Alcalá de los Gazules

After a day of panic, and emailing the Junta de Andalucía, and general freaking out, I got my letter in the mail today. It just came in a regular envelope, but instead of a stamp there was a box that said “Franqueo Pagado” and the logo for the Consejería de Educación de Andalucía. I ripped that sucker open before I even got to my front door . . . and my heart fell when I saw the town, because I had never heard of it before: Alcalá de los Gazules, Cádiz.


It seemed like my computer took a million years to start up, and then the modem was acting weird, so I had to reset my connection, and FINALLY when I got to Google Maps I found that although Alcalá de los Gazules was in the province of Cádiz, it was about an hour and a half away from the provincial capital of Cádiz. It was also nowhere near Sevilla, or Granada, or Córdoba, where I really wanted to go. The satellite view was telling me I could fit the town on a postage stamp, and Wikipedia let me know that the population was somewhere around 5000 people.


I won’t lie to you, I was bummed. How was I going to live in a place out in the middle of nowhere? How would my fantasies of late-night tapas and meeting new friends happen in a town smaller than my graduate school? For one wild moment I considered rejecting the placement.


Fortunately, my sense got the better of me. Alcalá de los Gazules is a traditional town, which means most of the original architecture is still intact. It is one of the “pueblos blancos”, or “white towns”, named because of the white facades of the houses. As a matter of fact, a book on Andalucía I read called “White Wall of Spain” referred to these towns. Why would I want to live in a city that would look the same as a city here in America? I might as well not leave home then.


Also, I found several bus lines (well ok, 2. It is a small town!) that go from Alcalá de los Gazules to some surrounding mid-size and big towns, including one about 15 minutes away: Medina-Sidonia, which is twice as big as Alcalá de los Gazules, and another about 30 minutes away: Arcos de la Frontera (6 times bigger).


So now, I am super excited about going to this town! I’ve spent the past hour or two looking up info on the area and I am really eager to get there!


The only thing I worry about is that I have to return this letter accepting my position, and I have to attach a copy of my passport. Except . . . my passport is at the State Department, getting renewed. So I emailed them to see if they could hurry it up a little, because as it stands I will not be getting it back before I have to send this letter. Ah, bureaucracy . . .


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