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Starting out a new life in Spain

This Blog is about my families new life in Spain, nothing more nothing less (Hope those who read it enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed our experience so far)

Work Work Work
04 February 2010

Well, what have I learnt in my 18 months here so far...If you want to work you have got to be prepared to do anything. I don't of course mean get a chair on the N332, but as an IT consultant you have to be a Gardener, Pool Cleaner, DIYer and of course you have to be better than the next person at your core job (mine is IT) and you have to be very reasonable and dedicated to customer care.

I always thought that I could re-invent myself when I came to spain but I have fallen back to the things I know I am good at and things are starting to develop, slowly, but they are moving. I recall reading on all forums before I came to spain that you need to have a fund...well I believe you need three years worth of actual and some more left over for rainy day money

I have found being self employed to be hard work, I am the accountant, the salesman, the debt collector, the marketing dept and also the poor chap who also has to do the work. Turning up for work in Ireland the UK was one thing, this is a different ballgame. But I am getting there, but I am learning a whole new set of skills. One thing for sure as a friend of mine said to me when we first arrived, every minute counts, and it does, whether it is to work or play, or being with the family, make every one of them count..

 



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Its been a year....so
29 August 2009

Well its now been a year and what happened..it always seems as if time screams past you and its only when you sit down and start to look at where you have been, can you correct or decide what and where you want to go. Seems all like common sense, well as the saying goes "Sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees"

So we moved to Spain with a view on what was going to happen in the first year...and then we got here and all I can say is whoa..what was that. From being in a high paid job to not...the list went on and on. We have been told by so many people that "Most people have issues in their first year" and boy did we. BUT...what can I say its all a learning experience. For me especially I have had to cope with a dramatic change. From being the early boy in the office and having a guaranteed pay cheque, to having to re-invent and become dynamic, to 3 months of school holidays, to seeing my wife all day.....

So what have I learnt, to become more relaxed about things, it all does work out you know, but most of all I have been able to free myself from the shackles of large company mentality and to look at what I do and decide how I want to act. Now this all probably seems like I've been reading too many "re-invent" books but I haven't read a single one. Living in Spain is about finding out a new you and also a new life. I think too many of us make the move and don't realise whats in store for us...its a real roller coaster and there are some serious down and up cycles, but this makes us stronger and more robust

Where now for me...well I have three businesses starting, and I am gardening, pool cleaning and IT customer work I am rebuilding everything I had before, relationships, family, friends etc. BUT I have to say I have never felt so in control of where I am going and what I can do.

Moving to Spain has been tough, but its been rewarding, I have never been so physically fit and the same applies to the whole family, its only when you go through this type of readjustment that you can see what you are capable of... If you are thinking about making the move beaware of what you are truly doing....then do it and enjoy the experience you will not regret it.



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Uhmmm...what is happening to my Verduras
04 June 2009

Well..in my attempt to become self sufficient I have broken my back working on my veg patch. All my veg has been planted from the Pepinos (which are doign very well) to Peppers and Sweetcorn..BUT my tomatoes are not doing too well. The symptoms are that they flower, and when the flower dies it drops off. There is no miniture tomatoe but a stump where the flower was. So I am now off to my local garden center to get a diagnosis. All this of course just spurs you on further to think of new ways to do things.

Onto other things...my deposito which had a large leak is also now fixed by my excellent builder who employs lots of South Amercians, they it seems are very well versed in the art of fixing depositos. So after having 10,000 litres delivered we now have functioning irrigation and all is well..except for my ailing tomatoes

As we approach the school holidays we are filled with ideas on how to fill their days...its a long old stint but what a summer they will have..pool pool and more pool, god don't I wish I was a child again!!



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Having people to Stay
18 May 2009

Well here we are..9 months into our adventure and we are looking down the barrel of the Summer Gun and all it is going to bring. I have to admit that I do not think it is ever going to get so hot that we cannot bear it. Of course it will and all our friends have told us its like suddenly opening the door to an oven. But like Victor Meldrew (VM) I seem to be developing a propensity to moan a lot. (I put it down to my hayfever coming back) We like so many of you have visitors planned for the summer and the question of "The Airport Run" is coming up...is it acceptable for us to drive to the airport each time to pick people. From the fuel to the tolls and then the time it all starts to rack up.

Of course I do mention this to the Escape committe, but get shot down as being like VM, so off I trek for 1 hour each way to go and pick people up from Alicante. 

Now we get to the sticky topic of do people give you a few bob whilst they stay.... I of course am the family financial guardian, certainly I think I do a better job than a certain Mr Darling so I think if people are staying with us then they need to pop a few dinari into the preverbial pot, but I got shot down again.

By this point in time I am in dire need of a dose of Anti-histamine as I have discovered my bout of Victor Meldrewitis is absolutely hay fever and this is causing much family concern...so off to the chemists...

yours

VM - Grump with red eyes and a runny nose

 



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Is it me or am I paranoid?
10 April 2009

Well where to start...is it me or does everyone want to know about my business? It seems as if loads of people I don't even know what to know who I am...what I'm doing for a living...the colour of my pants...and god knows what else. When we arrived in Spain we decided that given the amount of advice we were given we would keep ourselves to ourselves and expand our network of friends very slowly. This we have done and we have two sets of very close friends who we spend a lot of time with and we enjoy their company. However this seems to have resulted in a little bit of a vacuum of knowledge about us and what we are doing. In fact the other day two people we don't even know were asking one of our 2 sets of friends for our inside leg measurements.

I think that this is all due to the fat that when you come to live in spain that people revert back to the village life that used to exist in the UK and Ireland before TV took over our lives where someone new moving into a village cause a huge commotion. To be honest I like to try and create a bit of misinformation which proves to be entertaing when it gets back to you

Work wise I am now starting to pick up jobs here and there now, with Gardening and Computing leading the way, I always wanted to have an outside job and now I have one. One thing I am astonished about though is the negative comments people are delighted to give me due to the fact they have received zero customer care from their last providor. I have heard of ranting and raving pool cleaners, Gardeners with attitudes and overpricing computer servicing techs. I have come out of IT after 13 years in high end tech support for large Corps and I have a suspicion that this is where the gap in the market is...being nice, treating people with respect and delivering a spot on job for a market price (not overcharging)

Anyway...must dash...have to put on my Cloak and run around naked to start some more stories...:-) Have a good Easter everybody



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Wow...that was a break...back to life
22 March 2009

Well...what happened there!! One minute I was working for a large US multinational the next minute minds are changed and I was left high and dry with two options...leave Spain and return to Ireland..OR..resign (cos I have no choice) and continue to live in Spain

Now either it was the sun on the day in question, or the large drink I had, but I decided, credit crunch, world recession that I should do the right thing. So I resigned (well they didn't give me a choice) and decided to setup new some new ventures in spain. Now some may say that I am a little silly, me I look at it as a small adventure. I already have some business agreed, with others in the pipleline. 

On the family front all storms ahead nicely, with the children now all starting to chatter in Valenciano and Castellano its very odd...you can get very paranoid :-()

We have also bought a house and we are looking forward to getting all the work to commence and also want to buy some chickens etc so we can become a little more self sufficient. Veg patches have been cleared and all those DIY skills are coming in very handy indeed.

What we are finding is that it is cheaper now to buy online all things from the UK, have them shipped over and we still pay less than spanish prices. For an example, we like vintage bathroom suites, over here..€1000 for a toilet...in UK it will cost for almost the same about £250...never quite figured this out but as the recession hits local retailers seem to be putting the prices up..

Well...now that I am back to normal, I will continue my posting...what fun and games are ahead, god knows, but there is one thing for sure..I would prefer to be strapped for cash here in the sun than in Ireland or the UK!!

Here's to Sunday, in the Sun, 19c watching my son play football and then off to the local coffee shop in Javea port watching the world go by ... (One question I have..why are people wearing shorts)



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Wow..first wobbles
08 December 2008

Well..we have had our first wobble, I am sure there are more to come...

Since we arrived our children have continued to push the boundaries. When we moved out from Ireland they had a certain type of lifestyle and we were happy we could protect them from lifes' ills. Not long after starting school they started to push us hard for more freedoms. They can see the spanish children who live in town playing outside on the weekend after 21:00 and they want to have the same freedom. Our idea is that, given their ages, they should be inside during the winter dark nights with us.

On saturday it was the local trade fair and there was a small land train...the local children were jumping off and on...this was not good, one slip and they were under the wheel. Of course when your children see this they think that they can do this as well.

So on saturday night we had a meet jesus moment and there were lots of raised voices as both my wife and I have to pull the reins in. I think the kids were a little shell shocked by it all and so were we. I think its a good thing to get all these things sorted, though the thought of going back fills me with horrors.

For now things are back and settled and we are now encouraging the kids to do things around the house, reminding them why they cannot run wild and we hope for the best...we have been here only 3 months and I suspect there are more wobbles to come...this first one is simply how we live together...there will be sterner tests ahead of us. When we lived in Ireland it took us 2-3 years to integrate/settle and we have to remember this fact, as things do not happen overnight!



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To Finca....or not
15 November 2008

Well in the face of all the recommendations of all the people we now call our friends, we have seen a finca that we love and we are thinking about putting in an offer...(a silly one start with of course!). My wife has decided we need to buy sheep, chickens and a small dog to boot. The sheep are to keep the grass short aroudn the trees and vines...the chickens for eggs (I was thinking bbq) and the dog to keep her company as I will be out in the fields each night tending to all the vegtables that I will be growing.

Now of course we are getting ahead of ourselves...the people who currently live there have not accepted any offer (as we haven't made one) we don't know if we can extend the finca but we have now fallen in love with a lifestyle...not a standard of living...This of course applies to everything in spain...its the lifestyle not the standard of living we came for...to sit in the sun in November and watch our son play football...to watch the kids running on the beach and so much more

So will we offer...I will let you know...but I do fancy being self sufficient...and being welsh...I can't wait to get a real pretty sheep 



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Castegating Children from the Comedor
21 October 2008

So what is it about the local school that they have to tar everyone with the same brush. My son came home today for the 3rd time in 5 school days to tell us he had been Castegated as a result of his friends behavior in the Comedor. Now when we first were told this we had no idea what they were talking about...

The Comedor is where the children eat their lunch during school. This is a great concept as you pay to have your children stay in school from 13:00 - 14:30, during which time they have a 4 course lunch and time to play and socialise with their friends. This means they socialise with their friends (spanish...English..dutch etc) and start to learn even more Castellano. However when some or all of them talk too much then the children are made to sit out their lunch against a wall in the yard instead of playing. The rule seems to be that if some are naughty all get punished

This of course seems a little harsh to me...but you have to sit back and let this all go over your head...I am working on the basis that this will of course build further character. Of course if could just make those who are well behaved just think...to hell with it, I'm being punished anyway I might as well do something to deserve it :-)

Only time will tell...here's to tomorrow and another day of Castegation


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Cutting the Cord
20 October 2008

Well...it finally happened...we sold our house (back in Ireland) and the new owners moved in this weekend. Its a strange feeling that when you move within the same country that you don't seem to get. Its a feeling of "No Going Back". Well of course we could but why would we? We sat on the beach yesterday as the kids played away and wondered what we would have been doing if we had been in Ireland...possible looking through the windows thinking what we could do as the rain came down? As they played and ran amok it was a fantastic sight watching them as they chased each other around the beach. We decided then that its not about standard of living but lifestyle, being able to do things that you would not do in Northern Europe, enjoying the outside life

Anyway, back to the cord..its very odd indeed as I sit here this AM working away from home, that the ties of the last 10 years have been cut, all the friends..our history...the house we adored and painstakingly rebuilt and restored from a 600sq ft hovel into the dream what we then wanted. Dreams do change, and here I find myself, with my dear wife now with her sights on creating a new dream home here in Spain (more on that in posts to come) its a strange feeling of Deja Vu...but this time I will not be living in a mobile home (caravan) whilst they build it :-)





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