Phase 1: out for drinks

So, tonight, for the first time since 13th March, we were allowed out for drinks. Having been quite nervous at the start of the quarantine period, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be up for drinks on the very first occasion we were allowed out, but after more than two months inside, it felt like such an occasion that it really had to be celebrated. So I arranged to meet up with my friend Jessica near her house in Ruzafa.

Now, the problem with Ruzafa is that it’s one of the places to be in Valencia, particularly for the hip international brigade. And the problem with Jess and I arranging to meet up there is that we both worked until 8.30, so by the time we’d finished, quickly got ready and (in my case) walked there, it was almost 9.00, by which time all the terraces (with their reduced capacity) were full. We wandered around for a bit, slightly surprised at how many bars hadn’t opened at all, and then decided there was nothing for it. We’d have to go elsewhere.

Elsewhere was a toss up between Monteolivete, where I live and El Carmen. We decided on El Carmen, partly because there’s more life there and partly because we knew a friend was already there and we hoped he might have a table we could join. The first of these premises turned out to be entirely false – almost every bar was closed – but fortunately the second paid off. Mariano came to find us in the Plaza de la Virgen and led us back to a bar I’d never been to before, where we managed to get seats and drinks. What more could we ask for?

What more we were given was a very drunk Mancunian who declared that True Colours was his favourite song ever when for some inexplicable reason I showed him a video of me playing it on the ukulele. Mind you, he also declared that his father was Jimi Hendrix, so that probably tells you all you need to know.

It felt a little strange to be sitting outside again sipping a glass of wine in a (somewhat divey, if I’m honest) back street, but it was also good to be with friends and to feel normality starting to return (although only being allowed into the bar one at a time to order didn’t feel quite so normal).

And then we walked home through the oh-so-quiet streets and things didn’t feel so normal after all. But it was good to get out, good to see parts of Valencia I hadn’t visited in two months, and good to drink in company with friends.

And if you were hoping for an update on the Pedro situation, I’m sorry. All I will say is that yes, I have seen him. And yes, he is great. And yes, I am feeling very happy right now. But that’s all.

One way or another, life has changed. I have changed. Jessica said this evening that she saw a side of me she hadn’t seen before. I’m going to take that as a good thing. 

How things will shake out in the longer term remains to be seen. There are lots of questions still unanswered, about work, about life, about home, although the home questions are starting to come together, and all being well I’ll have a new roommate in just a few months’ time. But isn’t that the fun of life? If we knew everything that was going to happen, it would be boring.

Life here is never boring. Long may it be so.

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