Living abroad is not for everybody, some people do come out with unrealistic ideas and some come out thinking it is what they want but find after a few years that it is not and that is fine for them to sell up and go home, what we should not be doing is moaning about everything. I work in a very spanish office (the only Brit there) and I am amazed at how much the English will moan and complain about, it is no wonder some of the Spanish are racists but I have to say the majority of them are not and if you make some attempt to integrate into the Spanish way of life you will be rewarded by very friendly warm giving people.
I have lived here now for 6 years and I love it, I am a working Brit with a full time contract and I have worked for the same Spanish company for the whole 6 years. The roads are not congested so travelling 25 minutes into work each day is easy and stress free, the hours are not as long as the hours I worked previously in the UK and whilst costs are almost on par with the UK for food and clothes, tapas bars are cheap, drink is much cheaper and just to be able to sit in the sunshine ands watch the world go by is great. I am lucky in that I have access to free medical treatment and the hospitals here are much cleaner and waiting lists generally much smaller, I have found the hospital to be very efficient, although I can speak Spanish (not fluently) I always take a translator to any consultations at the hospital so I dont take up too much time of the profesional medical team asking them to speak slowly or worse not understanding medical terms. Our spanish neighbours in the small village where we live are fantastic with no prejudice whatsoever and always give us crops of something they have grown and include us in any of their private fiestas and into their homes.
I am not saying I would never go back to the UK because we can never say never but it is not on my agenda for the near future, I do miss the shops but you can get so much more on line now than you could 5 years ago that it does not matter too much. I love my spanish house, I love living in the campo and being so close to the sea at the same time. We spend every Sunday in the summer on the beach with a picnic and a good book and feel lovely and relaxed for work on Monday. For the first 3 years here we did not even go back to the UK, after this illness and death meant we had to make several journeys and as my mum can no longer fly we have to make journeys back but only once a year. After a visit back to the UK it makes you even more contented with your lot when you come back to the sunshine and traffic free roads.
I love the outside life and for at least 6 months of the year that is where we spend our time which we could not do back in Blighty without being cold. Friends and family come to visit so really it is only the shops that I miss occassionally and nothing else. It does get frustrating getting official things done and again due to working full time, I generally just pay somebody to get them done for me, saving any stress but I think we just have to tackle these things with humour and not get bad tempered with the Spanish as this only makes them less willing to assist us.
The Spanish do see us as an aggressive race and I honestly can understand why after hearing the way some people tackle their complaints and this is a great shame.