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About the author: My name is Tina and I live and work with my best friend Glynis on the Southern Costa Blanca close to Torrevieja. We have been in Spain for nearly two years and we now run a Property Management and Rental business, O.P.I. San Migel S.L, part of a franchise network founded around 3 years ago. We look after and maintain property, giving peace of mind to owners in the UK, and specialise in long term rental contracts and holiday lettings.
Ever since I started learning Spanish at school I always said "One day I´m going to live in Spain". About four years ago I got made redundant from my job as a Vocational Trainer and was horrified when I was given only 50UKL a week to live on by the state. I decided my "one day" had been too long coming so I started making plans.
I went self employed, took TEFL courses and spent several trips visiting every area from Cadiz to Barcelona to decide where I wanted to start. My Mum or my best mate, Glynis, came with me on many of these trips and with each one I was more determined than ever to live and work in Spain.
Every city in Spain is different and beautiful, exploring them was always a joy. We travelled all over by bus, train, coach, taxi and car…we stumbled on village fiestas, hidden beaches, tiny mountain villages, gigantic paellas, religious festivals, little marinas and all manner of local folk. I went to school in Granada for a month and then again in Nerja, walking there at sunrise every day along the beach….bliss! And of course always the sun shone.
Two significant developments occurred at the end of 2003. The first was that my Mum developed secondary breast cancer and the second was that Glynis decided she wanted to come live in Spain too. So now we had a question of timing.. We had decided on the Alicante region because we loved the city, there are a lot of English in the area so we thought it would be easy to get work, and it was cheaper to live than Nerja, which was our first choice. We had also decided to move out in May 2004 but there was no way I could go and leave Mum while she was having treatment, and as it turned out I didn´t realise how ill she was at the time. So it all got put on hold.
When she died in February 2004 I was devastated but now I had nothing to keep me in England so in June we bought an apartment in Villamartin and upped sticks and moved here as soon as everything was organised.
Finding somewhere to live and making a whole load of new friends was easy, getting used to the Spanish customs and people was a wee bit tricky, but finding work was much harder than we ever anticipated. We tried working for English companies, started up our own businesses, property maintenance , property finders, bought a mist cooling system business and more but nothing clicked and we were fast running out of money and ideas.
Then six months ago we happened upon a franchise opportunity which seemed to offer exactly what we needed - a legal business with an established brand name, a proven product in a growing market, freedom to run our own business and ongoing support from professional people who´d been there and got the T-shirt. Our only competition would be neighbours who hold keys and do the washing, most of whom are working illegally, and estate agents who dabble but only really want to sell houses.
Hence OPI San Miguel S.L opened its doors in July this year and we are really happy with the way things are working out.. O.P.I now has 6 offices covering the Southern Costa Blanca from San Pedro to Gran Alicant and inland. We specialise in Property Management and Rentals, both long term and holiday lets. Glynis and myself operate from our brand new office in San Miguel de Salinas and have the benefits of market-leading software, links with other high-profile websites and a proven network of tradesman and suppliers.
We both have strong customer service backgrounds so we enjoy helping people protect their investment and enjoy their holidays. We have also been busy raising our profile in the local community. Last month we organised a Charity Golf Day for A.E.C.C, the local cancer charity and raised over €3700 and I felt really pleased to be able to do something to help victims of that dreadful disease as well.
Whilst we still live in a predominantly English area, we work in a real Spanish town amongst the orange groves so we have a good mix of cultures. We may still be a little way off from that "living the dream" everyone bangs on about we feel we are a lot closer than we were two years ago and definitely way closer than all those people back in England who are still saying "one day"!!.