When we came out nearly five years ago it felt like everyone was a thirty something. For every retired couple, there was a thirty something family that had just landed and was ready to go for it all guns blazing.
They were mainly people who had bought at the right time in the UK and then sold their houses and brought huge sums of equity out to Spain, enough for a deposit for a house and leftover for a rainy day or two. Nevertheless, not everyone was as well equipped, some only brought enough for a couple of months rent hoping to find some work along the way.
Needless to say, they went back not long after they arrived once the funds ran dry and there wasn't enough to keep them going for another couple of months of job hunting. However, even those that had the substantial rainy dash stash are feeling the strain as it continues to pour. This is predominantly due to the fact that many of them worked either directly or indirectly in the real estate field.
Today, those zealous characters are a bit thin on the ground, if they exist at all. If anyone does come out to Spain with big plans, I would like to think that people aren't so cruel as to completely laugh in their face but they do tend to share knowing smirks.
People are disappearing and fast, more often then not without saying goodbye. Those clutching on at the few last straws that are left have seen Christmas out and now it is New Year they are ready to embark on the next stage, forced to make the decision of staying or leaving.
It amazes me how many people have held out for so long but they have had to sell themselves short over the past year just to make ends meet. Then there are those that may still be doing okay financially but have just had enough. They just don't want to be surrounded by desperate Brits or are exhausted with the Spanish dream. They are tired of a beaurocratic system that just once you think you have the hang of it whips something else out to send you back ten steps and questioning why you ever bothered.The realisation that they will never get the "hang of it" is causing them to throw in the towel once and for all.
Spain isn't the same Spain that those thirty somethings enjoyed six or seven years ago, when they smugly enjoyed a supermarket bill a third less that their counterparts in the UK, allowing them to dine out on average a couple of times a week. This is no longer the case, as they discover that Asda is now cheaper than Mercadona and they are uninspired by the restaurant menus that haven't evolved since they arrived nearly a decade ago despite the prices doubling.
For those that have had their fingers burnt once too many times they just want to go home now. They won't be going back to the thriving country that they left behind but they understand the system and they have a rough idea of how to go about things properly. There are others who will do what they can to ride it out and stay, they love Spain, warts and all. If they can get through the current economic climate, then they will still be here to witness the next influx of thirty somethings when they come out to fulfill their dreams and maybe even some returnees who realised that although the grass was literally greener Spain still holds an appeal.
Written by: Susan Pedalino
About the author: Women In Spain
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