“El mundo es grande pero lo tengo en mis manos.”
It’s been three years since I opened up my blog and I’ve been sat here for nearly twenty minutes now as Alex does our weekly shop trying to put into words how fast the time has flown, how much I’ve learnt and just how much my life has changed since without sounding cliché.
I’ve worked with brands I never thought possible, I’ve taken on job roles I never knew existed, I’ve spoken to the actual government (I know?!) and the community has grown to more than I ever would’ve ever imagined.
I’d be wrong to say that my life has completely changed and everything is completely different, because it’s not. We’re the same people still wanting to take on adventures, see the world and find ways to help people every day, whether that’s bringing information or bringing a smile to somebody’s face by saying hello and a simple smile. We take everyday as it comes and still try to find the positives every single day.
Three years ago, I sat late at night with Rio as a puppy curled up on my lap and Alex asleep on the sofa in the living toying with the idea of opening up a blog. I’d been playing the idea over and over in my head for a few weeks, but I finally decided to take the plunge. I wasn’t really sure what would happen. How it would play out. I hadn’t even really given the thought of a blog name or what I’d even write about. Maybe in hindsight I should’ve thought about it some more. Did I want to be known as Diary of a Spanglish Girl? I probably would’ve chosen something different if it was now, but, a rebrand just isn’t on the cards for me. Instead, I’ve always wanted a Hannah Montana lifestyle, and now I have it.
I hadn’t given too much thought into what I’d write about, and truth be told, I didn’t have a lot of experience on the writing front. I had no clue that things I was writing would be ranked on Google or how I write would be judged by Google. My first post had about fifty people read it and I was petrified. Petrified and over the moon. I had put myself out there and taken the first step to doing who knows what. I honestly didn’t think that three years later, I’d still be here penning articles as Diary of a Spanglish Girl.
I hear every day that our blog has made somebody’s day or that the information we’ve provided has been invaluable and it’s overwhelming to think that back in 2018, 50 people were reading my posts, now, it’s had nearly half a million visitors. Half a million people who I hope have either found comfort, been entertained or found information regarding Spain and travel general information being more accessible.
Is there a bigger credit to your writing and translating abilities than to receive a complement from the Spanish government thanking you for your efforts? Are there greater opportunities than becoming the ambassador for your city and being interviewed for the British Embassy in Madrid talking about your connections with Spain and the U.K.? All of these things would have never happened without my blog, and never happened without the love and the support that all of you show us every single day.
One of the reasons I opened the blog was because I was starting to feel loneliness creeping in. The honeymoon period in Benidorm had ended and January turned colder and quieter and for the first time I realised we were here, alone. We didn’t have any friends. We had no family nearby. My family had been over pretty regularly and once Christmas was over, it was the realisation that we were solitary. Memories would show on Facebook and we’d question if we had done the right thing. No more games night with our closest friends, made worse by the fact that their baby was growing older without us around. No more Sunday walks with Marley. We’d both moved out of home and moved in together for the first time and it was scary. It was real and scary.
Three years later, and we don’t feel so alone. We open up social media and there’s hundreds of people to say good morning to. There’s hundreds of people saying we’ve made their day or made them feel a little less alone. It’s heartwarming to know that through it all, we’ve all got one another. It might make your day speaking to us, but it makes our day just as much speaking to you.
I’m forever grateful for my blog providing me with so many life skills that have enabled me to build a career. As a social media manager and marketing assistant working towards a further move up the career ladder, I’m forever proud that I’ve taught myself the skills needed to move into marketing and shape my own career. I’ve taught myself HTML, I’ve taught myself how to run a social media campaign, I’ve created various content. I’ve learnt about analytics and SEO and keywords. These things were all a foreign language to me three years ago, yet here I am now, doing it.
I told my mum over ten years ago that I wanted to run the social media accounts for Tesco (at the time I was working there as a checkout operator). It didn’t even sound like a real job. Being able to write tweets and whatever else it was they did. Granted, I’m not running the socials for Tesco, but I’m doing that job today and so much more. Things I never even knew how to do before my blog.
In the past three years, Alex and I have been on so many adventures around Spain and Europe (and a quick trip to Florida and New York), and being able to take you all along with us has been a wonderful thing. We’ve shared laughter, tears and everything in between and I just wanted to say: thank you. Thank you for the support. Thank you for being there for us. Thank you for giving me a voice and thank you for trusting in us.
Whether you’ve been following my blog for 3 years, 18 months, 12 months, 5 months, 3 weeks or 2 days. I want to thank you.
I have been so in awe when people have stopped us in the street to ask for a photo or to thank us for the support and help. We have received so many lovely messages, letters, gifts and it makes me fill up when I think of just how much care and support you’ve shown us. I’m sure when restrictions lift, there will be so many more people to stop and have a quick chat with, or a photo with that neither of us will ever feel lonely in Benidorm again.
Nobody could’ve predicted the craziness that 2020 brought and continues to bring in 2021. It’s been an incredibly tough year for so many people, but if there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it’s that we have one another. I’m so grateful that my video might’ve reached your Facebook timeline and it brought you to your happy place. I’m so grateful that my posts about Lockdown in Benidorm brought new friends and brought comfort to old friends. I’m pleased that Rio brings happiness to you all, like he brings happiness to us every day.
I’ve always been one to chase the next challenge. Never satisfied with a finish line, always wanting to do that little bit more. Push a little bit harder. So, what’s next for me? I’m currently writing a fictional novel set in Benidorm and although it’s going to be a long road, I can’t wait until it’s finished to share it all with you.
It has been a crazy ride and I think it’s only just getting started.
With so much love,
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I want to dedicate this post to our family (Mum, Dad, Oliver, Julie) who have provided so much support and believed in my blog, even when I didn’t and have always been happy to be involved in whatever venture we’ve decided to take and given so much advice when we’ve needed it. To Alex, who every single day makes me laugh and looks out for us and is always finding new ways to make things normal in the crazy world we’re in. To Rio and Marley for the never-ending cuddles and love whenever you need it. To my Nan, an avid reader but gave up reading books to read my blogs and the support. To our friends for keeping us sane (or making us even crazier). And, to my Grandad who is somewhere now saying “I knew you could do it, my old flower”.
A special mention goes to our Patrons (in no particular order): Andy, Colin, Kim, Wayne, Carol, Karen, Scott, Anna, Anne, Janice, Julie, Linda, Sally, Sam, William, Adele, Andrea, Ann, Catherine, Jackie, Leanne, Marion, Nadine, Sarah-Jane, Vicky, Alana, Adele, Ann, Barbara, Brian, Helen and Lisa. With your support we’ve been able to get better equipment and cover the blog fees so a huge thank you. By joining our Patreon, you do also get a monthly Spanish article on the platform and some tiers receive different merchandise and handwritten postcards (which are coming again soon but with current restrictions it’s been difficult but we have noted that we owe you one!).