So here we are, one month in, after moving to Spain on 31 January 2016. We left behind our life and Friends as well as a City, that had run its course for us. I had lived in Southampton all my life and it was jolly hard leaving, after such a long period of time, about 23 years in fact, but here I am today, living on The Costa Blanca, with expats and Spanish alike, and it has to be said, enjoying every minute of it. I haven´t actually missed home once!
Of course I have missed Friends and family, but to be honest, we can contact anyone, at anytime over the internet and people actually seem closer than they really are. Unlike 1995 and 1997, when I moved to Australia, this time, moving to Spain has been an altogether better, more harmonious and easier experience. I couldn´t be happier!
Coming to live in Spain was the first big achievement for me, especially after my track record, where moving abroad in concerned. Liking and feeling happy with the experience, is also a bonus, which has shocked me more than most. I finally feel content with where I am heading in life and that is the most important fact, out of all of this!
Learning the Spanish language, though hard, has been an eye opener. I am actually learning to speak it, rather than just act superior, with my head stuck in the sand and a refusal to to even bother. All good so far!
Getting hold of an NIE number here is hard, and we managed to do it within the first few weeks, when in reality, it should have taken much longer. I have also registered at the Town Hall as a resident, managing to navigate my way through the bureaucratic processes involved with Spanish Local Government. Equally a new bank account and the satisfaction of settling into life, here in Spain, without any major problems!
The biggest concern was for my health, namely my Bipolar status. Currently I am unmedicated and aim to remain so. The threat of relapse has passed, and I am happy with the way my mind is focused. The major problem, according to health professionals, was the possibility of relapsing within the first few weeks of being in Spain. It just did not happen. The transition went perfectly and as yet I do not feel the need for medication or any other mental health intervention, which can only be a good thing!
Darrell, Jamie and I have all began the process of looking for work. Not an easy process here in Spain, with unemployment so high, but none of us are in any hurry and am taking time to make sure we follow procedures , correctly. We have completed our CV´s, in exactly the required format here in Spain and during this, our forth week, we will start handing them out.
I do not care what work I do, and hope to eventually teach English long term, but in the interim, I do not mind and relish new opportunities, especially after this last year, anything will be better than that!
We have done a lot of networking while we have been here, speaking to the locals, as well as those from other countries, who have lived in Spain for a while. It would seem there are a lot of scare stories about Spain, especially from those expats, who are retired and don´t understand the realities of the English job market.
Jobs in Spain are there if you are prepared to work, and don´t mind spending the time looking, even for just English speakers like us. The wages are lower, but then the cost of living is exceptionally lower, so in reality, you are much better off living in Spain!
¿So what of the next three months? ¿How far to we hope to have moved forward? Well we do hope to be working at the very least. The season starts here in four weeks and we should have put out all our CV´s by then. I also aim to be volunteering with the horse sanctuary for one day a week. Finally we should have a car by then and will be able to explore the area far more, travelling further south to see Friends in Gibraltar, as well as others closer by, in Benidorm and Murcia. Above all we hope to be settled, happy and finally with our lives, firmly back on track!
When Jamie asked to come to Spain with us, we promised we would at least teach him things while he was out here. Jamie could not do anything, and I really mean, nothing. He couldn´t cook, use a washing machine, iron or even clean for himself. Due to illness, I hadn´t done much of the above myself, over the last year, so it was perfect for me to restart, doing all the things I love and do well, whilst teaching Jamie many things, that he will need in life to survive!
Over the last month, Jamie has come on in leaps and bounds. Not only is he eating more, far more, but he is also cooking for himself. On Sunday he even asked if I could show him how to bake a cake. Gladly, had he bought the right flour!
The truth is, all of us should be able to do all the things required of us, throughout our life. If we do not have anyone to show us, then sadly, we are at the mercy of others and have to rely on their abilities, rather than our own. Not ideal, so I am glad we can finally show him the ropes as it were!
Jamie actually isn´t that bad, and with a bit of practice he will be fine. On top of this he is also learning Spanish, as are we, so he is doing remarkably well!
Well done Jamie, keep up the hard work and I am just glad you have taken to life here in Spain so well!