The Article Was Published on Erikawithak.me
Traveling and moving around has always been something that defined me. My mother used to tell me that I am unstable and unable to completely assimilate a culture. Somehow, she was right because I kind of lost the idea of home when I was 7 years old and left my grandparents’ countryside house. That feeling didn’t come back to me when I moved to the US, England, Wales, Dubai or Germany.
I am still not sure I feel completely in my element, but now I am the closest I have ever been to feeling at home. Spain, and more precisely Tenerife, is the tiny piece of land that gives me the feeling of cosiness I have been looking for all these years.
Welcome to the Island of Eternal Spring
Right before I moved to this intriguing island, I was living in London with my boyfriend. We were struggling with the weather, prices, tiredness and stress. To be honest we were losing it and we had no idea what we wanted to do with our lives. That’s when, out of nowhere, I got a job at an Irish company that needed a content writer in their new office, in Tenerife. Neither I nor my boyfriend knew more about it than the fact that it’s part of Spain. We had no idea that it was closer to Morocco than to Spain, or that the winds of the Sahara visit it quite often.
For me, it was love at first sight! I was not amazed by the weather because I was expecting it. I knew I was going to the island of eternal spring. What actually conquered my soul was the atmosphere. The first thing I’ve noticed was that people were happily going to work. I’ve seen people happily leaving their office, but never the other way around! Who laughs out loud when having the before work coffee? Well, Canarian people do!
Good Wine, Good Food, Good Times
Though it was love at first sight, I have to admit that it wasn’t too easy to find a good apartment and to do all the paperwork I needed – especially since I was coming from a place where everything moves extremely rapid and you don’t really have to struggle to get things done. Well, in Tenerife nobody is actually in a hurry, and the idea of “not doing today what you can do tomorrow” is quite popular. I have to be sincere and admit that it was a bit difficult to get used to that. Fortunately, the fact that the food is delicious, the wine is tasty, people are happy and there are fiestas at least every two weeks helped.
Fiestas and siestas are two things people here really love. And while I don’t know how much they enjoy having a siesta, I can tell you that they love their fiestas. The biggest one is in February, the Santa Cruz Carnival. It’s the second carnival after the famous one in Rio de Janeiro, and it offers locals and visitors two amazing weeks of drinking, dancing, parades and all kinds of fabulous concerts and spectacles.
But while I like a nice party once in a while, when I am asked what my favorite aspect of the daily life in Tenerife is, I always think about the food. I am one of the biggest seafood aficionados. But fish is not everybody’s cup of tea, is it? For people who don’t eat whatever comes from the sea, there are a vast number of restaurants that serve all kinds if dishes, and most of them are mouthwatering. And guess what? The prices are actually far from being high. You can eat something delicious for about ten euros and have a beer for less than two in the center of Santa Cruz. Not bad, right?
However, though I like eating out a few times a week, I truly enjoy buying the ingredients I need from the farmers’ markets and cooking healthy meals at home.
Now, though it might sound great for some, people here don’t only go to the beach, eat and drink all day long. Tenerife is not like London, Paris, or Berlin, so besides the fiestas and occasional concerts or spectacles there aren’t too many museums, art galleries and cultural activities here. For these kind of things we usually travel to the mainland.
What we do here are outdoor activities, of course. Fishing, windsurfing, diving, sailing are just some of the things people do for fun in Tenerife. There are also amazing golf fields as well as hiking routes with incredible views on the way. Well, we have Teide, an active volcano and the highest mountain in Spain, so hiking can be quite an experience. I guess it’s not all about fiestas and siestas, after all!
Living la “Vida Tranquila”
I’ve never met anybody who moved to Tenerife and regretted it, but I know people who tried to leave the island but could only stay away for a little while. Why? Well, to be honest, the economy is not good at all, but somehow people have a more relaxed way of living. They are not rich but they smile more, they look healthier and they have more time for themselves.
I don’t know if I will stay here forever because forever is such a grand word. But for now, this tiny island has something no place I’ve been had. I am not talking about the views, the food, or the weather. While these are very important, the main reason for me is the culture, the small Canarian culture. These people still have that genuine hope, the unbelievable love for themselves and their well-being. It looks like people in Tenerife get more out of life and that is something I want for myself. Because, after all, life should be enjoyed like the amazing carnival it is, shouldn’t it?
Photo Credit: Ioana Radu