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Why did you or your family choose to live abroad?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Lady Cutie

Lady Cutie Report 5 Aug 2011 17:53

What a lovely thread .
It's so nice to hear how others abroad live and what the country is like .
I would have liked to move to spain but OH didn't want to . but we do go to spain and it's islands for our holidays . which i know its' not the same as living there ..but thats the nearest i'm going to get lol .


Jane Report 5 Aug 2011 18:14

My OH and I have lived in Portugal for 5yrs now and we really love it, at first I found it hard as I missed the grandchildren. I usually look for a very cheap flight and spend quality time with the family, the health service is really great here if you need an xray you just go to a designated clinic and your doctor gets the results in 4 days.
The Portuguese peole are very friendly and a lot of them like to speak english so we have no problems.
Enjoying the sunshine and away from the rat race



Rita Report 5 Aug 2011 18:27

Jane I have never been to Portugal but my daughter and her husband have. they loved it. but found certain things quiet expensive.

Heatherg I have been to Switzeland twice the last time was three years ago, I loved it. all the fresh air and the views were breath taking., when I was there I thought of the film Hanibal when he took the elephant over the mountains
I know it was the first time we didnt use Euro on our holiday. and the Swiss boarder guards stopped out coach and boarded it and checked our passports. It was a terrible hot day and we were stuck there for just an hour but it felt like a week.
There is something I would like to ask ( I hope no one will be offended ?) but if you get a pension from Britian are you paid in Euro or Lira or Sterling ? I wondered if with all the trouble there is now with the Euro in many countries if it made difference to your pension.



SpanishEyes Report 5 Aug 2011 19:40

Thank you to everyone who has added posts.
We do seem to be spreading our wings which is what I had hoped for.

I will try to answer any questions that I can about living in Spain.
in no particular order.

Re the current financial situation in Spain. The influx of illegal people has played quite a significant role in some of the concerns over here. They work for very small amount of money and do not mind all living together in very very basic accommodation. This has lead to Spanish born or overseas people who are registered to loose their work and then fall into debt...sounds very familiar to me..

In addition the attitude to developing the main roads has been addressed and this was sorely needed but one does wonder how much may have been (under the table agreements), .The standard of living is considerable different to the UK. I do not know and indigenous Spaniards with children who all have computers in their bedrooms and the children do not eat their meals in their bedrooms but at the dining room / sitting room/ Kitchen along with the rest of the family. this allows the parents and children to converse and I must say that this way of life is very similar to what I experienced as a child in the late 40s and 50s.

Land is what the Spanish want to own, not flashy cars, or designer clothes, this also reminds me of my Irish upbringing although it took place in England. I asked some Spaniards today how they felt about the current universal situation and they shrugged their shoulders, sipped their coffee and said still better that in the the old days....

I cannot speak for everyone who chooses to live here but we have bank accounts in both the UK and in Spain. We do have a small share of a house in the UK and therefore felt is was right to have all our income placed there and then we transfer money according to the need and the exchange rate ...not good at the moment.
I just keep reminding myself that we lost so much money on Black Friday that we will cope with anything that comes our way.!!!

we do not spend as much as we did in the U. we do not have help around the house, which we did have in the UK, we do not have to worry about buying all 6 children new clothes , shoes etc and this is also a relief, yes we supported them through Uni, we gave them deposits on their homes and now it is simple birthday presents.

The fluctuation of the money exchange rates can be difficult but it is not just about money.
My physical health improved enormously when we moved here, my husband had one episode of Adult Death Syndrome and one major heart attack in the UK caused by stress at work (Immigration) and he has not needed to see a GP or any other DR,since we arrived so I rest my case for moving here!

That is all I can manage at the moment...I think we may have a storm heading our way it is very close and very hot so going to have a cold drink, bring in Jet & Joe my beautiful Cocker Spaniels, bought in Spain
and wait to see what happens. I may peep back later if the storm passes over.


20.39 hrs Spain



AnninGlos Report 5 Aug 2011 21:27

You seem to have a lot of storms recently Bridget. Is that normal for your area?


wisechild Report 6 Aug 2011 07:35

Normally the storms are at their worst in the autumn although we do have odd ones all the year round.
This year the weather hasn´t been typical. Here in Menorca we have had an incredibly wet winter & spring & a much cooler summer than usual, with storms & rain which are almost unknown in July & August & the temperatures are 5-6c lower than usual.
As far as money is concerned, I used to have my pension paid in sterling into an English account & transfer it over when the rate was favourable, but after endless problems with the bank in England & the fact that the Euro has lost around 30pc of it´s value, about 3 years ago I gave up on that & now have everything here in Spain. The pension is transferred here by DWP every 4 weeks so the exchange rate at the time is a matter of luck .It was much cheaper to live here 6 years ago, but the cost of living has shot up & coupled with the lower income & lack of jobs, it´s becoming a struggle& we have seen a drop in living standards.
As Bridget says it´s not just about money though. The lifestyle is much more laid back & relaxing.The main stress at the moment is lack of work. Again that´s not just a financial consideration, but my husband, who is a cabinet maker, is used to having work & loves what he does, so he is becoming very depressed & irritable because he´s bored & he sees it as a reflection on him personally, so his self esteem is at rock bottom.
Don´t think he will ever accept retirement happily when the time comes.



SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 08:13

Good morning to you all from a warm but not yet sunny day in Peniscola, Spain.

Well AnninGlos, you question been answered. However there is just a few points that I wish to add.

1. We needed the rain, we still need rain. Our reserviours need water! The level is still very low and could cause problems if we do not have more rain. We used to go inland to see some spectacular birds such as hawks, but they are declining due to the change in weather patterns. The wonderfful inland country side with it's beautiful trees and hundreds of plants and wild flowers are also declining. Even here in my own garden things have tiny changes such as we now water our plants and trees three times a day for 10 minutes eac time as opposed to the 15 or 20 minutes we used to do.
Yes we still do have our pool but we have never emptied it in the 7 years we have had is, again because we believe in keeping it well cleaned eac day and only add water if really necessary.
All the hot water from cooking, I keep in a bucket and when it is cool I use it to water the house plants and this year I have also used it as an extra drink for the fruit trees.!

We are fortunate that we are not seeking employment but because I was a Registered nurse in the UK and only retired a short time ago I have been approached by at least three people to work for them in newly built facilities for the elderly. I have declined each time and many of you will know the reason why, however even if I wanted to work again I would still say "no thank you " because there are so many younger people who really do need employment.

I cannot comment on the cities in Spain as we live in a still small town and have a relatively peaceful environment. We feel safe, comfortable, healthier, and welcomed, we couldn't really ask for much more.
I have walked around town in the small hours of the day and never felt threatened, I have walked along the sea in the late hours of the night and never felt threatened. Of course some people are noisy, some people drink to much, ( even me on occasions ) but never been afraid.
Of course bad things do happen sometimes wherever you live.

Goodness me, I think that I have rambled on a little too much,so going for a coffee, but will be back during the day.

I just wondered if anyone has lived or is living in Canada, Australia, the Far East, Northen Europe, such as Norway etc. I will also ask my son in Hollad to explain why he chose to stay in Holland, (I must say he is doing very well there). But the cost of living is amazing!!

Has anyone lived in China, it is one of this places I would have loved to go to but it never happened.


09.13 hrs Spain.



SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 08:36

Back again just to say that I have left a message on The Wattle Club to see if anyone would like to join us.

Any other suggestions?

09.36 hrs

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 6 Aug 2011 11:18

Hi , me again,

I'm really enjoying this thread - it's great to see how we all cope with different living standards and ways of life, and what we like and don't like, or what we miss from 'home' etc.

Thought I'd just say, on the subject of costs, that the gas man has just been to read the meter this morning. He comes every month. He takes the reading, works out the cost on a small machine, and it produces a ticket, ie the bill. This means you can pay immediately, which I always do, and the total cost for this month was.....the equivalent of 90p.
Yes, that's 90 pence!! (the only gas we use is the cooker).
Electricity is a bit dearer, plus we use more, especially now when I've got the a/c's on, a couple of them permanently. I think we pay a few £'s per month on that.
But as i said, swings and roundabouts - we frequently get power cuts, even though they may not last long, it's a struggle without a/c when it does happen, for example, it's 37C today!

But my main reason for writing this morning is that I wanted to comment on Rita's question, a page or so back, about schooling.

There are plenty of International schools Rita, the world over, if you wanted to send your child to one, which most expats choose to do, and they are fee-paying as oppposed to the local, State schools.
For example, here in Cairo there are several British/English schools, American, French, Italian, International etc. schools, besides the local state schools. That goes for further ed, Colleges and Universities too. The AUIC (American University in Cairo) is huge and very well known in the region.

When we lived in Jordan I worked at the International school in our small town. It was a small school, newly built, so only the junior part when i was there. We had about 100 pupils, of several nationalities (of expat & immigrant families) as well as local children who made up the majority.
The teachers varied, we had English, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and a few Jordanians who had fluent English (as a result of attending the British or American schools & Universities in Amman).
The school followed the English schools curriculum, so all lessons were in English (apart from Arabic & Religious Instruction) and every child was expected to converse in the English language only! Speaking English must have been a daunting experience to those children who didn't have much knowledge of it when they started, but that was the whole idea...their parents knew how important it was, and were spending an enormous (comparitively) amount on school fees to give their children that chance in life. Having worked at that school, and seen it for myself, I can promise you it doesn't take a child long when 'totally immersed' , to start speaking another language, they're like sponges!

Speak later, got to do some of the dreaded HW now!

K x


Rita Report 6 Aug 2011 11:40

Thank you to everyone who has put there views and standard of living on the thread. I have sat here reading and taking it it was like reading a book on travel.
you all seem to have made a good move even with the worry of work, for some of you. the schools can I ask do they stay on till 18 ? or do they leave earlier. ? and have you good universities in your country if so ? are they doing the same as in England putting higher fees up ?

Your gas and electric sounds alot cheaper than in Britian. I wonder why that is ? . I have a friend whos sister lives in Cyprus she has been there for about 20 years and had a bungalow build out in the sticks but she has no electric and uses a generator which often breaks down. to send emails or receive them she goes into Papos
do any of you have problems like that ? to do with computers or phones ?

I take it you pay rates as we do in Britian ? sorry if I sound like and idiot but it is nice to hear how other countries get on compared to Britian.



SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 12:34

Delighted to read that so many people are enjoying this thread.
I will be back later

13.33 hrs Spain
:-D a big smile for you all


AnninGlos Report 6 Aug 2011 14:49

We have at least two people who are ex pats in Holland, hopefully they will join in sometime.


SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 19:28

The countries I have visited and I wonder what it is like to live in any of them.
Perhaps others will add to the list and then we may just prompt someone to come and join us.

In no particular or day.
Ireland ( southern)

Whilst we did not live in these countries were were in each one for at least a couple of months and it was very interesting.

The children always made friends with other local children and corresponded with some for several years.

The countries I wish I had visited are
China for it's history
Russia because it is so large, and has a very interesting history.
Egypt, because my grandfather was there for a considerable time whilst in the army.
Hopefully others will add to this list and if anyone has spent time in any of these maybe you could please tell us your experiences.


SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 19:55

Ah, Rita,

You have touched one of the most interesting aspects of living in my part of Spain.

First I must explain that the place I live in was a tiny, tiny fishing village until the film El CID was made here. Every person living here was in some way or another in the film. Each child born during filming was also in the film.

Of course this attracted many people to the area including the Spanish. In fact the first house to be built on our steep hill , called a mountain by locals, and us now or we are told off, is the magnificent house next door to us. It is only used for about six weeks of the year as the family moved to Switzerland.

The education here is excellent and the children are disciplined in their behaviour and in learning. Of course anywhere in the world there are children who will not comply.
All the schools near h us have a strict code of dress and behaviour.
The children must sit at tables to eat their lunch, no child leaves the table without permission to do so.
The English language is taught to them all and as they get older other languages are also taught.
I am not saying that the children are better behaved than UK children but they are polite and pleasant to talk to.
Education is encouraged by family, and the schools working together.

Of course the teenagers are similar to this anywhere in the world but education is also important to most of them.

I believe that the Universities are excellent and it is my son who lives in Barcelona and who teaches part time at the Uni who told me this.

I am not sure about any financial consideration, maybe someone else can tell us.

We do pay rates, local rates, and district rates, water rates. We use oil for our heating so will have to check how much that is and we have electricity for central heating, lighting, tv etc. I will find out what our telephone costs are each month but we do have either five or seven numbers which are used frequently for which we do not have to pay.

Hope all this is making sense.

Health care is excellent but again there are differences.
For example family and friends usually provide personal care and bring in most of the meals. Hospitals tend to be for acute needs. We have an excellent medical centre in town which is used not only for some urged care but also as various clinics. Once again you must have an interpreter or speak Spanish.

Well! I think that is enough for now so signing off for tonight

Bridget in Spain

20.55 hrs


SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 20:00

Forgot to say that nearly all homes in the countryside have generators for heating etc. And many also have wells, some have oil delivered and it is stored in huge containers.


SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 21:57

Perhaps you could invite them both to join us?
Night night for the third time, I think.
It is very humid tonight, can't get cool!!!

22.57 hrs Spain :-0


Rita Report 6 Aug 2011 22:32

Thanks for that Bridget, I have learned a lot about other countries where Brits have settled.

many of my ancestors went to Australia and New Zealand. some went off to Canada and America I am intouch with some but we dont correspond that much now as we are all getting old.

My sister 6 years my junior went to America to live with her husband who was Italian/ American he was born in New York and his family were born in Italy.this was in 1956 she told me she found it very claustrophobic at first being as the buildings were so high she over looked Central Park but they lived many floors up. she took the children out everyday.
If the lift broke she was in trouble as she had three children.

she said the heat was bad as well as they didnt seem to get much air circulating due to the height of the buildings.

during the winter they use to have deep snow and it was bitterly cold
she lived out there for 10 years she met her husband through friends who were out in Chaonix in France,. and he was over here in England.

we use to phone her on Christmas day the family would line up near the phone and all speak to her for a minute to wish her and the family a happy Christmas ( we had to book the call well in front of Christmas Day otherwise you would not beable to get the call )
when we sent her Christmas presents off we always put in things she could not buy in America and she missed it was little things like custard powder, gravey,Jellies, soaps and sweets.mainly clothes from M & S.and of course choclates . we all use to shed tears afterwards, and she was very homesick. she came back every other year on The Queen Mary with the children..

She taught at a school out there when they children were of school age.

They had a house in New Jersey which they went too for the holidays.

she came back to Britian her and her husband and family in 1966. the children went to univeristy over here. She taught school till about ten years ago when she retired.
Her eldest son moved back to America as he had a good job to go too, but she visits there every year. and he comes over about four times a year,



SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 22:57

Rita, just noted a few things in you interests ,
I know Glamorgan very well as my twins went to Wales for their university time. They both stayed there until younger twin went into the Army,
Bedwelty, Glamorganuni of my twins, Cardiff wher they lived and worked as students,
Hackney where I lived from the age of 16 to 18,
Somerset near to where my young sister lives she is on the Bath boarder.

The name Faraway always makes me look as my father was a Farady!!

Bridget who needs to sleep but it is to humid


SpanishEyes Report 6 Aug 2011 22:57

Rita, just noted a few things in you interests ,
I know Glamorgan very well as my twins went to Wales for their university time. They both stayed there until younger twin went into the Army,
Bedwelty, Glamorganuni of my twins, Cardiff wher they lived and worked as students,
Hackney where I lived from the age of 16 to 18,
Somerset near to where my young sister lives she is on the Bath boarder.

The name Faraway always makes me look as my father was a Farady!!

Bridget who needs to sleep but it is to humid


SpanishEyes Report 7 Aug 2011 07:51

Good morning to you all and I trust that you will all have a great day.
I have sent a personal message to Dutch to see if she is able to add some info about living in Holland. Also thought that when my son and his partner are here again in October I will ask them to add to here as neither of them want to go back to the UK to live. I thought that would give two views one from the 30 somethings and the other from a person who is slightly older.

I will also ask my son who lives in Barcelona for his reason for going there 10 years ago to work at the uni for one year and never went back to the UK to live. Also his partner came to Barcelona for a year or so and also made the
same decision...

More about my part of Spain.

It is a typical Sunday here. That means that this little part of the world is still asleep,the sun is peeking through the clouds, the trees are gent
Y moving, no music, no voices to be heard talking, even the dogs know that it is Sunday a day of quiet and peace until around 10 am.

The church bells will start wringing in about an hour, I enjoy the sound of church bells.

Soon the men will start going to the bakers gor the fresh bread, no additives, so bread must be bought each day...delicious...on the way home they will sit with therir male friends and have a coffee with Brandy.
Around 11 am the church bells will ring again to call the community to church. We went once! It is not the same vas going to church in the UK.the people NEVER stop talking to each other and as there are many local dialects it sounds just as I imagine the Tower of Bable to be!!! As a RC mass was lead by the priest, no fidgeting or talking was allowed, communion was deeply imprinted in our hearts and head, look at the floor when walking to get communion. Hold your hands together in prayer, walk back to your seat with head lowered, do not talk to anyone and kneel until the priest indicates otherwise. Forget that approach here and .....the church is packed every Sunday on at least 3 occasions throughout the day, whilst in the UK catholic churches are being sold off for lack of interest....

Oh dear I am rambling again.. Sorry.

After church the people will promenade along the sea, it reminds me of Itally 35 years ago, everyone in their finery walking on one side of the road, sitting down for coffee then crossing to the other side of the road just as if it had been organised and repeating the coffee etc.
Again no real Spanish person will have their main meal until the evening but they will eat seafood, and a variety og little snacks.
In the afternoon when the sun is at it's highest in the sky and in temperature they will have there siesta whilst the " Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday son".

Well have once more rambled on so will try to gracefully retire for the day and look in again this evening.

Hope to have plenty to read by then

Enjoy your day everyone
08.51 hrs Spain