Friday, 2 June 2017

Guest Post - Taking a Chance on Spanish by Rachel Dann - Chances Fortnight

Thank you so much Rachel for inviting me to appear on your brilliant blog, and for taking a chance on my book! You are one of the first people ever to read it, and for that I am very grateful. I love that you have chosen the theme 'chances' and this is something that  means a lot to me on a personal level, as well as being a big theme in my book.

‘Choose Spanish,’ my father advised. ‘It’s a global language, and Latin America is a rapidly growing market.’

With that, my pen ceased its uncertain hovering above my college application form, I took a chance and ticked the box.

What I didn’t tell my dad was that my reasons for starting a foreign language had less to do with career opportunities and more to do with travel and adventure.

A few weeks later as I left the first class, my sixteen-year-old head filled with exotic-sounding beginner’s vocabulary such as ‘sombrero’ and ‘montaña’, I knew I had made the right decision. I was already captivated by the language’s musical, expressive rhythm… and by how, in Spanish, everything seemed that little bit more glamorous and romantic. Think of the sultry, sophisticated coffee liqueur, Tía María, which in plain old English translates to an unremarkable ‘Aunt Mary’! Spanish had smitten me.

Fast forward ten years, past an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages, a life-changing volunteer expedition to Quito, Ecuador, and numerous return visits to the country that had captured my heart... and I found myself facing possibly the greatest chance I would ever take. The chance to live overseas. To use my now finely-honed Spanish skills in a real job, making a difference to others, and gaining that valuable career experience my father had hinted at all those years ago. Oh, and the small step of moving in with the man I loved, too, after countless long-distance months and ‘lost in translation’ moments. Standing on the brink of the unknown, I realised if I didn’t do it, I would never know what could have been... so I accepted the role, sold my clunky old car, said goodbye to my family and the peaceful English countryside to throw myself headlong into a new life in the bustling, vibrant capital city of Quito.

In my debut novel, Pieces of My Life, my heroine Kirsty is faced with a similar dilemma – whether to leave behind the safe, comfortable life she knows and go travelling with her boyfriend to South America. Unlike me, Kirsty does not initially feel the wanderlust, the restlessness that drives so many of us to head for far off shores. In fact, all she thinks she wants is to settle down with Harry and start a family. Yet arriving in exotic Ecuador awakens the adventurous spirit in Kirsty, and provides the perfect setting for her to rediscover the dreams she had been putting on hold for too long.

My own journey was four years ago now, and in that time I have learnt that real-life ‘happy endings’ are not at all like those simple, fictional ones we depict in our novels. It may sound obvious, but even life in paradise is filled with the day-to-day minutiae of paying bills, fixing the washing machine, taking the cat to the vets... and also interlaced with the added complications of culture clashes, mini-earthquakes and occasional three-day power outages.

Even so, as I wake up to the sun rising through the mist of the Andes, or catch a lively salsa tune drifting through the palm trees as I walk into work, I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, to anyone who is contemplating making a leap of faith - moving abroad, starting a new job, beginning a relationship - (or, as it was in my case, all three at once!) my advice would be this… just go for it. Book the ticket. Take the chance. And why not grab a copy of Pieces of My Life for the journey!

Thank you so much for discussing your chance in picking Spanish as a language and your move to Ecuador with us. You can see my thoughts on Pieces of My Life on Monday when I review it! 

Amazon UK
A journey she never expected…

Kirsty is happy. Really, she is. After five years with her boyfriend, Harry, she’s ready to take things to the next step and turn that spare room into a little nursery. And she thought Harry was too.

Only, it turns out that Harry’s ‘big news’ is actually not that he wants to try for a baby, but that he wants to travel to South America – with Kirsty! She’ll just have to trust that after their trip of a lifetime, Harry will be ready to settle down for good.

Arriving in hot, steamy Ecuador it soon becomes clear that Harry is hiding something. Something that he’s been hiding for years. And as Kirsty’s dreams are at risk of shattering, she begins to pick up the pieces of the life that she’s put off for so long…

Author Bio

Rachel Dann is originally from Sussex and grew up in various parts of the South East of England. She grew up with her nose in a book and always dreamed of becoming an author. Four years ago she moved to Ecuador and currently lives with her partner and young daughter in Quito, the capital city and setting for her first novel Pieces of My Life, which was published by HQ Digital on 17th May 2017

Follow Rachel Dann on Twitter 

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