My summer life
It’s the last day of July, a month that I spent in the place where I used to stay for a good part of my summer holidays when I was a child. I cannot even remember the last time I spent a full month here, it might have been in 2008.
When my dad was a child, my grandparents always spent the holidays in Portugal. Then in 1974 the Carnation Revolution happened and they might have thought that Portugal was not safe at that time or whatever. The thing is that they decided to spend their holidays in Spain from then on, and for some reason that I am not aware of they chose the town of Chipiona. They tested the waters by staying in a hotel the first two summers and then decided to buy an apartment (which, my dad told me, cost 6000 Euro/one million pesetas at that time).
Until I was 7 years old, when my parents bought their own apartment, we lived with my grandparents. They were already quite old at that time as my dad is the youngest son, born when my grandma was 42 years old. They were obviously retired and my hometown is sweltering in the summer, so every year they moved to their beach apartment from mid June until early September. That’s the length of the school holidays in Spain, too, but workers only have one month off, so my grandparents started taking me with them during the summer to relieve my parents burden for some time.
That’s how I ended up holidaying in Chipiona for most of my life. At first I was always with my grandparents and would go to the beach with my grandma and play with my cousins, who also holidayed here. When I was about 14 years old I finally got to know a bunch of friends with whom I spent unforgettable summers until my early twenties. Although I only saw them once a year, I always considered them to be very good friends. To this day I still keep in touch with some, although we rarely have the chance to see each other in person.
And now here I am, in my mid 30s, spending the whole summer in Chipiona. This has been totally unexpected and due to the incident which forced us to leave China, but on the bright side, there wouldn’t be any other way my husband could have spent such a long time here. I still have to work in the mornings, but it feels a bit like one of those working holidays because in the afternoon I can go to the beach or to the swimming pool, thanks to the fact that sunset isn’t until almost 10 pm. Days are long here!
This place has literally seen me growing up, and the people who still holiday here after more than 30 years too. Every time that I come, there are always familiar faces who greet me and know my name and who my grandma was. Coming here always feels like coming home.