Noah in Barcelona: That random time I went to the Canaries

    Me and my uncle, Algis.

    You remember that time at the beginning of the 21st century when everyone walked around using the same expression? No, not ‘awkward’ or ’sketch,’ I’m talking about random. I suppose the 21st century seemed like a time when we felt we couldn’t be too sure of anything and everything seemed to come out of nowhere.

    Well, ‘random’ made a comeback for me while I was in the Canaries.

    The weather at this point in time in the Canaries is supposed to be balmy and sunny. I arrived to harsh winds and scattered showers all weekend. Random.

    As I toured around one of the most populous islands in the archipelago, Tenerife, I constantly heard English on the radio. Sort of random.

    A lot of the architecture on Tenerife looks like a cross between Orlando’s Disney World and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Random.

    Heck, even the island’s location 100km off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean is unaccountably–yep, you guessed it–random.

    I went to the islands to visit my Swedish uncle and a friend’s extended family took me in for the weekend. Quite random.

    But in truth all of these random happenings are really the sum of a climate, geography and culture that accepts the random stormy jolts from the Atlantic Ocean and the waves of immigrants to and from the islands.

    The islands are geographically part of Africa, but politically they are a part of Spain. You won’t find many Africans, but you’ll find a lot of retirees from Germany, England and Scandinavia living out their days away from the cold, harsh winters of North Europe. The islands are a mecca for Europeans who come to the islands seeking a better climate for old age and for physical and mental ailments.

    My uncle suffered a spinal injury almost five years ago and is now undergoing physical therapy in Tenerife. I first thought was that this too was so random, but the clinics on Tenerife are famous apparently. And it certainly seems better to treat yourself under the palm trees in the sun rather than amidst the snowy Swedish winter. My uncle constantly impresses me. I have only been able to see him twice since his injury, but he doesn’t let his circumstances overcome him.

    Part of it must come from being a born athlete, but my uncle has regained almost fully functional mobility with a perseverance, I doubt I could match. Just like the tiny Canary archipelago awash in the blustery, harsh Atlantic, my uncle’s circumstances haven’t made his life easy. He’s had to push himself everyday and his amazing success is the product of all that work, much like the island culture that has boomed by focusing its businesses on attracting health tourists like my uncle.

    Read Noah’s previous post or meet the rest of our study abroad bloggers.


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