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Discovering a new life in Costa Almeria

Having made the decision that full time work really is bad for your health,my husband convinced me that we should get 2 puppies and retire early. What I hadn't anticipated was that retirement would see us in Almeria, in southern Spain. This is our story from making the decision to move to our life here. For more posts read the full blog at What I hadn't realised was that I wasn't ready to retire so after 2 years we are back in the UK. However, when I am finally ready to retire - Spain is still in the mix.

One Year On!
17 May 2009 @ 04:24

Well, we have reached the 1st anniversary of our move to Spain. Although some of the plans we had originally made have changed significantly, overall we have had a good first year.

When we first arrived we had expectations of being in our own house by now. In reality, we are still renting having cancelled our contract on the house we were buying due to delays in the build and we are both of the opinion it was the right thing to do.Our solicitor has spent 6 months dealing with the bank in order to get the monies paid by us refunded under our bank guarantees and has now got everything agreed with the bank that the monies will be returned to us by bankers draft and has an appointment to go and collect them.

For anyone buying a new build it is vitally important to ensure you have the original of the bank guarantee and, even if it has an expiry date on it that has past, you need to hang on to it in case you need to claim your money back. We learned this week that if the developer holds the bank guarantees and they have an expiry date on them, once the date has expired the developer can re-submit them to the bank and get the monies back themselves, which leaves you fighting the developer for a refund.

So, having lived here for a year - is it as good as we hoped? A very definite yes. The weather is a real boost to how you feel in the moring when you first get up. Even though the winters are colder than I expected, they are not as cold as the UK and are much drier. Yes, we get rain which is torrential at the time, but it doesn't drag on for weeks and months. It is a lot windier here than I ever expected but once you know how it can be, you just make sure everything is fastened down well.

We have made some good friends and have played so much more golf than we ever would have been able to in Sheffield. The complete change of lifestyle, surroundings and pace of life has seen both of us a lot less stressed and my arthritis, while still a bother, is much less painful than it was.

So, what are the negatives (I won't call them bad points). Well, the £:€ exchange rate means it's not as cheap to live here as we were expecting but hopefully that will improve and in the meantime we are managing fine. We miss the regular contact with family and friends but we make sure we are in touch by phone and e-mail regularly and we have found that when people come to visit we have much more quality time with them than we did when we were in Sheffield.

We are very fortunate that we do not need to work (early retirement may mean a massive adjustment to lifestyle but it's definitely been right for us) and that has meant we could settle here much easier. For anyone moving out here that does need to work, I think it would be very tough.

It took us about 6 months before we stopped feeling as if we were on holiday and felt as though we lived here. I now drive on the right without thinking about it and when I see programs on the TV where they are driving on the left - it looks odd (watch out if I ever have to come back for a visit!) I can speak some Spanish so I can converse with the locals, which is good fun.

There is a lot still to do but I feel the first year has been everything that we expected, and more. Maybe we were very realistic in our expectations, maybe all the planning and research about the area we wanted to live and the lifestyle we wanted worked. Maybe our attitude of 'getting involved' helped us settle in quickly, I don't think we ever felt like the 'new kids on the block'.

Whatever the reasons, our first year has been good. Here's hoping our second year sees us in our own home, our golf handicaps lower and ourselves and our pups healthy.

I hope you will continue to follow our story as we start on Year 2!



Like 0


Candyfloss said:
17 May 2009 @ 17:52

Hi Jacqui
Can't believe it is a year already. Glad all is well with you all.
Sounds like you are having a ball x

abbbb1 said:
17 May 2009 @ 21:32

Congratulations on your first year!! I hope that you find your own abode soon. You're certainly braver than me (driving) - I leave it up to my other half or walk - don't think that my poor old brain is up to switching positions! It's great that you've settled in so well.

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