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What You Expect and What You Actually Get Living in Spain

Expectations and Reality Are Often Very DifferentA friend of mine who is well established living in Spain eight years after coming over, looked back on what she thought Spain and her life would be before coming over. If this is you too you may need to take a little reality check when coming to look at property for living in Spain or you may insist that this idealised life has to be on your list of must haves. So read what Maya has to say here. You can read more from Maya on her Costa Connected articles

Laughable ideas I had 7-8 years ago back in the dreaming phase, about what life would be like when we moved to Spain. You’ve got to have a plan, right? Otherwise nothing happens. But, the fun is in seeing what DOES unfold, and looking back at how far off the mark we were before…

* I should be comfortably fluent in Spanish within a year or so tops
* Business would only require me to pop back to London 3 or 4 times per year and even if not, €30 flights are here to stay, right?
* My OH would work in our business for a few months till he learned Spanish (ha) and got a job (hahahaha) (in my defence this was 2007, such things as jobs definitely existed back then)
* An outdoor lifestyle would mean being slim and healthy and tanned
* After a year or so we will buy our own place – we are English and must have our Castle. We would probably end up living in a 200 year old finca in the campo with stone walls a metre thick, and maybe have goats or chickens or something
* We would sunbathe a lot on our roof terrace (Place In The Sun overdose…)
* We would never miss English foods and brands because Mediterranean foods are so natural and abundant and gorgeous. Sneaking off to Iceland for cottage cheese or somosas? The very idea!
* In fact we will never go to supermarkets, and instead buy all our produce in local markets, following fluent and productive haggling.

Expectations and Reality Are Often Very Different

Expectations and Reality Are Often Very Different

This is the ideal of living in Spain of course, the type of Expat abroad lifestyle propagated by books about living abroad such as “A Year In Provence” about France or “Driving Over Lemons” about Spain. However how many people actually live this lifestyle and how many people would it actually suit if they did? Let’s face it, the idea of living up a track on the side of a mountain after giving up the rat race may inspire you but once the cold winters, the dampness and the twenty minute drive to even get a carton of milk actually become your daily reality then it is often the case that the dream quickly turns sour just like the milk may on the long journey home, try reading Jason Webster’s “Sacred Sierra” about that type of lifestyle in Castellón for example.

So for the majority of people here are some things that are 99% certain not to happen.

1) You will not be fluent very quickly in Spanish (Unless you put some effort in of course. A good start is to download the Duolingo app on your smartphone)

2) You will not have a donkey, some goats or a load of chickens (Unless you are like Victoria Tweed and her “Two Old Fools” books.

3) You will not be surrounded by jolly, toothless but big hearted old duffers who constantly get you out of tricky situations through the use of a penknife and two mangy dogs.

4) It will rain every now and again.

5) You will still eat rubbish at times because we all do. (However in general your diet will be a lot better as the absolute variety of sugary crap available in other countries are just not the norm in Spain)

6) You will not just walk into a job here (unless you come over for one of course) And you should be able to make sure you have enough income to see you through without having to panic (Two or three years money in the bank is the norm)

7) You will make time to go to the markets but usually only when you have friends visiting and you want to show off.

8) You will search for shade, not for sun. Try sitting out in 40 degree heat for long without any shade. Your body will regret it.

Is there anything else you could add to this one?

Meanwhile, if you are looking to come over and you have any of these requirements, tell us below what you are looking for and where and we will help you out.

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Expectations and Reality Are Often Very Different