Goodbye to our first home together, and friends so special to me. Goodbye to getting lost on city walks, your enchanting architecture, and every corner that holds memories both happy and sad.
Goodbye to your music and creativity, to street musicians, artists, and galleries. Goodbye to the noise of traffic, sirens, protests, and celebrations. Goodbye to busy terraces, to always waiting for a table.
Goodbye to our favourite parks, to watching leaves change with the seasons. Goodbye to the river we watched flourish with life, always bringing joy. Goodbye to the rose garden, forever with a sweet scent.
Goodbye to the doctors who took such good care of me. Goodbye to memories of lockdown; of clapping with neighbours unknown, our busy roundabout becoming a peaceful plaza, and of falling back in love with you. Goodbye to my ended teaching career. Closure.
Madrid, Thank you for the adventure. We’re going to miss you. But we know you will always be there, ready for a visit. No es un adiós, sino un hasta luego.
It’s time for a change, a fresh start. For cleaner air and a change of pace. To be close to the ocean. Time to focus on our future and explore somewhere new.
Dénia, we can’t wait! Please be kind to us.
My partner and I recently moved from Madrid, the capital city of Spain. Our new home is the smaller Spanish town of Dénia, on the east coast. It’s a pretty town, set against a backdrop of mountains. There are beaches and countryside walks a few minutes from our door. Since moving, I’ve observed the impact of living in a slower-paced environment on my hearing loss, tinnitus and balance issues.
In our new town, there are more quiet moments. Less noise pollutes the air. People seem to speak in quieter tones. Perhaps, just fewer people are sitting outside the bars and restaurants. I strain less to hear conversations over the chatter. The pressure in my head from ambient noise is less severe. My ears ring with reduced force.
Relaxation now comes more naturally. In Madrid, there was a constant drone of traffic outside our living space; I was always on moderate alert. Sporadic bursts of motorcycle exhausts would make me jump. Now, I can sit on our terrace and have moments of peace, listening to the town waking up. The hum of people in the surrounding apartments as they begin their days, the seabirds and doves calling.
The Dénia ocean masks the sounds of tinnitus, having a calming effect. On warmer days, walking barefoot in the sand massages away stress. The gentle lapping of seawater on my feet relaxes my mind.
Walking down the country path, past orange groves, mountains and palms trees, soothes my soul. There is stillness.
In Madrid, the streets were always full of busyness, activity and movement. People passed by with friends, partners, children, dogs, prams. I was constantly trying not to fall. Trying to avoid bumping into people. Trying not to trip over small dogs or walk into children. Trying to stay upright. Fighting the heaviness in my head, pulling me down. Here, with fewer people on the streets, I have less activity to navigate. Some streets I can walk down without passing anyone. I sense my balance system taking a rest.
In Dénia there is more open space. Instead of a busy street outside, we have a mountain view. Every day, a new picture illustrates the sky over the mountains. Some days there is just blue. Other days the clouds soften the painting. Rainy days, where big fat raindrops fall with vigour, smudge the landscape. At dusk, the skies come alive. Luminous brushstrokes of orange and pink create a backdrop to palm tree silhouettes. Sometimes, grey moody clouds gather around the mountain tops, broken by scattered rips of illumination. At night, the twinkle of the houses on the mountain form an enchanting scene. I spend more time observing. Unwinding comes more easily.
I miss the energy of the city and its vibrance. I miss my friends. Life isn’t perfect. I still have flare-ups; days with a struggling balance system and overwhelmed ears. But, my everyday symptoms seem less severe. Perhaps my ears and body are thankful for the change. Maybe living in a gentler environment will have a lasting positive impact. Let’s see.