I recently visited the Canaries with my Mum and Sister and it inspired me to write a blog post on what it was like growing up on the island of Tenerife. Pull up a chair, grab a coffee and enjoy as I take you down memory lane.
For all of you that don’t know, the Canaries consist of 7 islands located in the Atlantic ocean, south-west of Spain and north-west of Africa. As a family, we moved to Tenerife (which is the largest of the islands) when I was 7 years old as my parents thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn another language and would be a great lifestyle. I was super excited to move to a beautiful island where the sun shines all year round and you have the ocean at arm’s length, I mean who wouldn’t want that.
I attended a Spanish speaking school, which was very interesting because I didn’t speak much Spanish and making friends at the beginning was quite difficult. Luckily I had an amazing tutor after school hours called Lucrecia from Argentina and she really helped me. It’s fair to say that when you’re young, you can pick up languages super quick and I did. Before I knew it, I was fluent in Spanish and I was unaware at the time of how amazing and useful that was. To be able to speak another language is an incredible gift to have and has helped me in my adult life.
If you are thinking of starting a new life abroad and you have children then my advice is just do it. You only live once and your children will benefit (as will you) from such an amazing new journey. I loved being able to head to the beach after school with my friends. You could just about walk anywhere and if you did need public transport then there were always buses and taxis. The food was a bit of a travesty to begin with as I was always a fussy eater – having paella at school may be someone’s dream, but for me it was a nightmare. I still don’t like paella, however my eating habits have definitely changed for the better over time.
We owned a family bar in Las Americas which my sister ran and did an incredible job of it. I used to love going and helping out, not behind the bar of course, although I used to pull the odd cheeky pint when no one was looking. Lots of people ask me why I moved back to the UK or do you miss the island and would you ever move back? So, I am going to answer these questions now: The reason why my family decided to come back to the UK was that I had turned 16 and I wanted to study performing arts, unfortunately at that time there weren’t that many opportunities for me in Tenerife. Luckily I got into a program in South Yorkshire which I was very excited about, however I knew that I would really miss Tenerife. Which brings me on to my second question: of course I miss the island from time to time. I remember the day when were leaving and I took myself off to the beach for one last swim in the ocean and it really hit me at that moment that I wouldn’t be able to do that every day. I just took comfort in the fact that I was going to be doing something that I truly love.
And question 3: Would I move back to the island? I can honestly say that no I wouldn’t move back to the island because that was my childhood and a time in my life that I forever will be grateful for, but I have been fortunate to have travelled to lots of beautiful places and believe that life is not meant to be lived in just one place. I have so many memories of Tenerife that I’ll always keep close to my heart, and after visiting the island recently (my inspiration for this blog post) I knew that it was a good decision that we moved back to the UK when we did.
So many things have changed on the island since we left. Things have gone upmarket and very classy, although there are things that have remained the same that could do with a good old change. People may say that Tenerife is a party island, the ideal place for the 18-30s group (although that is meant to be stopping soon yay!) but the island has so much more to offer than just that. If you ever visit Tenerife then make sure you explore, go further up to Torviscas or Los Gigantes to make sure you get to see the true beauty of the island.
One thing that I do need to address before I close this blog post (which I feel I have rambled on for some time now) is that there is a zoo there called Loro Parque. When I re-visited the island a few years ago, I took a trip there with my family. We were about to watch the Orca show and I had this gut feeling that it was just wrong, so I looked away for most of it. These beautiful animals should not be performing, it is disgusting and something I feel strongly about. Much like Sea World – I looked around and saw all the tourists clapping and laughing and I just felt a sense of guilt that the human race thinks that this is ok. These beautiful creatures should be in the ocean where they belong, not in a swimming pool made to perform for our entertainment. I don’t judge and if you do want to go to Loro Parque then go, I just wanted to point out that I feel it’s not ok to go and watch these animals perform.
I hope I have shared a little bit more about me and my childhood growing up in Tenerife with you all and because I am very nosy, I would love to find out if you were raised in a different place to where you were born, if you are thinking about moving abroad or if you have ever been to Tenerife.
Leave your comments below as I would love to know.