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Why did you or your family choose to live abroad?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


SpanishEyes Report 7 Aug 2011 07:59

So sorry there are errors in some of my spelling etc in the above but can only get the first few lines when I try to edit.

I " must pay more attention to the detail" is ringing in my ears, and I left school so many years ago I am not saying when!

Bridget 08.59 hrs


heatherg Report 7 Aug 2011 08:13

Hello Ann
We speak French where we live,near the Lac Leman. Not many people here speak German even though they spend years learning it at school. My husband would like to learn Schwyzerdütsch ( I had to look it up) because he likes the sound of it.
Very quiet here this Sunday as it's raining! We usually go for a walk in the local Arboretum on a Sunday morning but not today. I hopr theweather's better next Sunday for the African Festival there.


SpanishEyes Report 7 Aug 2011 09:09

Thank you Heathererg
How long have you lived where you are now? What do you enjoy the most and dislike the most? Is the weather reliable etc etc.

Did you have to learn French after you arrived or were you already fluent.
I did not manage to speak French despite trying at school and going to night classes for a year. I do so admire people who can pick up different languages so easily.

Looking forward to reading more about you.

Best wishes


10.09 hrs Spain :-D

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 7 Aug 2011 10:25

Rita's right, this IS like reading a book! It's great!
Sorry never got back to Ann's question yet re: hostilities towards westerners etc...will comment on that later, I haven't forgotten Ann.
But today haven't got much time, it's hubby's day off and whilst he's busy in the kitchen making ice cream I'm supposed to be off up to the bakery!! I'd better get going......the opening and closing times of shops etc are all back to front at the mo due to it being Ramadan.
Speak to you all later, or tomorrow.....happy Sunday to all,
K x


SpanishEyes Report 7 Aug 2011 11:38

What a complement for everyone who is adding to our board. Thank you everyone for your grand efforts and entries.

I am out for lunch shortly and will be back late afternoon early evening. I may ask our host and hostes why they chose Spain and the other couple who will be there..depends on the other talking and if it flows well or not....

Like a Book. I will not forget those words.

Bridget in Spain

12.38 hrs :-D


AnninGlos Report 7 Aug 2011 12:17

Heatherg, thanks for that, I always wondered how to spell it, glad you knew what I meant :-) At least with French I can understand some of it if not dialect. Schwyzerdütsch sounded difficult to me, but then I never learnt German and that is always almost incomprehnsible (as is Dutch.) Spanish we know a few words and phrases and can read bits of it so manage with signs etc in Tenerife. (We spend two separate months there a year.)

Karen, no problem, when you are not busy.


wisechild Report 7 Aug 2011 12:29

Typical Sunday here too Bridget.
Hubby has taken himself off for a snifter & opportunity to put the world to rights with his cronies. Meanwhile I have taken out a small mortgage & bought an English Sunday paper so that I can pass a peaceful couple of hour on the patio this afternoon with the cat for company.


SpanishEyes Report 7 Aug 2011 18:05

So Sunday seems to be much the same wherever you are. Unless of course one is living in a Muslim country, and Asian countries etc. Wouldn't it be nice to know what the weekends are like in these far places?

We are watching the West Ham v Cardiff football match, and it is half time with a niln, nil result.

Ower lunch was very pleasant and the conversation lower nicely.

The weather is rather overcast so not sure if we will have rain this evening or not.

Not much else to write now and the second half is about to start
So signing off

Bridget Spain
19.06 hrs


SpanishEyes Report 8 Aug 2011 10:24

Nudge just so it doesn,t fall off the board! :-D


wisechild Report 8 Aug 2011 12:55

Thought I´d keep it going as it had got to the bottom of the page again.
Woke up this morning & thought it was about 5am because it was pitch dark.In fact it was 6.45 & the sky was black. Was sure we were in for a storm, but so far nothing has happened. It´s grey & windy & very humid & incredibly hot when the sun does break through.
Looking forward to some input from the Dutch contingent (& anybody else who cares to join in)

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 8 Aug 2011 15:20

Hi everyone,

Ann in Glos asked about any possible anti-western feeling in this region, so I'll comment on that first.

I have to say that on the whole, I've never noticed it in Egypt. They are a friendly bunch, and desperately in need of foreign tourists and the revenue tourism brings, so they go out of their way to be friendly to anyone who looks like a tourist (and to them, being western I MUST be a tourist). How genuine their friendliness is, is very hard to say. Put bluntly - tourists have money, and if they can afford to come here on holiday, then they must be very rich!!! Who can blame an Egyptian for such a thought - the average chap here struggles to put food on the table from day to day, so holidays feature only in his dreams.

My Arabic isn't great, but I do try to use it. My neighbours, whilst we are not close, seem friendly enough when we bump into each other, exchanging the usual pleasantries of the day, just like anywhere else, and I certainly don't feel any hostility from them. But I admit to not knowing many Egyptians, as I tend to mix with other expats, of various nationalities.

I was not out on the streets during the 'revolution' during Jan & Feb of this year, and wouldn't have gone near the city centre, where the main riots were, with a barge pole! But nobody in their right mind would have, regardless of being a westerner or not.

It's a case of being careful, of being aware of surroundings, and I liken it (a little) to how things were for anyone living in London during the 70's/80's at the height of the IRA troubles. It's not that you go around constantly thinking there will be trouble, but you just try to keep yourself very aware of what's going on around you.....for example, I do avoid going near Tahrir Suare in the city centre where many of the die-hard protestors still camp out, albeit peacefully protesting currently (which is why it's not on the daily news, but they are still there).
And Fridays are a day to be careful, particularly after midday prayers when, if anything's going to kick off, it's most likely to be then, so I do avoid being near a mosque or a crowd especially on a Friday! Not much different to how we behave in a UK city...trying not be in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially after dark? We, even unconsciously perhaps, avoid being in certain areas/amongst certain types.
So it's not because of anti-western feeling in particular, it's because, in general, this region is more volatile, once again.

Looking back, I've never encountered any anti-western feeling directed at me, personally, except for one incident in Doha during the 2nd Gulf War, when a car full of youths kept driving by shouting obscenties, or in polite terms, to 'go back home' .
I do remember one day during that time when a British Embassy warning came through that expats were to avoid a particular area in the city centre that evening as an anti-US demonstration was to take place. To the local population, you see, we are often mistaken for Americans - they cannot differentiate between English, Scottish, French, Australian etc, just as we cannot differentiate between Saudi, Omani, Egptian, Syrians etc.
It was, on the whole, a peaceful protest as it turned out, with only a little trouble (which is dealt with in an entirely different way, no pussyfooting around and no PC brigade in the Middle East). During that time (2003) there was noticeble anti-US & anti-British feeling, many hated Bush & Blair, but in many Middle East countries protests/demonstrations are not allowed, crowds/gatherings are illegal, so as soon as anything is seen to start, the heavy mob stops it in its tracks. Expats were advised to avoid certain areas on Fridays/ after Friday prayers, and generally it's the same in the whole region still to this day.

Hope that answers your question Ann, sorry to all that I've rambled on and on and on!! :-\ I'll be getting myself banned from this thread soon!! :-D



AnninGlos Report 8 Aug 2011 15:29

Thanks Karen, no you won't be banned, that was extremely enlightening. Actually today you are probably safer where you are than you would be in parts of London. Sounds like you have zero tolersnce there. We could do with it here, instead of pandering to Human Rights all the time.

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 8 Aug 2011 18:04

Ah, but you've hit the nail on the head there, Ann........the beauty of living in a free society is that ( in Britain) we do have 'rights', as in the right to demonstrate, freedom of expression, the right to appeal etc etc, whereas here, that's exactly why they wanted Mubarak out, because they didn't have freedoms such as those. So they went against the law (and 100's were killed for it) by demonstrating and voicing their opinions, wanting this to be a more liberal society. OK they've got Mubarak out, but who is to say our way is any better...I am sure plenty of Egyptians are looking at the TV just now wondering what the heck London has turned into with its free society!!!!!
And I'm looking at the TV news right at this moment, wondering whether our liberal society is an ideal one!! At times like this, No!
But without a free society, we'd be back in the dark ages and we'd all have plenty to say about that ;-) especially me!!


Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 8 Aug 2011 18:08

Bridget - I really love the sound of spending a Sunday where you are!!! Idyllic, relaxing, peaceful and what Sundays are all about......Zzzzzzzz

Sunday here is the first day of the working week. The weekend is Friday and Saturday, many people get a 2 day weekend but not all. Friday is the religious day, and it's always very very quiet in the morning until midday prayers. After that, people start to move around, visiting family or going out for the day etc. These days the (bigger shops) are open, limited hours, but that wasn't always the case, they didn't used to open until 4pm on a Friday.



SpanishEyes Report 8 Aug 2011 21:02

Dear Karen and Ann

I wrote a long reply to your last few entries which I found fascinating, however when I read through I deleted it.

I am definitely not a racist however London and the surrounding areas have been allowed to become segregated by immigrants some from recent times and others from several generations ago. I do not forget that in the 1950s people from Jamaica etc were encouraged to come to the UK to do the work that the indigenous population did not and would not do. For example road cleaning, domestic staff in hospitals, heavy manual work. As the years went by their families settled and became an important part of society. Soon they wanted others to do the work they no longer wanted, various governments did not agree with each other. The UK became known for it's sympathy for those who fled from their country of origin, and often fleeing because of what they had done to others. I will not say more, except my husband had to retire because the work he was in trying to protect the UK caused him to collapse and he was lucky to be resuscitated.

These young people are not being educated are being brought up by parents who are unable to find work, who have the view that "the country will pay them yo stay at home and if you want something and cannot afford it then steal it?

I do not know the answers, the hands of the police are tied, the education system cannot cope, the family unit has disintegrated, and where we not warned of this many years ago.." the rivers of blood" springs to mind.

I am not racist, there are many foreigners in my family, and I am a foreigner in another country. This is about planning for the future, learning from the mistakes, being firm and fair to everyone and having strong laws which are understood and implemented.

I am not trying to point fingers or indeed upset anyone, the UK has many beautiful places, people from all parts of the world and in all types of work



SpanishEyes Report 9 Aug 2011 06:55

Good morning to you all.

It is 06.53 here in Spain and the silence outside is almost over powering. The trees are still, I cannot hear any birds and even Jet and Joe are laying on the veranda . For those who do not know Jet and Joe, they are my lovely Cocker Spaniels.

The sky is slowly changing from grey blue to a real blue, just as one expects in Spain. Did they know I was writing about them...the birds have just started twittering, they never let me down. So far I have only heard three different birds but no idea what they are.

I am shocked and somewhat ashamed at the spread of the anarchy spreading across the UK. What can any government do to change this ongoing situation?

If this was happening in Spain the police would have taken a very different approach. I am not saying it would have resolved anything but I truly believe it would not have spread as it has in the UK.

On to a different subject.
When we moved to Spain we made the decision to sell our home in the UK and not buy another place in the UK, as we felt that this would mean that we had to make a real effort to make our quest succeed. What, I wonder, did everyone else do?

Life is so different these days or so we think to the times of our parents and grandparents, but is it really so.? My maternal grandfather spent most of his working life in the army. He also spent most of his career in India and was definitely an English man who truly believed that he and his men and other officers were superior to the indigenous population. I even have photos of him and some other officers sitting in the shade with young Indians keeping them cool with fans!!

An uncle of mine the son of the grandfather above went abroad a great deal and eventually became a Buddhist, can' recall right now exactly where he went for about three years. He never changed his belief in Buddhism but sadly died when hevwas quite still quite young.

Another of my uncles was what is today called Gay. He had a very difficult time in the UK but when he was sent to France by a famous Hotel in London where he was the senior Cocktail Bar manager he found a very different view and made many friends there, learnt French, Italian, and German. He lived there for around two years and then returned to the UK and went straight back to the London Hotel.
My great uncle, my grandfathers brother emigrated to Australia, cannot recall the exact year, married a widow with children and died there. As a young girl I used to correspond with him every couple of months.

Now you are most likely thinking why am I sharing this with you all, and my reason is simply to demonstrate that whilst we may think that we were/are brave to go and try living abroad others have done the same.......many years ago.

Do you have ancestors who moved abroad, is moving abroad in our genes?

Well after that little effort I am looking out ofbthebwindow and the sky is becoming brighter, although still no sound finding it's way up the hill/ mountain. The bakers will have just opened and the older Spanish men will be buying the bread and them sitting with their friends, discussing the day, the weather and of course how to put the world straight. They will not be speaking in Spanish as I know it but in local speech, and they will all be talking at once. If you saw them you would think that they were very poor, some will have string to hold up their trousers, others will have holes in their jumpers, and as for shoes.....well I leave it to your imagination!!!
When we first lived here my husband would pay for some of their coffees as he thought that they were poor......then our builder who is Spanish but lived and worked in Surrey for more than 20 years that these men own most of the land in the area, have beautiful homes etc but do not flaunt their situation, how they laughed when he told them what he had just told my husband, so the Spanish myth of not having a sense of humour is quite wrong!

The widowers still dress in black after the death and stay dressed mostly in black for the rest of their lives. I can recall when in England people would stop in the street and the men would take their hats or caps of and everyone would stand still until the hearse had passed......does anyone else recall this.

I was surprised, because I hadn't thought clearly, that when the Spanish die almost 95% of people are cremated, now I was brought up as a Catholic and no one was cremated. Low and behold why were't people cremated??
Of course one reason in Spain is because of the heat in the summer and of course because it is a mountainous country.

Once again I have lost myself, writing away as if I had nothing else to do, and possibly boring everyone, so will say goodbye for now but I will peek in throughout the day.

Oops, just thought of another good reason for living in my part of Spain, the tranquility of each morning, no motor bikes screaming along, no traffic jams, no noise to moan about, neighbours and friends who smile and look for the positive side of life....

Bridget in tranquil Spain and just in case you want to see where I live it is in

:-D :-D


wisechild Report 9 Aug 2011 07:27

Morning All
It´s quiet & peaceful here too. The "rush hour" is more or less over for the office workers who start between 7.30/8.30 am.
One thing I have never got used to here are the working hours.
I tend to be an early riser & find it very frustrating having to wait until 10 am for the shops to open. Then they shut again at 1.30 for 3 or 4 hours, then the day starts again. Going to the dentist at 7 pm is something I will never get used to.
It´s a lovely sunny morning with a cooling breeze. Looks like being a nice day with comfortable temperatures. Up to about 30c I can cope. Over that & I start to visibly wilt , which is another reason why I like to get "done & dusted" as early as possible, so that I can sit on the patio with my book & not have to do anything more energetic than fetching the washing in when it´s dry.
Have a good day everyone & be thankful you´re not in the UK at the moment. Very worrying for family & friends who are.



SpanishEyes Report 9 Aug 2011 08:11

I have also always been an early riser but also generally speaking I do not need a lot of sleep.
I use my time in the early morning to watch the sunrise, to enjoy the tranquilty and to add to some threads.there is something calming about the sunrise along with hope which we all need for one thing or another.
Do you live near to shops?

Your day sounds very much like mine,and I have my cyber friends as I call them to thank for my tranquilty these days. Some people were so intuitive when I was so ill last year and I have not even met them!

What sort of books do you enjoy reading,do you find English books are expensive where you
I've.we simply cannot buy English books here nor within a reasonable distance and they are expensive.
I am thinking about buying some books about the countries that people who have added to this thread live in. I wonder if anyone can recommend such books.
I would try to have them on my iPad or ask my friends who are coming to see us at the end of the month
I am very thankful that I am not in the UK and at the moment praying that situation will improve very quickly, it sounds like anarchy.

Do you find that you could dust all day, because one of the drawbacks living here is the constant dust!! I could be dust all day, but I am not once a day is enough for me.

Have you heard anything about low water levels in the reservoirs? The very large one which is some kilometres away but is the one that serves us is still very very low. Rather worrying really.I wonder how others cope when water is scarce. Never really thought about it in the UK.

Enjoy your day everyone


Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 9 Aug 2011 09:39


London aside for a moment, as I could ramble on for pages having just watched this morning's TV news, I am so angry.....anyway, that aside just now, I've enjoyed reading over the last couple of posts, Bridget and Marion, in which you tell us of your tranquil havens!! Sounds just heavenly, I can almost FEEL the peace and quiet. Bliss.

Quite the opposite for me, currently a city dweller, where there is constant noise (current population of Cairo is approx 7.5 million). First thing to start is the dawn call for prayer, which I don't mind, and am used to, and then the daily noise starts.....the traffic noise is the worst thing I think. I still can't get used to the fact that drivers all have a compulsion to peep the horn - constantly, and often at nothing. When they are stuck in traffic (which, in Cairo is almost always) they are far worse, not having one iota of patience. I am sure that if they found the horn didn't work one day, they would deem the car broken down!
Taxis are the worst - no matter that the dashboard, radio, window winders, door handles, springs in seats, suspension, engine, gear box etc are all either non-existent or hanging on by a thread (MOT? never heard of it!) but as long as the horn is working, then that's ok!!

On occasion, hubby & I get away for a few days to the coast, and we savour our time just lying on the beach, basking in listening to nothing, and counting our lucky stars that we are able to escape the chaos once in a while.

On a par with you, I too try and get the chores done in the mornings before the real heat of the day penetrates the rooms. We do have a/c but I don't keep it on in the rooms we're not using, in my quest to conserve energy! And windows are opened in the winter months here, not the summer!
I try to get to the shops as early as possible in the summer, even though it's barely a 10 minute walk - amittedly not far - but hard going when it's over 35C outside!! Most shops open at 10 or 11, but we live near a big supermarket which opens at 8 (except for now because it's Ramadan).
One advantage of the extreme heat is that washing takes barely an hour to dry!! And mopped floors take a mere second! Sorry to mention the dreaded HW.

I chuckled at Marion's comment on the opening and closing times, nodding my head in agreement, because neither can I get used to going to the dentist at, say, 7pm!!
Don't get me started on opening and closing times in Saudi Arabia, where everything must shut at prayer times - shops, restaurants, banks etc....and how many times a day are prayer times?
Just the 5.

Cheerio for now,


wisechild Report 9 Aug 2011 13:50

Ramadan & prayer times???. Sounds like parts of Birmingham where I come from. The City Council even opened a prayer room in the Council House for the Muslim staff.. Not that I have any objection to people following their religion, but it all seems a bit odd to an ancient born & bred Brummie.
Menorca is very fortunate in it´s rock formations. We have huge underground lakes from which our water is extracted & as far as I know, they have never run dry. It does mean that the tap water is undrinkable because of the mineral content, but we all buy bottled water instead. I don´t even give tap water to the cat. It does mean though that we always have water for other purposes. Wish we could say the same for electricity.
Books are a problem here too. There are a couple of charity shops where I buy them in the winter because people going back to England donate them. There´s also a second hand book shop which sells them quite cheaply, but the last new one I bought cost me almost €12. Can´t do that very often. Friends coming from England used to bring them, but can´t any more because of the weight restrictions on luggage. I had considered buying a Kindle, but from what I understand, the books cost almost as much to download as they do to buy & only having a dial up internet connection, downloading them could take several days (I´m prone to exaggeration). Generally I beg & borrow them from all over.