When I first applied to become a conversation assistant in Spain with the British Council, one of the things they asked you to write about was something you were passionate about that you could share with your students.
I wrote about Welsh rugby.
Call me patriotic, but there’s a sense of pride, happiness and passion in Wales that I’m yet to see anywhere else (although the Basque Country is a strong contender), and the rugby is just part of that. Therefore, you can work out that I was absolutely delighted that I could watch the 6 Nations in bars in Spain just like I did at home.
When I was not at Fort Latham with my family, I was at a university in England. You can guess that I stuck out like a sore thumb. A sore thumb with a sense of pride that was ridiculed by my friends- as most of them are fiercely competitive, regardless of whether they actually enjoy the rugby or not.
Then I remembered one of my flatmates is welsh, and also loves the rugby.
Next thing I know, I find myself in a bar watching the rugby with not one, but many welsh people. They may have been welsh people that were double my age, but when you have a mutual passion for something and know all the classic welsh tunes like Calon Lan and Delilah, nothing else matters.
We may not have won every match, but every time I joined my welsh friends in a little pub hidden in a side street in Bilbao, I felt like I was at home. Sometimes all you need is a home away from home to feel comforted.
Sometimes if you want to do something, you just have to ask. Sometimes you can easily make friends with someone abroad just because they come from the same country as you. Sometimes there’s a hidden welsh community that you never expected to find.