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Weird and Wonderful Life

Weird and Wonderful things that I have picked up along the way that can add value to even the most perfect life !

Expat or Immigrant ?
18 November 2015

  Expat or Immigrant ?

 

I am an immigrant, I could also be classed as an expat.

Google definition :

Expat - a person who is voluntarily absent from home or country.

Immigrant - a person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.

 My husband and I decided seven and a half years ago to leave the UK and move to Spain.

The reason is simply, we wanted a different and in our opinion better way of life for our children.

Is it easy to make a move to another country ? NO !

To become an immigrant and make that decision to permanently live in a foreign country is not easy.

It involves leaving family and friends.

 Customs and surrounding you know and in our case learning another language.

When we first arrived we knew one expat couple from the UK. We quickly found ourselves in friendships with other expats, whom we would not have been friends with in the UK.

It wasn't until we started to speak Spanish (badly at first) and integrate with the local people that we were able to break from those false friendships.

Financially it is difficult too, if you are not of retirement age, you have to create an income in a country were jobs are thin on the ground for locals, let alone foreigners that don't speak the language.

We rented a Spanish bar, when the promise of work that had taken us to a tiny village fell through. We have been incredibly lucky, we have had very little racism and have made some amazing friends (English and Spanish) who continue to help and support us.

Did you know according to the BBC news I am just one of 5.5 million British citizens that live permanently abroad ?

Yet, I often hear others complaining about the amount of immigrants in the UK.

Do they not see that just because you wear the label of being an expat, it does not stop YOU being an immigrant.

For the 5.5 million of us, what right do we have to complain about people who, like us have chosen to move to another country in search of something better.

The majority are just like us, looking for something we consider to be better than we had.

Yes, the UK has a problem, mainly because it is not a large country and housing the 8 million foreign nationals (the guardian) is an issue.

Look at anywhere in the World where there are immigrants and you will find the same nationalities meeting up and forming communities.

It is ok for us Brits to do it, but not other nationalities. WHY ?

Did you also know that only 7.7% of immigrants in UK claim benefits (full fact.org -feb 2014) where as at least 30,000 British nationals claim unemployment benefits outside the UK.

I can't begin to imagine how hard it is for some immigrants to move to the UK, with the frightening World we find ourself living. Some express their fear as racism, for people they do not understand. However immigrants have made that decision and have a choice.

Refugees however have no choice.

Refugee - a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.

These people are treated with suspicion and fear, because of a minority that have abused the system and a small minority that have posed as refugees in order to carry out the most horrific of crimes.

My heart goes out to them and the difficulties they faced when they were forced to leave their homes and the difficulties they face when they apparently should be looking at a time and place of safety.

I have written this blog in the hope that people will start thinking about there attitudes towards other. We all have struggles from time to time and compassion for our fellow human beings, seems like a good idea to me. 

If you have enjoyed my blog, take a look at some others ;

https://achieveyourdreamshelpothers.wordpress.com



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When Life goes BANG !
01 October 2014

Just as you think ‘Okay, I know what I am doing, I know where I am going’, then bang !

 

It all changes.

 

There I was happy with my lot, writing a book, overseeing a business in the UK and looking after my two daughters. Life was good I live in the house of my dreams with my family who I adore. Although it is more than likely our home is not everyones dream house as it is slightly wacky, but it is ours. For the first time in my live I don’t have to worry about money, the girls are doing well at school. Really who could ask for more.

 

But then I see a piece on Facebook from a guy I used to work with many moons a go, a man who's integrity and ethics have never been in question for me, a man both my husband and I have  the upmost respect for. 

 

The post as you can see below is about working as a term and if we insure everyone wins we all win.

 

 

 

I love this concept it just makes so much sense to me. 

Zig Ziglar famously said

‘You can have everything in life you want,

if you will just help other people get what they want.’

Since I first heard that quote, I have tried my upmost to practice

that in everything I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I was compelled to find out from our respected friend what it is all about, a business opportunity and I am not looking to take on any more. But the compulsion to know what it was was to strong, so I messaged ‘Tell me more’. And do you know what ? when I saw what was on offer I knew I had to be involved. When I really thought about the time aspect I realised that it wouldn't take me away from the things I already do and the things I love to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        I have started another chapter in my live a very exciting one, I are now involved  

       with a company that is not even officially launched yet, that alone is beyond exciting !

 

       That’s just where the excitement starts, the opportunity for the right people is

       unprecedented .  

 

      When I say the right people what I mean is that not every opportunity is for every person,

      it may or may not be for you.

      If you would like to see the presentation that has got me jumping around with excitement

                                                                  and delight and see if you  too feel the same rush of excitement in the prospects

                                                                  of what the future now holds, then simple contact me via the email link below and I will  

                                                                  send it to you!

 

 

 

samritchie419@gmail.com

 

samritchie419@gmail.com



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My Crystal Adventure
31 May 2014

My Crystal adventure started many years ago, when I was a Child. I have always been fascinated by the beauty that these Crystals and minerals hold and the way they make me feel.

 

It all started earlier than I can remember with a bedroom full of little tumble stones, growing into a hobbie of creating jewerelly from them. This later developed into a small business selling the jewerelly at craft fairrs and through Jewellery parties. This was some years ago now and although I was still passionate about Crystals and my personal collection was forever growing, I never thought I would be working with them again.

 

I have trained as a Crystal healer, but had never had the opportunity to use it. A move from the UK to Spain took my life in a totally different direction. As I became a landlady and my time was totally consumed with running a bar and raising two beautiful girls.

 

But life has a way of leading you back to things or finding new adventures to traval. The Crisis struck, my husband and I found that running the bar after four years was becoming unviable. So we made the brave desicion to close down and look for another way to earn a living.

 

I started writing blogs and a book (not yet finished). We were always looking out for opportunities. Then it happened our New Crystal Adventure appeared and now we are embarking on a whole new journery.

 

It all happened by accient, my husband took a trip to Morocco with a close friend to buy some light fittings for our new home, knowing my love for crystals he brought me some home. Our friend who is Moroccan suggested another trip to his small home town, where he has family and friends with Crystals for sale. They returned from that trip loaded with the most stunning Crystal (Minerals) I have ever seen. What is even better is that by us selling them on this site, we are able to buy more, which is really making a huge difference to the people who live in that small town. Us buying one Crystal from them is a weeks food for a whole family. 

I am so excited to have this chance to enhance so many lives, I hope you feel that your Crystals have enhanced your life in some way. 

 

I will be blogging on here from time to time to keep you updated with the familys you are helping, the new arrivals and any other information that I think may be useful to you.

 

Take a look at my new website

http://www.crystaldreamsmoroccantreasures.com

 



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Integration Day
23 September 2013

 

Integration

Integration Day

 
On Saturday 21st September 2013 in the fairly small city of Huercal Overa, Almeria, Spain the first ever Anglo Spanish Integration Day took place.
 
With a population of  20,000 People and an expat  community of 10% the very forward thinking Mayor Domingo Ferandez Zurano and his town hall put on an amazing event.
Integration
For us it was a great opportunity to meet people that live in Huercal Overa having only lived in the area for two months.
 

We were impressed to see the of support the event achieved, around 1500 people attended and both nationalities.

Integration
Entertainment was provided, classic Flamingo dancing of all age groups. The music was varied with a brilliant young Spanish boy singing and playing the guitar, bag pipes, a English choir and a English woman with her guitar. It was well thought out and perfect as back ground for the chatting of the community.
Integration IntegrationIntegration
The food was plentiful with both traditional Spanish fair such as Migas (fried flour with meat) and traditional English afternoon tea.

Integration

Everyone was very friendly and open to meeting new people, we had some brilliant conversations with both Spanish and English people, I like to think some strong friendships were made.

 

The Integration day took place in the area used for the Market on Monday and the fiestas, it provided plenty of parking and is easy to find.

The huge tent looked brilliant with the flags of both countries.

Integration

The stalls that lined the inside of the tent were a good integration of both cultures with traditional wooden furniture from Spain to the traditional needle work of the UK.
Charities were also well represented with the Red Lions, Dames of Huercal Overa on the British side and a Cancer and Alzheimer’s  charities on the Spanish side.
 
There was an art stall, face painting and of course a bar.
Integration
All in all it was well run and a huge success.
 
The event has caused some controversy with questions being asked of other local town halls namely Mojcar and Albox. These two area have in the region of 50% expat residences and yet why have they not put on an integration event like this ?
 
Huercal Overa appears to me to be more open to the idea of foreigners living in their community. The people have a clear idea of their roots and the town although has an English shop and English businesses is on the whole very Spanish. The Expats (the ones I have meet)here also seem to embrace the Spanish culture and language. These two factors make integration much easier.
 
The town hall are so forward thinking that it is bringing English films to the Theatre here in January, February and March 2014, with a view to continue them if it is successful.
Integration

For me I wanted to live in Spain and not England in the Sun, Huercal Overa seems to have nailed the integration idea, as Dia de integration Hispano inglesa proves.



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New Home
05 August 2013

 

Estate Agents in Spain

 


I spent over ten years working as an Estate Agent in England. Yes there are good and bad, but now a days they all have a level of professionalism, the property details in general at the very least, are well presented.
 

When we decided to start looking for a new home in Spain about six years ago, I was totally horrified by the Estate Agents in Spain. Details were a few lines saying how many rooms a property had and if it had electric and water, it was rare to get much more.
 

Over the six year period we have seen I would guess around a hundred properties using several different Estate Agents. This is amazing considering I knew what I wanted. The agents would not pay any attention at all to what we were looking for and as a result we saw the most unsuitable properties you can imagine and most had a large price tag, for basically a ruined shed.


 

We did over that time find two that we offered on. The first was before we moved to Spain and we flew over to do the paperwork, just to find that we where buying the stable not the main house. The Agent had the nerve to tell me it wouldn’t have been a problem if I had used his solictor. Not for them maybe, but later for me definitely.  Without a doubt there are very good Estate Agents in Spain, but be aware.
 

The second had similar paperwork problems, but they have now been solved, but it was a village house and after living in the village we decided we wanted out of town.
 

A New Start
 

After a really difficult first six months this year, things changed so dramatically, it made us look at everything. We decided the little village we have lived in for five and a half years, was not where we wanted to stay. This was a total u turn for me, but all of a sudden it was too small, we needed a total change, somewhere that was out of the way but close to somewhere bigger to give the girls more opportunities.
 

After a random meeting with a Spanish man selling lottery tickets, who started telling me how fantastic Huércal-Overa is and then two friends independently telling us about the great properties Voss Homes had, we decided to look.


We looked on the Internet and every house we liked in Huércal-Overa was with Voss Homes. We phoned and arranged to meet to go through what properties he had that matched or  almost matched what we wanted.
The property details were streets ahead of anything we had seen in Spain.
We meet Andy Voss in his office and spent over an hour, discussing possible properties. Some we had liked we all ruled out and one I had not liked, because of the name, was added.  We had a short list, then we prioritised to the top three and made an appointment.
 

As we did this the Owner of the property I had not met before came in to drop the price, was this to be a sign ?
On returning to Serón, we studied the details more, it was clear it was a sign and this was going to be our new home.
 

We brought forward the viewing date, I couldn’t wait. We viewed three, although all ticked many of our boxes, only one stole our hearts. Yes the one I had discounted.

We wanted to move quickly and Andy Voss was brilliant, he insured that everything was done as quickly as possible and kept us perfectly informed.
We signed all the paperwork and got the keys just four weeks and four days after our offer was accepted.  Andy came to the Notary even though he wasn’t holding the keys, professional to the end.


 

We are now settling in to our new home and Andy has kindly recommended everything from Carpenters  to Vets to help us get to know our new town. We can not thank him and his staff enough, for their totally professionalism and all the help they have offered.
 

OUR NEW HOME

Estate Agents in Spain
Voss Homes stand out from the crowd with the level of service and efficiency they offer. I have not come across another Estate Agent in Spain that comes even close and I have seen many.
 

 



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Moving on from Grief
29 June 2013

 

Moving on From Grief !

 Grief

 

Grief is such a selfish thing, a pain that is indescribable, a hurt that is so dull it penetrates every cell, every bone, every fibre of your being.

 

Yet we know that although not in the physical, that life goes on.

 

Not in the world as we know it, but life goes on.

 

We may hear or see the signs from our loved ones, yet we can not touch them, we can not feel their touch, we can not feel their kiss and somehow this makes it harder.

 

Why is this harder ? The knowing they are there ? Because it makes our grief selfish !

 

We are selfish for missing them, we are selfish for hurting, we are selfish for our grief.

 

We know they are fine, we know they are at peace, we know they have no more pain, yet we miss them and that pain does not diminish with that knowing.

 

Others see us as heartless when we are strong and when we try to remember it is not over, but just another beginning. However some just see what we gain in the physical, do they really think that all that would not be traded for one last hug, one last physical kiss.

 

I know although yes, I may have gained money and material items, would I in a heart beat swap all of that for one last hour, one last minute with both or either of my parents, of course I would.

 

For all those people that think I wouldn’t they are even more self centred and selfish than I am. What they think is a direct reflex of who they are, not who I am.
Let me tell you that losing both your parents before they reached 65 years old, is not a privileged place to be, and if you think it is, you really need to look in the mirror and get a grip.

 

If for whatever reason your life would be enhanced by not having your parents, then what lessons do you need to learn ?

 

Grief is a process and we all do it differently, just because we are different doesn’t mean we are wrong. Some make this time harder with their actions, with there words. They don’t understand that, some of us don’t like to show how we feel, but we do feel.

 

Be thoughtful about what you say because it reflex back to you, be compassionate because it comes back to you.
 
Grief

 

There are lessons in every situation good or bad, I still have trouble seeing what all of these lessons are, but one I have received loud and clear is that our reactions, draw more to us. It is not easy to remain level headed when you feel misunderstood or you hear the lies of others. I am practising holding my head up high and let it wash over me. I haven’t cracked it yet, but I will.

 

Acting from the heart is not always easy, but keep trying as I am and allow Karma do the rest.

 

Sending loads of love to all those who are in Grief. Be strong you will get through.

Grief



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Bargain or False Economy ?
28 June 2013

 

Bargain or False Economy ?

 
After years of observation I have come to the conclusion that bargains are not always bargains.
Yes sometimes you can find real bargains, like the summer dresses I brought last year, after searching many high street shops to no avail I found three stunning dresses in the charity shop and together they cost less than one in a high street store, bargain.
Bargain

 

But like many of you I have brought things thinking it was a Bargain, just to find that it was false economy and it has cost me more in the long run. A prime example is when I brought my iPad, a friend of ours had a mobile phone shop and said he could get me a second hand iPad, only used for three weeks at a good price, has it got a slot for the Internet, I asked, yes was the answer, so I brought it. What did I find no Internet, unable to take it back that was that, but I had payed more than a new non Internet iPad for it, great. You see this Bargainturned out to be false economy, as it didn’t do the job I wanted, although it works on wi-fi which is just as good and I love it.

 

We all make these sort of errors of judgement and to be fair they don’t have a huge impact on our lives, they really don’t matter, for £20 or so, most of us can live with the mistake.

 

However then you get the major errors, lets take our landlord. Antonio has built a nice little house next to a huge shed, in a beautiful little Spanish village. We moved in a year and a half ago, and everything has been great, he is a brilliant landlord. However his false economy is now showing. The house has no solid foundations, so now huge cracks are appearing in almost every room. This is not a problem to us, but at some point in the future it maybe to him. With time and the tiny earthquakes we get here, he could find it just starts to fall down.

 

Bargain

 

By far the most outrageous Bargain hunter I have ever seen is an older gentleman we will call him Pound Coin (PC for short), moved to Spain from England, his story is totally incredible and his false economy in the four years our paths have crossed has cost him thousands.

 

Bargain

 

PC brought a plot of land, with a ruin on it, in a tiny Hamlet a 20 minute drive to the nearest shop or bar. Then this 70 year man decided he would live in a caravan until he builds his log cabin, ok ambitious but nothing wrong with that. What he did next was the start of a string of false economies, which are hard to believe.

 

The caravan, PC managed to get the agreement of the locals to put his caravan on a communal area, well done PC. But he didn’t go down the road and buy a nice little caravan, put it on the agreed spot and crack on with the building, oh no.
PC brought the largest mobile home you can, and in England. False economy. You can buy them in Spain, but this one was a good price. Really ? After shipping it to Spain for a serious amount of money, this bargain ended up costing a lot more than buying on here.
Think the neighbours where shocked when the little caravan turned out to be a 28ft mobile home.

 

 Bargain

 

PC makes regular trips back to the UK, to collect things like a 10ft canoe, why? we are miles from the sea and there are no running rivers here large enough for it. On these trips he also stocks up with groceries from Lidls, again why ? We have Lidls here and they sell the same thing, for near as dam it the same price. Mad but not really false economy.
 
PC’s biggest bargain turned into false economy on a grand scale. His car, he had been having trouble with it and being so isolated had to arrange for friends to collect him to go shopping when it was in the garage. The garage told him it was more than likely the head gasket(I am told this is a major job), but to know for sure they would have to replace it, because getting it out of the car would break it. Not prepared to pay the price the professionals charge, in his wisdom he decided to get the local Jack of all trades, master of none to do it. The result was PC being left without a car for a long period of time, relying on other people’s good will to chauffeur him about. The garage would have taken a week and lent him a car. More than a month without said car and Jack had finished, or so he said. PC got his car back just, after having fallen out with Jack, who to be fair does not like being told he is wrong, slow or anything else really. Jack had threaten to leave it in bits as he had had to wait for a part for PC’s in England, because it was cheaper.

 

Guess what the car, now complete with a new head gasket was making different noises and other things where not working. Surprise surprise it is always false economy to get major work done on a car by someone that hasn’t got a clue.

 

PC ended up limping back to the UK and getting a garage there to replace the engine. Now would it not have been easier to just get it done by a professional in the first place and it would have been an awful lot cheaper.

 

Bargain

 

So next time you are on the look out for a bargain, think twice, is it really a bargain or is it just false economy ?



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The Sun Still Shines
18 June 2013

 

The Sun Still Shines

The Sun Still Shines
 
 
 
The sun still shines
The rain still fails
Time still ticks
But your not here
 
Memory’s are all we hold
No more to be made
But in our hearts you never die
Because you are with us for eternity
 
Your memory’s are lost
Ours grow strong
Never to fade
Love rules strong
 
We search to find our new normal
A normal without you
The sun reminds us we must go on
We must create new memory’s with those still here
 
The rain is like our tears
Washing the pain away
You are here in our hearts
With us always
 

The sun still shines

The rain still falls

Time still ticks

But your not here

 
The Sun Still Shines
 


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A Message
15 June 2013

 

LOVE

LOVE
 
 
 
Suddenly life has gone
Snatched too soon
No more arms to hold me
No lips to kiss me
But yet a peace
Peace that the pain has ended
Peace that you suffer no more
Peace that together you are once more
 
The power of soul mates to strong
To strong to keep you here
To strong to hold you with your children

To strong for any LOVE no matter how strong to break

You are both gone
But together
 
The pain is selfish pain
Never to be held in your arms again
Never to hear your voice
The overwhelming loss is pure selfish
You are together
Your love
The love
That brought me into the world
 
I am so honoured to call you
My parents

The love you showed

Unmeasurable
The safety you provided
 
You are both forever with me
In my heart
In my soul
Never to be replaced
Never to be lost
But life will never be the same
 
Thank you for being my Dad
Thank you for being my Mum

I love you

 
LOVE


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Update
20 April 2013

 just a quite note to say that I have to return to the UK because of a family bereavement.

I will continue with my blog when I return in about a month.

Sam



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