It is one of those typical Sunday afternoons in Jávea. I am catching the last rays of sun on the beach while analyzing what’s going on around me. The evening market has just started on the boulevard; it’s a lovely sight. Homemade jewellery, braided dream catchers and painted rugs decorate the wooden stalls and lure dreamy tourists from the beach. Young people enjoy themselves with organized volleyball tournaments, while the terraces are being filled with tanned couples enjoying a local Aqua de Valencia. Meanwhile the Montgó and the pink palette in the air form a beautiful backdrop for the weekly flamenco show. The last sunbathers consult their plan for the evening. Do they stay on the lively boulevard?
Will they eat some tapas in the picturesque old town with its narrow streets, historic buildings and romantic lights? Are they going to spend their evening in the beautiful harbour, where you can enjoy a fresh fish while overlooking the bay? Or will they end up in one of the beach clubs drinking cocktails? It’s a luxury problem knowing that whatever they will pick, they can’t go wrong.
I don’t have to make any of those ‘complicated’ decisions today. As I pick up my book and shake the sand out of my hair I think of my night ahead. I have just spent my day reading property reports and I am now heading to a barbecue at my family’s home, located at the foot of the Montgó. Many friends from different countries will be there. The ones that grew up here, the ones that moved here and the ones who are just on holiday.
It is going to be the kind of barbecue that always reminds me of a Bertolli commercial. We will sit under the pergola, bottles of red wine and candles will fill the table, vegetables and fish on the grill, and the neighbour; who used to be a chef, will pass by to serve some homemade paella.
Lemons will be picked from the trees in the garden to be put in the water jugs and the dogs will patiently wait at our feet, begging for a sausage. We will eat and drink until we are tired and ready to go back to our casas.
As I make my way from the office to the car (that will take me to the Bertolli barbecue), I realize how different life is since l moved to Spain. The contrast is huge. Sweaters and jeans were swapped for shirts and shorts, umbrellas for parasols, industrial offices for the ones with sea view. Stressful traffic mornings were swapped for tranquil rides through the hills and paying more for less became paying less for more. From ‘being lived’ I went to living.
With the sun on my skin and the sea as my background, I made Jávea my home, and it is one of the best things I’ve ever done.