In the Summer of 1991 I came for the first tme to the UK. I was working for a company called EF - Colegios Europeus de Verão and, as Assistant Leader, I was in charge of taking care of around 25 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 12 who were coming to the UK to study English during their holidays. I was also thir translator and guide after they had their morning classes and monitor them during the sports' activities in the afternoon.
The destination of all these courses were seaside villages in West Sussex and Dorset and both teachers and kids lived with host families — who spoke only English — or boarding schools that were empty at this time of year.
My first experience about living in England was 21 days with the Irish family in Bognor Regis.
18 years later, I went to Bognor Regis again this saturday. It's funny how I still remember the places, the roads, the houses... I still remember the way I used to cycle every single day from the Irish family house to the Sea Cadets headquarters, the make-shift school for my Portuguese kids. Butlins is now much bigger and well known, but they still have the 100% covered waterslides that I saw and experienced there for the first time in my life! I am sure the Irish family still lives there, but I didn't gather enough courage to knock on their door, even though I saw it at a distance.
I also took Maria to see Arundel, a small castle village in the middle of the countryside, and rounded up our small trip by visiting Chichester, which I had never been.
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