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My View of Spanish Life

We've just moved to Spain and this is my experience of the first three weeks, for what it's worth

Phase 1
25 March 2009

I thought long and hard about boring you all with a personal blog, but then I thought you could always ignore me if you thought I was boring, so here goes.

We finally moved to Spain early March – we actually landed in Bilbao on 8th March, driving in the OH’s pride and joy – a Vauxuall Astra Cabriolet – but with the roof firmly up as it was loaded to the gunnels and potentially we could lose most of our possessions in the breeze. It was just as well as just outside Bilbao we encountered the white stuff. We were very surprised and continued on towards Madrid with the temperature plummeting to below zero.

The plummenting temperature didn’t have any affect on our spirits: we were flying high on excitement and couldn’t stop laughing. In any case after Madrid the temperature started to pick up.

We manouevered around Madrid, courtesy of our trust Garmin and onwards through to the Valencian countryside and finally arriving in Formentera del Segura by 6pm the same evening.

We unloaded the car and, still smiling, went to the local bar to announce our arrival – not a soul around. Still we had one or two and some tapas and then went ‘home’ to collapse.

We’d previously shipped about 10cubic metres of possessions out here and everything arrived totally in tact. Even the plants had been watered and cared for in transit.

The next morning there was this big yellow thing in the sky; something we definitely were not used to seeing, but have quickly come to take for granted.

We started unpacking (and three weeks later, we’re still unpacking). We now realise that we brought far too much junk with us but we still can’t bear to part with it, so we’re finding hiding places, under bed, tops of wardrobes etc. etc. We have three irons for goodness sake!

A major development in our lives: we have decided to tie the knot and want to do it here in Formentera del Segura. I should say that we’re ancient and have been living together for more than 17 years, so one things, for certain, married life will not hold any surprises! Anyway, off we toddled to the Ayuntamiento. Now my Spanish isn’t brilliant and the OH’s is less good than mine, but, prepped in advance, we took the bull by the horns… only to be told to come back tomorrow. Undaunted, we returned and again … come back tomorrow.

Unfortunately I had to return to the UK to defend an Employment Tribunal, so the OH was left to his own devices for four days and along with this came the responsibility of visiting the Ayuntamiento to find out whether or not we could get married here. I got an interesting email with a Spanish document attached and a comment that it is possible that the OH had committed to marrying a man.

On my return we decided we’d employ the services of a translator to ensure that we married each other and not odd members of the opposite/same sex unknown to us. We have found a lovely lady and we’re visiting the Ayuntamiento again on Monday to endeavour to progress the wedding plan. I’ll keep you posted.

In the interim, we’ve had our community AGM and I’m now El Presidente… not because I was in great demand, I can assure you, but because no other b***** wanted the job. At said meeting, I asked our administrator how one proceeded to get permission to make changes to one’s apartment. He said that it was simple, ask at a meeting and if the majority agreed, it could go ahead. Great news – please can we punch a big hole in our terrace wall so that instead of it being like a tank we could have a view of the outside world? obody objected, so we decided to proceed.

Today, we’ve had the builders in and we’ve now got a ruddy great 3m hole in our terrace wall. There’s a world on the other side of the wall – trees, hills, buildings, oh my! I think we may have started a trend as the neighbours like it.

I should explain that our terrace is huge – about 47sq.m and it has an 2m+ high wall enclosing it. Great for privacy, but as there’s open ground on the other side, why would we want to hide, especially as there are two additional floors above us with a birds’ eye view of our terrace? It’s fantastic to be able to have an additional dimension to our lives though. I just hope the adminstrator was right and we don’t have to fill it all in.

Life in Spain exceeds expectations. We can’t believe that our dreams have been fulfilled and even if it doesn’t get any better, it’s just bloody wonderful.

We’ve signed on for more Spanish classes. We speak to EVERY single person we pass and they speak to us – try that in the UK and they’ll be carting you off to the funny farm. The locals laugh at our attempts at Spanish, but help us get it right. We are teaching them English in return. We feel welcomed and that we belong.

We’ve got lots of English friends, some Dutch and cultivating some Spaniards to accept us. Yes, it will take time, but we’re not going to give up.

My plants are thriving. I brought with me a blueberry bush which is chock full of blossom, a beautiful blue rose which is in bud and a questionable tree fern which hasn’t got one single leaf as the frost got it at home just prior to shipping. It’s got two chances and I’ll let you know which one it takes.

We want to do some volunteer work – preferably with children, so if anyone can advise us, then please let us know.

How can I judge whether or not this blog will be a one-off or whether I should continue? Is there a way of knowing whether any of you are remotely interested in my experiences?

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