On the car journey back to our borrowed house in the Campo, I had time to reflect on what we had learned (and achieved) in our first four weeks of being in sunny Spain…
1: The second hand jeep we spontaneously purchased in the same time it takes to consume several strips of the Colonels secret recipe had completed the full 1,374 mile trip from Hastings to Mijas without as much as a splutter with husband, hound and the complete works of Stephen King encased in its padded compound.
2: The menopausal woman and ‘get off, I’m almost a teenager!’ can, it transpires, actually navigate their way via plane, train and automobile up into the Mijas hills and locate Heidi’s hidden house without the aid of testosterone, Google maps, Valium or Vodka.
3: All four founding members of the ‘Sod it lets go to Spain’ brigade were reunited within 30 hours of leaving the sanctity of Sussex and didn’t encounter one placard saying ‘Sod off, you bunch of Brexiters’ en route (We voted to remain….just so you know!!)
4: Brian is now afraid of kittens, with or without their heads attached and now truly believes he is part goat. He can be found most mornings bleating at passing cars from his favourite view point on top of the shed.
5: Everyone survived drinking the Spanish tap water after standing in the kitchen for 30 minutes going ‘You drink it, No YOU drink it! No, no we can’t have a wine instead; it’s not even 8am’
6: If you are foolish enough to forget that the Spaniards enjoy a day off from hurling your edible goods down the stationary conveyer belt, you may, as I did, arrive at Mercadona on a Sunday morning and stand sleepily in front of the automatic door for a good 30 minutes until you realise that shops actually close one day a week in Spain and you can, in all honesty, survive quite happily without replenishing your digestives every few hours.
7: Small local children roam the pitch black side roads when it’s waaaay past their bedtime and bolt about on scooters and bikes and give each other ‘backies’ down crowded pavements. They don’t seem to care about being indoors or killing their virtual enemies online as they are too busy knocking over British tourists that get in their way in their haste to get the sweetie kiosk situated on every street corner.
8: There are jobs here in Spain; you just have to look for them. If you are fortunate enough to get one with a working contract you will be automatically entitled to healthcare as long as you don’t mind filling in 17,000 forms and sending your various birth and marriage certificates back to their place of origin to get them verified and translated. Our most recent lot of paperwork has had a lovely vacation in Vegas and came back with a stunning tan.
9: Moving house is stressful enough, relocating to a country where the only thing you can pronounce correctly is ‘Hello’, even more so. Get everything in order before you leave home and be prepared to stand in various queues. There’s a reasonable chance you may get to the front of the line before being sent a birthday card from the queen but remember, the locals take a three hour lunch break so take your butties and a flask of coffee with you to be on the safe side. Trying to get your Residencia is hard enough, trying to do it while you are ‘Hangry’ is nigh impossible.
10: Wine is cheaper to purchase in the shops than bottled water. Enough said.
11: You will ask to divorce your spouse on a number of occasions. This is normal. Trying to get your solicitor to call you back to see if the sale on your desired property is progressing before Brexit occurs will be frustrating and time consuming and you will shout at your other half A LOT. If I had a Euro for every time my husband yelled ‘you wanted to move here!’ I would have enough money to purchase a hit man to kill him and have enough left over to get a facelift afterwards.
12: And finally, hearing your child starting to converse in Spanish to his school mates will make you prouder than the winner of the GBBO. Waking up to the sun streaming in through the window and not having to take out a second mortgage to eat out more than once a month is exhilarating. Knowing that all the people back in the UK who sucked air through their teeth when you said you were moving ‘away’ are still sat at home on a cold December evening while you are on the beach having a BBQ with all your new nomadic mates.
So, if you are one of the brave and have done all of the above (and more) and survived with your sanity intact, well done you! If you are still thinking about making the move, what’s stopping you?
All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas one and all. See you again in 2019 with more tales from a New Wife in the Sun!
To be continued … Episode 15
A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.