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Why did you or your family choose to live abroad?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


SpanishEyes Report 2 Aug 2011 15:11

I have been chatting to another Brit who chose to live in Spain on one of the Islands.
Our views are that we did make the right decision. We enjoy good weather, a calm environment, and if you try to learn some Spanish the local people are very helpful.

However we also have to deal with things that just would not happen in the UK. Such as the 6 days I have just experienced of no telephone or Internet connection, when it was "resolved" the two things still constantly went down. OH being a man of somewhat short irritation level decided to deal with it himself including the telephone box. All I will say is that we were lucky we had anything working!!

Receiving post can be very difficult as well. We have been here seven years and still do not get snail mail.

However overall we are content,

So to anyone who has chosen to live in Spain or indeed any other country to that where they where born and lived please join us, make us laugh, teach us what we could do better, tell us why we left our country etcetcetc !!

I hope someone joins us today

I am


16.10 hrs Spain :-D


SpanishEyes Report 2 Aug 2011 15:15

Oops, as usual, writing to fast did not check for spelling mistakes and now cannot get to those mistakes so I humbly apologise

16.14 hrs


Rita Report 2 Aug 2011 19:29

Spanish Eyes
Many people say how pleased they are they emigrated to Spain. and many learn the language. during the summer. we have lots of things wrong in Britian as do the Spanish.
But come the winter we get lots of people who live in Spain now come onto the threads complaining they dont get the winter fuel allowance.

pleased dont take this wrong. so it amuses me how opinions change from summer to winter.



SpanishEyes Report 2 Aug 2011 20:07


Thank you for your are our first reply, and we hope that there will be many others and not only from Spain.
You are quite right about how some people moan about things which they did not research or confirm what the situation will / would be about things such as the winter fuel allowance.
We were lucky because my eldest son already lived in Barcelona when we moved so we had lots of help.

Life is different and there. are times even now when we become frustrated with all the beaurocrasy. How ever we chose to be here we were not forced to come here so rather as I felt a out immigrants coming into England so we have to remind ourselves that we have done the same thing.

We are getting ready to go to yet another festival tonight, the fire works will be let off at mid ight and it is usually quite spectacular.

Signing off now as I am supposed to be getting ready.

Bridget 21.06 hrs Spain

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 3 Aug 2011 04:54

Bridget, if the festivals are like the ones I used to go to in Malta they are great fun so I hope you enjoyed yourself and will attend many more before the summer is over.

I am envious of anyone living abroad, just wish I had done it when I was younger.

I did think I was going to be in Malta but things didn't go well with my son's Dad so I ended up alone back in England with a baby. It did give my parents some wonderful years with my lad which was lovely for him and them so I guess it worked out well then, maybe I should have upped sticks after they both died but by then my son was 13 and working towards GCSEs etc I couldn't have taken him while parents were alive, it would have broken their hearts and they weren't the sort to travel to visit.

Que sara......



Rita Report 3 Aug 2011 09:39

at least you get the sun and other benefits from iving in Spain
It must be hard taking the chance and doing that moving somewhere abroad as you never know till you have lived somewhere for a certian time what life there will be like.?
It is the same if you move from the south to the north or visa versa in Britian it a chance you have to take.
I have know people who when retired moved to another country only to lose their othe half after a couple of years that is the hardest thing as you are often left on your own, many move back due to being on their own.
If you have a family member living where you have moved to must make it easier.

hope the firework display went off well.


MaryinSpain Report 3 Aug 2011 10:23

We have lived in Spain for almost 10 years - and to be honest have enjoyed most of it. and hope for many more years of enjoyment. Obviously leaving family and friends back in UK was hard but the way I look at it was my husband had a job which was 24(7 and all he had to look forward to was 3 weeks holiday a year. So I willingly came to Spain so that we could share the rest of our lives together. As hubby was not retirement age - we were in our early 50·s he had to find a way of earning money and the obvious way was helping people fulfill their wish, like we did, and find them suitable property. He is still doing this now and thoroughly enjoys it although because of the economic climate sales are few and far between - but we have each other - enjoy the simple way of life and are very happy.
Mary xx


Janet Report 3 Aug 2011 11:47

Just a couple of things ....I know of a couple who bought a property in Spain and eventually came back because of illness,but used a mutual friend's address in England and received their fuel allowance all the time they were out there.No comment.
Apart from that my children have moved away. I suppose we always encouraged them to take the extra mile and this may be the price we pay.If people didn't take that leap of faith into the unknown it would be a dull world. At least one of mine is still in England but the other decided to take the opportunities that the US offered. The weather is still a talking point and I think wherever the sun shines that people are generally happier so why not benefit from some free sunshine whilst we martyrs put up with England-jl


Rita Report 3 Aug 2011 11:49

Mary that is lovely, i am pleased for you. you have to take a chance when you move to another area or country. like you say life is short and time together is precious I moved from Ealing to Norfolk with my husband he had to find work, he was in the building trade but stress was catching up with him for all the hours he was hard going.but he only lived for four years after we moved and he was just 61 so I was left miles away from my family,and felt terribly lonely at times even when I had lots of friends in Norfolk. which I had made over the four years I had lived there. it took me 20 years before I made up my mind to move back near my family. as I was mssing them and my grandchildren and great grandchildren. they came and spent their holidays witrh me as I was so near the beach. but having moved back here 8 yars ago I am glad I did. I miss Norfolk and my f riends. but I needed to be near my children.



wisechild Report 3 Aug 2011 12:54

Hi Bridget.
Just logged on & found the promised thread.
Looking forward to seeing the posts.
I think that the one thing that surprises people most is the fact that it gets COLD here in the winter & we often go for days never seeing the sun, just like everywhere else.Once you accept that, you´re OK but you do need to be prepared for it.
Also, if you live in or near a resort, everything closes down or operates on restricted hours from October to Easter, so you need to make provision. Flights to England may be cheaper than in summer, but again are very restricted.
The other thing to remember is that Spain is suffering from higher unemployment than Britain, so finding work if you need to will be almost impossible unless you speak the language fluently & have some sort of transferrable qualification.
Having said all that, the Health service here is second to none in my experience & the people are friendly & the lifestyle relaxed.
I personally wouldn´t go back to the UK although we are considering leaving the Balearics & moving to the mainland where my husband comes from.
Best advice I can give is Learn The Language. If you don´t understand what´s being said, you won´t get it translated for you like in England.


SpanishEyes Report 3 Aug 2011 13:45

I Amal pleased that this new thread has had so many hits.
It is intersting that so far everyone originates from the UK, I wonder if there will be anyone from somewhere else who will join us?

How I agree with Marion re people expecting Spain to be at least warm if not hot all the year round. We were very lucky as I said before, eldest son already lived in Spain, a cousin of mine who had been born in the UK but lived from his mid early thirties in Switzerland had married a Spanish lady and was able to give me a lot of advice about where not to live as well as places he thought we would enjoy.
Well have to go and have my late lunch now but will be back later.

Bye for now,

14.44hrs Spain :-)


SpanishEyes Report 3 Aug 2011 21:47

Just looking in to say good evening.

Pleased to see that Marian has posted as it was her who suggested this thread. I hope that a few more will join us. For example those who live in any other country may join us as well and of course that could include anyone living in any other country.
Some suggestions

Choosing where to live and why.
Why did you leave your home country.?
Do you speak the language of the country you to live in.?
What do you enjoy in your new country?
What do you miss the most about the country you left?
Did you choose your new home or is it a company home.?
What do you think about the Health Service compared to your country of origin?
Do you cook local style meals?
How did you find your local politicians, do you get involved in any local activities.?
What do you not like about where you live and what do you like.?
Can you pass on local food and recipes or do you still cook UK style meals.?
Is your new country Home or Where is Home?

Please add any points that you would like to add and discuss?


It is still very warm, to warm to go to bed and sleep!
22.47 hrs. Spain


wisechild Report 4 Aug 2011 07:45

Doing the annual battle against mosquitos, made worse this year by the rain which has created higher than usual humidity levels & I am allergic to the bites, swelling to gigantic proportions, so avoid them to a point of paranoia.
Not long now until the flies come into their own, usually in September/October. Add to that the swarms of jellyfish & you spend most of your life avoiding something.
To answer some of the above questions
Yes, I speak Castilian, but not Catalan, although I can sort of understand the basics. I spoke some Spanish when I moved here, but then I met my husband who speaks almost no English, so had to learn PDQ.
We share the cooking, so I tend to cook English & he cooks Spanish, or we concoct an amalagamation of the two.
The only thing that we really disagree about is Christmas, which I like to celebrate, while he prefers to wait for 3 Kings on Jan 5th. I can´t see why we can´t celebrate both, but he is a bit stubborn.I suppose we have both had 60 odd years of our own traditions & it´s hard to change.
I have found the Health Service here far superior to the NHS & as a pensioner I am entitled to everything free, just like a Spanish person. This includes treatment, prescriptions, dentistry (although the treatment is limited & I go to a private one, which is no more expensive than an English NHS one). We all have a card on which all our details can be accessed by computer anywhere, so if you have a repeat prescription authorised on your records, you can take your card to any pharmacy to collect it, or someone can go for you as long as they produce your card & ID.
Come on all you fellow ex pats. Lets hear your views.


Rita Report 4 Aug 2011 10:33

Ithink your get shock as the Dentistry in England (not sure about Scotland ) is very dear. I had to have treatment on the NHS and have spent about £340 and that is NHS..

It is nice to know people from Britian can settle down in other countries and be content.I like to read all about it. and what your life is like out there,


Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 4 Aug 2011 12:44

Yoo hoo....from someone who isn't living in Spain, but in Egypt. Hubby and I have lived in various parts of the Middle East (we move with his job every couple of years) and we are currently in Cairo.

I just wanted to say I am really enjoying this thread, it's great to see others' views on life as an expat.

K x


AnninGlos Report 4 Aug 2011 13:04

Karen, do tell us about life in Cairo. I really can't imagine what it is like.

I think if I could go back 20 years and decided to move I would move to the North of Tenerife. For me it has a pleasant climate and the people are lovely. It is not as touristy as the South. It still has the beurocracy though, many forms to be filled in for everything. But their health service seems to be excellent too.

Re Fireworks Bridget, when we were in Tenerife in April there were not nearly so many firworks as the towns were stopping them to save money because of the recession.


wisechild Report 4 Aug 2011 13:50

Hi Karen.
Feel free to join in. It´s always good to hear other peoples experiences & I don´t think the thread is intended just for Brits in Spain. Perhaps it would be better to change the title.

The people of Catalonia are fiercely defending their right to speak their native language, even though the official language of Spain is Castilian. The problem dates back to the civil war when Franco banned all things Catalan.
While I am all in favour of keeping the language & traditions alive, most people agree that things are being taken too far. For example, you can´t take a job with any of the local authorities unless you can speak Catalan & the tourist trade is suffering because not only foreigners, but Spaniards from other parts of Spain can´t understand a word.
As you can imagine, it causes endless problems.

Yes I know NHS dentistry in England is expensive. I was just saying that private dentistry here costs about the same as NHS dentistry in England.
It is possible to get dental insurance here too & once you are over pension age, certain treatments are free.



Rita Report 4 Aug 2011 14:08

I am pleased you explained that to me I thought you meant it was dearer there than here. so you get benifits when you pensionable age then ? what type do you get. and do you get the same in Cario too K.
isnt this interesting.



wisechild Report 4 Aug 2011 14:31

Hi Rita.
As members of the EU anyone over retirement age in Spain is entitled to exactly the same concessions as Spanish pensioners as far as health care is concerned. We have to pay for opticians & anything above the basic level of care, but we also get cheap travel & subsidised holidays. Haven´t tried the hols yet, but have lots of friends who have & they appear to be excellent value for money, although naturally you can only take them outside the main tourist season. It helps to keep the hotels open during the off season & keeps people in work, so it has double advantages.
So far I have been incredibly impressed with the health care provision here & several times when I have enquired about paying for things, have been assured there is no need.
I was amazed a couple of weeks ago when I had to go as a day patient for a minor procedure & when I came round from the anaesthetic, the nurse came & asked me what I would like for breakfast while I was waiting for the doctor to come & bring me the test results. (Which I would almost certainly have had to wait at least a couple of weeks for in England)
So far, can´t fault the system here, although I know it´s expensive pre retirement unless you have paid into the system.


AnninGlos Report 4 Aug 2011 14:51

And when I had an overnight stay in hospital for an op a couple of years ago breakfast was a slice of toast. This may have been because I was kept overnight (As were several others) on the day ward.