Welcome back to the second expat Moving Story!
This time we head over to Spain to talk with British expat Sarah who moved there in 2002. The interesting thing about Sarah’s story is how well she has adapted to her new life, and what country she now considers home. For me, ever the Kiwi girl at heart, I find this fascinating.
How amazing it is that we could find an alternate home to our homeland!
I wonder too whether the relatively short and accessible distance between her home of origin and her current home has something to do with it.
Do you think living in a country within a short plane flight’s distance from your homeland makes it easier to ‘lay your hat’ and ‘make your home’?
Let’s hear from Sarah who blogs at Que Sera Sarah
1)Why did you move to Spain, originally?
Basically it was on a whim of my then husband. 2001 was a horribly wet year in the UK, in the January we had a holiday in Florida and then in October we spent a week in Alicante, Spain with my mum and her husband who were here house hunting for a month. The fact that we could spend so much time outside swayed him. At Christmas time he was still talking about how we could move to Spain and how much nicer it would be for the girls (they were 1 and 3 at this time) So in January we came over house hunting, found a house and by April 2002 we had moved in.
2) Can you recall the time before you left England and what your concerns about moving were?
My biggest concerns were the actual move itself, my inability to speak Spanish and what would happen if we didn’t like it.
3)What did you think you would miss most about England, apart from family?
To be quite honest, I’m a bit of a wherever I lay my hat that’s my home kind of girl. I knew I’d miss my friends and the social life we had – but as I’m generally a home body, I wasn’t too worried about it.
4) Have you been surprised by what you really have missed about England?
OMG yes it’s turned out to be the “comfort foods” that I took for granted in the UK. I must explain that I don’t live in what would be termed as an expat/holiday area – so although I can visit a British supermarket it is a 2 or 3 times a year experience for a stock up on a few things. Also no one is allowed to come and visit without bringing a good supply of teabags as some habits are really hard to give up.
I also really missed books as I am an avid reader – but now I have my Kindle, not so much.
5) Do you see your old age in this country or in England, and was moving a ‘for life’ decision or ‘for a while’ decision?
At the time it was a ‘we’ll see if we like it’ decision. But now, I see myself quite settled here. My girls have had their education here and would find it very hard to adjust to life in the UK.
6) Aside from the weather, what positives about life in Spain can you tell us about and were the challenges the same as you envisaged or not?
Well, I don’t know if I just fell lucky or not, but I really love my life here. The girls are thriving, I cannot fault the health care and education they are getting. We do spend so much more time outside than we did in the UK. The days seem to be so much longer – not in the ‘dear lord is it not bed time yet?’ sense – but in the – ‘flipping heck it’s 22:00 and we’ve not had dinner yet’ feeling!
9) When you think of home, which country comes to mind now?
My house is my home. But if I’m visiting my Dad in the UK then yes I’m just popping home to visit. If however, I had tickets to the Olympics, then I’d go “back” to the UK.
I think Spain is home for me now.
Do you think living close to your homeland makes a big difference in helping you to settle?
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