2015 is Going to be the Year to Live in Spain.
Neither because its spring and everyone but the kitchen sink has uploaded a photo of almond blossom to their timeline whilst dancing to Sam Cooke: "It's been a long, a long time coming...but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will"
Nope, sorry to disappoint. But Change is gonna come for other reasons...starting with next month. (Got a pencil handy? Then mark these dates down in your diary).
A YEAR OF CHANGE AHEAD:
NORTHERN PUNCTUALITY VERSUS THE SOUTHERN RHYTHM
Whilst Northern territories play games of racial purity and think only of constructing bigger fences and stringent immigration policies, in Italy, Greece and Spain other ideas are bubbling to the surface of our ever increasing sea-levels. Why is this? What does the South have the North doesn't share?
There is a lot of theories doing the rounds right now, but one I like to focus on is that the further south you go, the less pedantic your thought processes becomes. What for the North is set in Stone, in the South is up for negotiation. Why? Well, read on....
When North Europeans arrive in the South they initially react very positively: What a great climate, Jose, they say. What magnificent fiestas, what healthy food, what a relaxed and laid back to attitude to life...
But then they hang around for a while and try to get something done in an officious and queueing sort of way and quickly realise that there is a big difference in pace of work here and attitudes to efficiency. As cultural understanding is not big on the North Europeans agenda, (unlike austerity, punctuality, scarfs, mittens and thigh length marching boots) Northerners quickly condemn the south as being unproductive and unable to adhere to the tight schedules, queuing lines and conditions of work lapped up by the orderly obsessed North.
Endless surveys show that in fact Spaniards work harder and longer hours than pretty much any other species in the known Milky Way, but they work according to their own rhythm and not that of North Europe. And when it comes to questions about efficiency there is no convincing a North European - it's a bit like questioning gravity or Copernicus. Such an alternative perspective would instantly constipate the Northern thinker and require them to take time off work, which would of course be unthinkable an unrhythmic.
Yet the Mediterranean rhythm enables Southerners to not only work according to a different timetable, but to reconsider priorities (not always successfully, but they do try bless them), and to rethink priorities and directions. This is because people here work to live, and not vice versa. What possible attraction is there to extra time at work, if it means time away from your family, your friends or a weekend trip to the grandfathers cortijo to collect some pimientos?
For the Northerner, this is tantamount to hari-kiri. A Work life has precedence over all else, as does punctuality, the wearing of nicely ironed suits and ties and the troika.
Fortunately all this may now change, if another country votes for an end to austerity this year. In fact, not just once, but next month, and then again in May, and in the autumn etc.
If this should happen, well we might just have to have a fiesta to celebrate. Maybe take time off work, invite the abuelos obviously and their pimientos and let things sink in for a bit, before re-structuring society from the bottom up.
Well, thats my take. Thats why I believe Spain is going to be the place to live in 2015 - the year the Tortilla turns.
And to celebrate the flipping of the Tortilla:
INSIDE THE TORTILLA ANNIVERSARY EDITION