The bookworm abroad is a native Brit who divides her time between the snowy wastelands of the UK and the sunny streets, cafes and markets of Nerja. This is her blog…

First Impressions

First impressions are so important; think of the first time you came to Nerja. Now I’m a relative newcomer in the grand scheme of things and can still remember what mine were, just over a year ago, and of course I, like you, added to and altered those initial ideas. It’s a bit of a national pastime for the ex pat Brits at least to interrogate everyone they meet for the first time, although some of my international friends find this annoying and intrusive rather than the genuine curiosity and need to compare notes and establish common territory which probably it was intended to convey.

When I first came I stood back and watched. People were friendly; whilst that is not the same as being friends – those take a bit longer – you probably met people quite early on who went on to become true friends. It’s easier to meet people in an outdoor culture where bars and cafes and outdoor places are full of people TALKING and it entirely normal and generally safe to speak to strangers. As far as I can tell it’s a national Spanish, or at least local, pastime to chat, as often as possible and sometimes as loudly as possible. Here, people have the time and the inclination.

It’s a small town and the ex pat community contains many segments of different nationalities who frequently and happily overlap, preventing that partitioning which can so easily keep the community divided. But it’s also a little bit like a goldfish bowl, and to start with you are on the outside looking in probably wanting to be in, although once in you can then feel all too publicly visible to the others staring in at YOU – I bet you all felt invisible when you first arrived and it dawned on me with surprise that if I was noticing people in the streets without knowing them, then it must also be happening to me!

Nerja itself as a place seems to cast an immediate spell. It’s difficult to find anyone here who doesn’t like the place, or at least did to start with but has now outgrown it (apparently it is possible) and even then it’s a bit half hearted in my (limited) experience as an interrogator of new acquaintances. My excuse is that I’m genuinely interested in people’s lives and backgrounds and takes the art of people watching to new heights whereby you can extract information rather than making assumptions. Fair enough, if you DIDN’T like the place you wouldn’t still be here so naturally nearly everyone you meet here says how they fell for it. But I’m inclined to think that what we do have here is a higher proportion of people who were entirely and immediately smitten by the place, compared to other places.

That people want to be here, and made the positive choice to be, is not only encouraging to newcomers but surely makes a happier and more contented place to live. Sometimes first impressions really do last.

More next time, if I made the right impression……

The BookWorm Abroad

Bookmark Or Email This Page