Calle Pena. (Coloured pencils)


Day 44.

It is a year to the day that I returned home to Dublin.  I’d been away for three years and ten  months, the last seven of which were spent in Malaga, Spain.

I decided I needed to spend some time in a warm southern climate and Malaga fit my needs. I knew so little of `Spain and had not a word of Spanish. In my mind I foresaw a relaxing secondment spent with days of swimming, reading, writing and watching the waves break from my seaside terrace accommodation.

What I didn’t foresee was the incredible difficulty I’d have in trying to find a place to live. The language barrier was immensely difficult and my attempts to grasp enough to facilitate daily living failed me persistently. Try as I wished I couldn’t summon the courage to the words out enough to order bread or cheese at the food market.

It wasn’t happening. Underneath i knew why. I had not gone to Spain to integrate instead I’d chosen a place deliberately foreign to me as I wanted or felt a need to be for the most part by myself. I’d chosen to hurl myself into the great unknown.  I needed the isolation and the time to figure out a great many things. I evidently also needed the hardships.

It was incredibly difficult. I wan’t prepared for what it involved having days to myself with no familiar distractions felt at times punishing the challenges of getting myself established took its toll on my health. Once settled the strain caught up on me the took a couple of months to recover fully from.

But while I was taking it easy the sun that I sought had arrived and I was able to live the life I had envisioned in the London winter of 2013.

Fresh avocados, tomatoes and the sweetest oranges I’d ever tasted I ate happily looking onto my garden of palms serenaded by black birds sparrows and parakeets. The sea had warmed to swimming temps for an Irish person and the beaches were still largely empty on weekdays. I got plenty of reading done and filled several of my thought notebooks. In the evenings I wound down by watching the sun die slowly and followed the flight of swallows across the cloudless  This was my ritual end to each day and it filled me with a great peace.

I made a few wonderful friends. Memories of laughter filled nights clinking glasses of tinto de verano feeling a great sense of discovery  My fortunes were many. I was looked after. I  got to experience the real Malaga, participated in its beautiful traditions and sang songs under the stars in the patio of a crumbling old palace. On occasions I even made myself understood in spanish or so the girls kindly led me to believe.

It all worked out beautifully in a magical unfolding of the unanticipated and the hoped for.


One thought on “Calle Pena. (Coloured pencils)

  1. Suzie – I have gone through your blog once , but look forward to a return and take time over your images and words. What a great idea to set yourself this task of remembering and to articulate so clearly what you see in your own work . Such an impressive piece of work ! Calle Pena – loved the image … so evocative . Thank you !


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