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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today is the two year anniversary of our arrival to live in Spain.


So how has it been? Well, first and foremost, it is nothing like I thought it would be - NOTHING!

It hasnt been easy, it hasnt been without its traumas and it hasnt been too bad either - if that makes sense! When we first arrived, the exchange rate was good and we were full of optimism. My OH had plans that he would use his UK business as a platform to start up a sister company here. He has a friend here in Spain who does something similar and they were going to join forces. Unfortunately, his UK business partner had to leave and had to be bought out, so the money we were gonna use to fund "Spain" went! Then my father in law back in the UK died, the credit crunch arrived, the exchange rate plummeted, living costs were infinitely more expensive than we thought they'd be. So our plans had to change and they had to keep changing. We moved to a smaller, cheaper property, took one child out of international school (altho she wanted to go to a Spanish school anyway). My husband had to spend more time in the UK to keep the UK business in check, so I was left on my own with the children in Spain a lot more than anticipated.

But, we're still here, altho as I say it isnt easy. Sometimes I wonder whether it was worth all the hassle and upheaval. My daughter has never really taken to Spain and is desperate to go back, my son loves it, I love it, my husband enjoys it when he's here but hasnt ever really felt part of it. Its certainly put our marriage on the line thats for sure!

After two years, I dont think we can say that we feel we are here for the duration. We have our dogs passports up to date, just in case and we have our UK house that we can go back to. I have friends who say that we'd be better off if we didnt have the option of returning to the UK cos thats stopping us trying harder. But I'm not sure that trying that hard with no safety net is a good way to be!!???

Anyway, all that said. I love it here, I love everything about it - even the silly things that annoy me - the roads, the speed bumps, the driving, the rain, the cold houses, the mañana attitude, the heat in the summer, the Mercadona jingle............!!! I love it!!!! I've met some really good friends and I love the whole lifestyle. My grasp of the language is finally creeping up on me. The novelty has worn off and life goes on much the same as it did in the UK, washing, cooking, cleaning, school runs... But I could stay here forever. I'm one of a family of four tho, who are still divided.

The one thing I would say to anyone thinking about coming here for a better lifestyle - well make sure you plan very carefully and remember that a better lifestyle needs money - it isnt about sunshine or space, its about being able to do all the things you want to do. It soon gets very stressful and boring here without money - and the days of Spain being cheap are gone.

Hopefully this next year will settle us

Jo xxx
 

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Today is the two year anniversary of our arrival to live in Spain.


So how has it been? Well, first and foremost, it is nothing like I thought it would be - NOTHING!

BIG SNIP


The novelty has worn off and life goes on much the same as it did in the UK, washing, cooking, cleaning, school runs... But I could stay here forever. I'm one of a family of four tho, who are still divided.

The one thing I would say to anyone thinking about coming here for a better lifestyle - well make sure you plan very carefully and remember that a better lifestyle needs money - it isnt about sunshine or space, its about being able to do all the things you want to do. It soon gets very stressful and boring here without money - and the days of Spain being cheap are gone.

Hopefully this next year will settle us

Jo xxx


congrats jojo

very well-balanced comments (including the ones I snipped)

as one of my students said this morning - yes, he wants to live here forever - but it's often just a case of same **** different shovel when you settle into a 'normal' working life here
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hope my post didnt sound too negative. But I was so desperate to move to Spain and it hasnt been anything like I had pictured it! I think thats important to those who are feeling like I did - that it would be utopia!

But it is wonderful. When the sun shines and I look out at the views and the quiet pace of life around me. Its wonderful, its everything I ever wanted and its home!

Jo xxxx
 

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I hope my post didnt sound too negative. But I was so desperate to move to Spain and it hasnt been anything like I had pictured it! I think thats important to those who are feeling like I did - that it would be utopia!

But it is wonderful. When the sun shines and I look out at the views and the quiet pace of life around me. Its wonderful, its everything I ever wanted and its home!

Jo xxxx
I don't think it was negative - just realistic


if you can retire here on a good income it must be like Utopia - but for our age group with kids & needing to make a living - I still reckon it's better - not easier - but better - but Utopia it definitely isn't!

do you realise it's only 16 weeks til the school summer hols?

I love the long summer hols - even though I still have to work (a bit)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think it was negative - just realistic


if you can retire here on a good income it must be like Utopia - but for our age group with kids & needing to make a living - I still reckon it's better - not easier - but better - but Utopia it definitely isn't!

do you realise it's only 16 weeks til the school summer hols?

I love the long summer hols - even though I still have to work (a bit)
I love the summer holidays too. I love the "not having to go anywhere" feeling!


Jo xxx
 

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I hope my post didnt sound too negative. But I was so desperate to move to Spain and it hasnt been anything like I had pictured it! I think thats important to those who are feeling like I did - that it would be utopia!

But it is wonderful. When the sun shines and I look out at the views and the quiet pace of life around me. Its wonderful, its everything I ever wanted and its home!

Jo xxxx
No, you sound realistic and sensible and certainly not negative. You've told it like it is.
I'm sure people who post on this forum telling us how much they want to relocate to Spain and 'live the dream' think we're a miserable bunch of sods sitting in the sun sipping our G&T and telling them how difficult life can be.
So it'sw important to relate personal experiences which point out the good and the not-so-good.
 

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Jojo, I think that is one of the best posts we have had on here in months and also the best one you have ever written. It is what you set out to write - an overview.

Guys, apart from our normal warnings re estate agents, being seduced by the holiday experience of Torrevieja or Torremolinos and the difficulties of education/health/cars etc please note this:


Its certainly put our marriage on the line thats for sure!


I cannot begin to think how many expat marriages I have seen go wrong here. My own lasted just a few months and I went back to the UK with two suitcases of clothes and 18 pounds sterling.

I had been coming to Spain for 30 years and speak good Spanish. (xxxxxxx superb by expat standards!) I had lived here for 8 years. I had travelled Spain extensively and had masses of Spanish friends ....................and yet it took me all those years before I really found where/what I wanted. It was not until 2008/2009 until I said, "That´s me settled. You can carry me out of here in a box"

Can some of you now I understand why I cringe when I hear, "Where is the best place to live, will I get Corrie, is there a UK snooker league, can I get 24/7 for my dying budgie ......oh and by the way do they have schools for my teenagers" ?

Get here, do YOUR research and accept Spain for what it is warts and all.

Great post, Jojo! Here´s to the next 2 or 20 years ......wherever they may be!
 

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Today is the two year anniversary of our arrival to live in Spain.


So how has it been? Well, first and foremost, it is nothing like I thought it would be - NOTHING!


Anyway, all that said. I love it here, I love everything about it - even the silly things that annoy me - the roads, the speed bumps, the driving, the rain, the cold houses, the mañana attitude, the heat in the summer, the Mercadona jingle............!!! I love it!!!! I've met some really good friends and I love the whole lifestyle. My grasp of the language is finally creeping up on me. The novelty has worn off and life goes on much the same as it did in the UK, washing, cooking, cleaning, school runs... But I could stay here forever. I'm one of a family of four tho, who are still divided.


Hopefully this next year will settle us

Jo xxx
I really liked your post Jojo. Especially the above paragraph for lots of reasons, but mainly because you sound happy!!:)
I like the way you're saying that two years still isn't enough to know how things will work out for you and the family. OK, some people say that they know as soon as they arrive, but more logical to my way of thinking is see how it goes. Families are dynamic and the pieces in the jigsaw can more around more than you may have planned on, so give it time.
I agree with Steve that some people don't seem to realise the momentous decision that they are making, don't get enough information, and then wonder why things didn't work out the way they thought they were going to. This is not paradise. It's Spain , as you say Steve, with warts and all.
I also liked mryg9's comment about us sipping G&T and denying others the good life. I know it looks like that and we've had some people on the forum getting upset with us, but we've got to tell it like it is. Mine's a Martini by the way:nod: (ONLY JOKING!!):lol:

PS Lot's of good luck for 2010 for you and all the family
XXXX
 

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Today is the two year anniversary of our arrival to live in Spain.


So how has it been? Well, first and foremost, it is nothing like I thought it would be - NOTHING!

It hasnt been easy, it hasnt been without its traumas and it hasnt been too bad either - if that makes sense! When we first arrived, the exchange rate was good and we were full of optimism. My OH had plans that he would use his UK business as a platform to start up a sister company here. He has a friend here in Spain who does something similar and they were going to join forces. Unfortunately, his UK business partner had to leave and had to be bought out, so the money we were gonna use to fund "Spain" went! Then my father in law back in the UK died, the credit crunch arrived, the exchange rate plummeted, living costs were infinitely more expensive than we thought they'd be. So our plans had to change and they had to keep changing. We moved to a smaller, cheaper property, took one child out of international school (altho she wanted to go to a Spanish school anyway). My husband had to spend more time in the UK to keep the UK business in check, so I was left on my own with the children in Spain a lot more than anticipated.

But, we're still here, altho as I say it isnt easy. Sometimes I wonder whether it was worth all the hassle and upheaval. My daughter has never really taken to Spain and is desperate to go back, my son loves it, I love it, my husband enjoys it when he's here but hasnt ever really felt part of it. Its certainly put our marriage on the line thats for sure!

After two years, I dont think we can say that we feel we are here for the duration. We have our dogs passports up to date, just in case and we have our UK house that we can go back to. I have friends who say that we'd be better off if we didnt have the option of returning to the UK cos thats stopping us trying harder. But I'm not sure that trying that hard with no safety net is a good way to be!!???

Anyway, all that said. I love it here, I love everything about it - even the silly things that annoy me - the roads, the speed bumps, the driving, the rain, the cold houses, the mañana attitude, the heat in the summer, the Mercadona jingle............!!! I love it!!!! I've met some really good friends and I love the whole lifestyle. My grasp of the language is finally creeping up on me. The novelty has worn off and life goes on much the same as it did in the UK, washing, cooking, cleaning, school runs... But I could stay here forever. I'm one of a family of four tho, who are still divided.

The one thing I would say to anyone thinking about coming here for a better lifestyle - well make sure you plan very carefully and remember that a better lifestyle needs money - it isnt about sunshine or space, its about being able to do all the things you want to do. It soon gets very stressful and boring here without money - and the days of Spain being cheap are gone.

Hopefully this next year will settle us

Jo xxx
This is excellent and realistic. Thank you. It scares me to death seeing some of the young people's posts. "We want to live the dream..No, we don't speak Spanish..No, we don't have any marketable skills. No, we don't have any savings..but here we come for fun in the sun".

At 59, I have long ago realized that there is NO perfect place. To paraphrase another poster evrything becomes "same s**t, different day". You are responsable for making your life work. It is not just about locating paradise and dropping everything and running! Thanks, Jo!
 

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This is excellent and realistic. Thank you. It scares me to death seeing some of the young people's posts. "We want to live the dream..No, we don't speak Spanish..No, we don't have any marketable skills. No, we don't have any savings..but here we come for fun in the sun".

At 59, I have long ago realized that there is NO perfect place. To paraphrase another poster evrything becomes "same s**t, different day". You are responsable for making your life work. It is not just about locating paradise and dropping everything and running! Thanks, Jo!
I feel like that too, especially when I read posts from people with few if any language or employment skills who want to up sticks with young children.
Very often, you bring your problems with you. If you can't make it in the UK, there could be a high probability that you won't in Spain or anywhere else for that matter.
As with most things, money is the key factor. If you're on a tight budget in the UK you could be in dire straits in Spain. Sunshine doesn't really compensate for poverty, not after the first week or two.
I've pointed out before that there seems to be a peak in these posts just after the end of summer, around October-time. Seasonal depression coupled with idyllic holiday memories,perhaps?
I love New York, have enjoyed fabulous holidays there and would love to live there. But I don't waste time and energy imagining that it could ever become reality.;)

PS Have just noticed you are from Canada: we bought a place in Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley, intending to move there but after thinking things through in great detail decided it wasn't sensible to relocate so far from home so we rented it out then sold.
 

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I feel like that too, especially when I read posts from people with few if any language or employment skills who want to up sticks with young children.
Very often, you bring your problems with you. If you can't make it in the UK, there could be a high probability that you won't in Spain or anywhere else for that matter.
As with most things, money is the key factor. If you're on a tight budget in the UK you could be in dire straits in Spain. Sunshine doesn't really compensate for poverty, not after the first week or two.
I've pointed out before that there seems to be a peak in these posts just after the end of summer, around October-time. Seasonal depression coupled with idyllic holiday memories,perhaps?
I love New York, have enjoyed fabulous holidays there and would love to live there. But I don't waste time and energy imagining that it could ever become reality.;)

PS Have just noticed you are from Canada: we bought a place in Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley, intending to move there but after thinking things through in great detail decided it wasn't sensible to relocate so far from home so we rented it out then sold.
Hi MRY: Exactly..At least in your native country, you have somewhat of a support system, even if it is nothing more than people who speak your language! I remember reading somewhere about "lifestyle" changes. It was pointed out that whatever problems you have at home, you will STILL have in "paradise". Even Jo, who seems to have a solid marriage has mentioned the strain put on the relationship. And she and her family sound like sensible people with many resources.

I think, as you say, that holiday-itis plays a role. I remember bringning my French students to Paris on Foreign Exchange trips..they were all in love with the place..until they wanted to go to a store at lunch time..oops, closed for 2 hours mid-day. Things like that end up driving you crazy. Just a whole bunch of little annoyances that don't matter all that much on vacation, because you have no obligations and can sit around having a drink while waiting for a place to open. When this sort of thing constantly confronts you in daily life..it's not that much fun.

BTW, I remember visiting a peach orchard in the Ottawa area and eating wonderful peaches just picked from a tree. Wouldn't that have been enough for you?? joking, of course!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Before we moved to Spain, I was one of those people who said lets just go, it'll be alright, we'll get jobs easily. My husband is the sensible, cautious one and forced me to stop and take the time to plan everything sensibly. ´We used to argue about it, I wanted to just go and worry about the details when we got here. I wanted to have palm trees in my garden, a pretty villa with a swimming pool for the kids, walks to little street bars, sunny weather, that holiday feeling......... How stupid was I in retrospect!!!! I thought Spain would be much cheaper, I thought it was warm all year round, I thought I'd get a job easily, I thought we'd learn to speak Spanish easily, in fact I didnt think we'd need to speak it as much as we do, I thought the kids would love the outdoor life, make lots of spanish friends......

So when new posters come on here, wanting to get out of the UK and say that they'll do any kind of work just to escape, I sympathise and I understand what they're saying. But it isnt like that, as those of us who are here know. If it wasnt for "mr jojos" caution, I hate to think what a mess we'd be in - it hasnt been easy WITH his careful planning!!!


Jo xxxx
 
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