Spain Begoña Sánchez

Section: My Piece Of Spain

Spain is more than paella, sangría and San Fermines for some Aussies. Especially for those who lived in that country and, after a while, returned to their homeland.

They weren't tourists at all.

Inside their suitcases, they brought a piece of Spain that will last forever. They tell stories of how they keep alive their piece of Spain back at home.

Tim tries to teach his daughter to be bilingual

Timothy Murphy was crying when he left the airport of Asturias (Spain) in July 1993. Behind him there was 13 years of memories in the country that he will never forget.

Tim kept in touch with Spain by coincidence. He is an Indonesian teacher and loves studying languages. He wanted to study Portuguese, but there was noplace for him. "To get this course I had to initially enroll in a Spanish one. After the first class day I never tried with Portuguese. I took Spanish to heart".

The first time he travelled to Spain was as a tourist, in 1983. He spent six weeks travelling around with three friends. "After the trip I decided to stay, but it wasn't easy. There were too many issues with my visa, so I had to go to many places before I finally I got a job in Oviedo (Asturias) as an English teacher", says Tim.

Timothy spent eleven years in Oviedo. He taught English and even ran his own language school with two colleagues. "I have really good memories about the lifestyle and the friendships from that time", he says, but the most important was meeting his wife, Valerie, and their wedding. "Lots of Spanish people came to our reception. We were integrated into the local community, although we failed to meet real local people from Oviedo", he comments.

Despite being happy in Spain, Timothy and Valerie decided to move to Australia. They wanted to have a child and they thought Australia was a better place. They left, but brought a piece of the country with them. That's the reason at Tim's house Spanish news is watched every day twice on SBS. He also feels passionate about the Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal and the soccer team Real Madrid: "A Spanish friend gaveme the official T-shirt two months ago", he confesses while smiling.

His relationship with Spain has a vast range. He keeps up with friends and he is involved with the Australian Spanish culture. He invites Spanish people to his house and tries to meet with Spaniards who live in Melbourne. "If I didn't practice it, I would lose it". He also makes sure that his daughter Rachel has a bit of grounding about Spanish culture and tries to teach her to be bilingual.

Details from overseas

Timothy's house breaths his lost country. His home is full of momentos from overseas: a Campsa route map guide which he always had in his cars, posters to teach his daughter Rachel the conjugation of verbs, recipe books, cards, pictures, T-shirts and his Adolfo Dominguez wedding suit. "It still fits me", Tim says proudly.

But he is especially fond on a big map of Spain. He can't avoid looking at it often. "I feel I need to get back there", he states with melancholy. Then, he points out on the map some of the cities where he went at that time.

Maybe, these places will be the first ones he will visit when he goes back to Spain again: "This time for holidays".

By Begoña Sánchez

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Spain is more than paella, sangría and San Fermines for some Aussies, particularly for those who lived in the country. Stories of how they keep alive their piece of Spain back at home