Hi, my name is Jill and I am fifty four. I have lived in Spain, in Estepona for four years. When I first came out, it was difficult because I was leaving behind a son and a daughter. Both of them were still studying at college and university. That issue coupled with early retirement often made me think that we (my partner Tom and I) were being hasty making the move. It was a case of now and never since we had found a bargain apartment at a time when property prices where rising rapidly and Tom had been made a great job offer.
So, I left my job at a local care home where I had been working for twelve years. We were lucky because our purchase went through smoothly compared to other people that I have spoken to. Tom kept saying that this was a sign that it was meant to be. However, this didn’t make leaving my children behind any easier. It was easier for Tom since he doesn’t have children and although he was fond of mine, he really couldn’t appreciate what I was going through.
Another concern that I had was how was I going to fill my days having worked without a break for the past eighteen years? Being fairly sociable I was looking forward to meeting new friends but I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to happen. I didn’t want to get involved in an expat clique but at the same time I didn’t want to spend all my time alone whilst Tom was at work all day. At first the thought of not having to get up for work and dash about in the miserable weather was a novelty but I soon realised that I couldn’t sit in the sun for the rest of my life.
So, I decided that I needed to prepare myself. I started my attending a night class in Spanish whilst I was still in the UK. I attended most of my classes although during the winter it was hard having to go out in the cold and the dark. I also did the Spanish course on the BBC site. Once we eventually made the move, I was horrified to find that I barely understood anything when I went food shopping.
My Spanish lessons in England had prepared me enough so that I could make out food labels and instructions but I found the Andaluz pronunciation so different to what I was used to hearing from my teacher in England. In the beginning, after the honeymoon period, I spent days feeling lost without a routine in my life and disheartened that my Spanish was so poor.
I missed my children although they were fine without me enjoying their university life and we had already booked tickets for them to come out and visit after a month.All other expats around me seemed very settled and established and this knocked my confidence about approaching people.
My desire to improve my Spanish actually spurred me on to book myself on an intensive course. It was great to do something stimulating and be around other people of different ages and backgrounds all sharing the same desire to learn the language. The lessons also gave me a structure to my day and a reason to get up in the morning. It also gave me something to talk about with Tom, what I had learnt, the people that I was getting to know etc. After the intensive course, I enrolled on the local council run course.
From there, I have made lots of friends and as a result I always have someone to meet for a coffee or go out for a drink with. Since then, I have continued with my Spanish, taken a TEFL course and I now teach English privately. I now feel well integrated within the community, not just with expats but also the Spanish who have always been warm and helpful towards me.
It wasn’t easy making the move to Spain but I am glad to say that I have done it. I don’t know if Spain is forever for me. I would like to pursue a career in teaching English in the future and the UK offers far more opportunities in terms of progression and further training. It has been a nice break living in Spain but sometimes I feel myself itching to get back to normality. We will always keep our place in Spain because I could never cut ties, I love it too much.
Category: Lifestyle in Spain