If there is one thing I have learned since I left the UK to live elsewhere it’s this. You will NOT be able to tick every single box no matter where you live. You know the saying “the grass is greener on the other side”. Well, to some degree this is true.
Now don’t get me wrong. Of all the countries I have lived in, Spain is my favourite and it’s not just because of the climate. The pace of life is easier to deal with (if you don’t get wound up by little things like wondering which Monday the plumber meant)!
The people are generally much friendlier than I have experienced elsewhere, and up until recently the cost of living was much lower than I remember in the UK. However, it does have its “ups and downs”.
If you’re the sort of person that hates being followed around a shop being asked if you would like some help, Spain is the place for you! In fact, you’re pretty much left to your own devices (law abiding of course), so browsing without the pressure to buy is a real joy.
However, and you guessed it, there is a “but” here! If you do need some help, choose your shop assistant wisely. If you spot two girls or boys even, in deep conversation think twice about interrupting them. If you have a handle on the language, they’re usually talking about the latest must have fashions, what their friends have been up to, and what they intend to do that weekend.
Getting in the way of this will usually be met with nothing more than a “what do you want” scowl! So make sure you look out for someone who is just wandering around looking for something to do.
Unlike the UK, if you bank in Spain you will normally receive a slip for each transaction that takes place (not exactly environmentally friendly) but at the same time, there is a reason for this. It’s not uncommon for any bank to slip in the odd charge here and there in the hope you won’t notice.
The moral of this story is to make sure you don’t just shred these receipts without checking them first! The good news is that if you do dispute the charge, it will almost certainly be refunded immediately and you won’t suffer any fees.
Life in Spain is incredibly social, and I have the weather and the people to thank for that. However, if you send out invitations for a birthday party so you know how many guests to expect, think again! This is not how the Spanish do things. If you invite them to a party, they don’t expect to be held to a “yes “or “no”.
Again, the moral here is if you invite 20 people, expect 30!
Yes, living in Spain does have its ups and downs, but for me, I couldn’t be happier. If you’re new to this country hang on in there, it will come together eventually.
Author: Julie Coburn