I was impressed with the tradition
Section: My piece of Spain
Sarah at Federation Square proud of her soccer team, A Coruna Sarah at Federation Square proud of her soccer team, A Coruna
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.
 
In Spain the most important is being with family and friends
 

Eight months in La Coruña (Galicia, Spain) were enough to change her life. Sarah O'Connor was born in Melbourne and she had never thought she was going to have any connection with that country. In 2006, she was waitressing in Britain, living, having new experiences with her working holiday and then met Jose, a Spanish boy who was also working there...

The love story started with both him and Spain and, when they planned to visit Jose's family, she started to learn Spanish. "I wanted to be able to speak with his mum", she smiles.

Some years later, they decided to move to Galicia, and not only was she able to communicate with her mother in law but also discovered what she calls "the richness of people. The culture was so strong and I was impressed by the tradition. There's always a reason behind the stories and people's habits and I like to understand the meaning. For example, in Galicia, you can find a kind of bread in one town and not in another because of years of tradition. Here it's the same in Melbourne and in Sydney so those places are special".

The biggest tradition she learnt was Christmas. "In Melbourne, Christmas are parties, presents, spending money. In Spain the most important is being with family and friends. It's more about food and religion". It was her first time to know about the Magic Kings, the bacalao and El Roscón de Reyes. "It was really nice for me".

Sarah spent her time in Galicia between classes –two hours every day-, volunteering –she is a nurse- and gathering with family and friends. "In Spain everything was exciting", she says, especially because she kept discovering new experiences.


More relaxed

One of the most important was realizing how people enjoy life. "Spaniards are more relaxed, they live more for the moment and try to find fun. Here we plan every time and everything is a bit serious. It was a good lesson to learn".

Although living in Galicia was easy and affordable, getting work was hard so they decided to come to Australia. "I wanted Jose to have my experience, to see where I came from, where I grew up", she tells. They arrived last May and keep in touch with Spain trough family, newspapers and the Spanish news on SBS. However, the Spanish spirit is so alive that sometimes it hurts. "My mother in law is a great cook and I don't want to follow her recipes. And I don't want to because the taste is so different that it disappoints me".

Sarah also misses casually meeting people in the street by chance because the city she lived in was so small and intimate. "Melbourne is so huge that if you want to catch up with your friends you have to make an appointment or plan one week in advance. In La Coruña we didn't need to. When you went out you knew you were going to meet friends".

 

By Begoña Sánchez
Journalist

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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