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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English author, editor and freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it! Anything can and probably will happen here.

90,000 Brits may have left Spain, but this one is staying!
Friday, April 25, 2014 @ 12:37 PM

I was interested to read that almost 90,000 Brits left Spain to return to the UK during the last year. People leave for various reasons - unable to hold down a job or make a busines work, the high cost of being self-employed in Spain, the death or severe illness of a partner, missing the family. However, I have noticed that, at least among the people I know, moving to Spain seems to be a temporary measure rather than a permanent migration.

In the last few weeks, several of our friends have made the move back to the UK, and another couple are planning to go back in a couple of years or so. It seems that nobody except us is prepared to actually stay here. Even then, Tony has said that if anything happened to me, he wouldn't stay in Spain. He can't speak Spanish, and although he can drive, at 80, he doesn't feel confident enough to drive himself around all the time. And since we've been here, I've dealt with everything, so he wouldn't have the faintest idea how to deal with the bank or sort out the Suma payments on the car and house, or the annual community fees.

It seems to me that people cherry pick the bits of Spanish lifestyle that attract them, but basically recreate their English life in the sunshine, so that when problems arise - as they do wherever you live - they feel that the only way they can deal with things is to head back 'home.' Spain has never become their home - it's just a stopgap for a few years, and I think that's why so many people are heading back.

I get a bit sick of people blaming Spain for their decision to move back - prices are going up, property prices are falling, unemployment is high, we're not getting as many Euros for our Pounds as we used to. The thing is, Spain is not alone in this. We have lived through a worldwide recession, and now that things are improving slightly in Spain, life should become easier for a lot of people.

A couple of friends who we have stayed in touch with have said that once the novelty of spending more time with their families and being understood everywhere they went wore off, they started to remember why they'd left the UK in the first place, and they wish they had given it longer before deciding to move back. The trouble is, we always think the grass is greener somewhere else, but more often than not it's more a case of selective nostalgia. I for one consider Spain to be my home now, so you won't see me featuring in any of the statistics.


Like 1


camposol said:
Friday, April 25, 2014 @ 3:36 PM

the bit about your husband not knowing about bills etc concerned me-he should know!
You say you wouldn't leave, but there are factors which have influenced others such as
partner suffering from long term debilitating illness, stroke, alhzeimers, etc which would be very had to manage in Spain, and a vast amount of money would be needed for care in the home.
Both partners may be frail, their future care in Spain has to be considered;perhaps it is best to pack up and go back while still physically and mentally able. The elderly care in UK isn't perfect, but still a lot better than Spain.

Robin29 said:
Monday, May 5, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

My wife and I discussed to a considerable length on whether to sell up in England and buy in Spain or whether to let the house out and rent in Spain. We decided to do the former as it meant a full commitment to living in Spain and not going there with the intention of returning. Indeed, returning was an option we decided we would hopefully never have to contemplate. But, here we are, 12 years on, once again living in the UK - and why, you may ask? The concept of a more comfortable retirement with our pension going further and warm sunny weather seemed to be everything we would ever want for the remainder of our days. Well, it all started to turn sour about 4 years ago when the difference between living in Spain and living in the UK became about the same price wise. We don't smoke or drink and they were the only 2 things that seemed to remain cheap apart from the house rates. However, most other bills are a lot higher in Spain than the UK now (all the insurances there are astronomical by comparison, 500+€ for TP only on my motorcycle as opposed to £101 fully comp here - and so on.) Gas and electricity are cheaper here (the air conditioning we used in the summer to keep cool and in the winter to keep warm was very expensive in Spain.) Overall, we are financially better off and have a more comfortable life here than the way things were starting to go in Spain. The sunshine in Spain isn't quite as important after a while when your lifestyle in general starts to decline from what it was. It is that which I feel persuades many people to return to England eventually. Good luck to those who decide to stay there, but from my experience of people who have lost their partners whilst living in Spain, they have expressed regrets that they weren't living in England at the time and staying on alone can be just as difficult as moving back alone for some.

camposol said:
Monday, May 5, 2014 @ 2:56 PM

What a refreshing change it is to hear from someone who admits that Spain is not the country where every thing is better, cheaper than the UK. my husband and I feel exactly as you do;Sunshine does not compensate for things that are wrong.
The cost of electricity is becoming astronomical, Insurances, food no cheaper or better then UK;as you say, the only things cheaper are booze, fags,(of no interest to me) and rates and there are hidden costs of living in Spain such as interpreters, paying accountants. Going home to visit relatives, which most of us like to do, means a lot of money, eg flights, transport to airport, spending while you are there(always more than you intend)
Then there is the dreaded IHT, which coming on top of the stress of a bereavement is a nightmare.
I do wish some people in Spain would admit it isn't the Utopia they describe and smash those rose coloured glasses!

Robin29 said:
Monday, May 5, 2014 @ 3:45 PM

One of the main considerations for me was the price of fuel - 46 pence a litre when we moved to Spain and now around £1.18 a litre. Of course, it is dearer here in the UK but as we don't have so far to travel to see friends and relatives it becomes more economical to get around - especially when we use our bus passes in the summer! There is also more opportunity to visit the theatre, watch cricket on the local green in the summer, play golf more cheaply and therefore more frequently - amongst many other things. However, there are a couple of things I do miss very much about Spain - the vast emptiness of the interior roads when I went motorcycling, the ability to just 'nip' up to Andorra for a weeks skiing around 3 or 4 times during the season and the reliable weather at the airfield that I used to Skydive at. But as I get older these things become less important and I find my other hobbies - digital photography and DIY, more relaxing and consuming of my time now.

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