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Moving to Spain - what do you wish you had known?

(12 Posts)
margaritasbythesea Thu 21-Jul-16 09:49:09

Me and my two DCs are moving to Spain for a year in ten days. DH is spainsh and we have wanted to put the children in school for a year so they can learn Spanish properly and so that they can spend time with their Spanish family. DH has a sabbatical staring in January so will be joining us then but I will be negotiating all the social niceties for me and the kids until then (with some help from inlaws I suppose). My Spanish is much less good than it used to be but I suppose it will get better quite quickly as we are spending the first month living with inlaws and I am preparing myself for being very limited and making mistakes.

I am used to being in Spain but have not gone beyond the immediate family circle really. now I have to contend with all the business of daily life - setting up home, contacting utilities, making friends, dealing with schools. Are there any tips that I can prepare myself to come across well, and anything to avoid doing.

I have been thinking of all the AIBU threads on here concerning the minutiae of social ettiquette. I will be lost. I know from getting to know DH that there are so many tiny cultural differences.

I am keen to go, but hen I think of the range of things I will face from meeting new neighbours, to getting to understand the ins and outs of DCs very posh looking school to thinking about how intimidating getting a mobile phone cntract can be here, I wonder how can I prepare myself?

margaritasbythesea Thu 21-Jul-16 21:24:35

Giving a hopeful bump.

danTDM Fri 22-Jul-16 20:06:07

Hola! I'm here, with a Spanish DH and a Spanish DD (8) Where are you going? It's very hot at the moment!

I would say regarding things like play dates etc, there aren't any! Not like in the uk anyway. Families tend to stick and play together all summer. summer hols are long. Children, as you know, accepted everwhere and stay up all night! It's good you have family here, it will really help.

Setting up phone contracts etc is easy with very competitive deals. To get a bank a/c is a pain, you need to all register at the town hall, get a residencia, have prrof of address and I think it's 7,000 euros to open a bank a/c. It takes a bit of time and patience. People are very friendly and happy to help.

Schools, are the Dc is private school? v. cheap here. They will pick up the language very fast. Their English will suffer a bit so bring suitable books. I order them off Amazon.

You'll be fine! It is a wonderful lifestly and place to live if you immerse yourself (which you are clearly going to do) Good luck. I'm in Valencia btw if you're coming here but used to live in Madrid.

margaritasbythesea Fri 22-Jul-16 22:03:45

Hola! Thanks for replying.

We'll be in Cartagena - although we are starting off the first month at the beach at La Manga. I have a bit of a head start with the bank account as SiL is a bank manager and I think I will be able to use DHs - my name might even be on it too.

The children are in a state school but it is an ex-convent. I'm a bit intimidated by is to be honest - it looks like a palace! I know where it is in the town and it is hidden away behind high walls. I see the children going int he mornings when I am ther and they all look very well heeled.

I am quite glad about play dates to be honest. School and family tend to be enough for my DCs, and with the language too I think they will be very tired. It is also a minefield of ettiquette here, too!

Ds already thinks it is boiling here in Wales and it really isn't! Hopefully the pleasures of the beach will make up for it!

Have you had any negative feedback over Brexit, may I ask?

danTDM Sat 23-Jul-16 19:09:51

Crikey! Compared to Wales the weather is a shock!!smile
Sounds like you are completely set up to be honest. The thing that helped me most was having Spanish family... you have that. You will have loads of help with all the setting up stuff, it will be a breeze.

Brexit not mentioned at all here in Valencia. Everyone wants to learn English. Sounds like your dc's are in a concertado (really good state schools, the best basically, usually old convents) they'll be fine. School days are long and no packed lunches, lunch at school 6 euros per child per day or lunch at home involving another school run.

Sounds a perfect set up to me and you will be welcomed as you have established family there. People are nosey in a nice way!!

Have a wonderful year. Do take resources for the childrens English though, they will fall behind at home quickly and the English lessons here are at a best crap! You must be excited!

Helenluvsrob Sat 23-Jul-16 19:12:16

Cartagena is lovely. Make sure you do all the ancient stuff. You'll have a great year by the sound of it

margaritasbythesea Sat 23-Jul-16 21:17:49

Thanks both for your replies.

Yes I think it is one of those schools. I am thinking of offering to help out with English as I am a trained English teacher. I thought it might be a good way of getting to know people. 6 euros is steep for lunch! I am hoping to be able to pick them up and take them back, though I am not sure what DS will make of that as he is a real homebody. I may get his abuela to do it the first few times!

Thank you for the reassurance. i am getting pretty nervous but I suppose that is mainly abou the journey, which is long and I am doing solo. Why did I agree to that!

fussychica Tue 26-Jul-16 10:27:42

Remember in Spain things vary significantly from province to province. What happens in Valence may have little relation to what happens in Murcia. Even school hours, transport, and school lunches might be very different.

As others have said you will need to keep their English upto scratch but as a teacher that will be easy for you. We found the lack of after school activities in our area a bit odd to begin with but again it may be different where you are.
Neighbours in our area were very nosy, usually in a nice way, but it still seemed odd after UK neighbours being very self contained. You are really lucky to have family and Spanish speakers on tap for support. I'm sure you'll have an amazing time. Oh and it does sometimes get pretty cold in winter away from the coast so don't forget your coatgrin

fussychica Tue 26-Jul-16 12:42:57

*Valencia - bloody autocorrect.

margaritasbythesea Tue 26-Jul-16 22:03:02

Thanks fussychica. We will be in Murcia on the coast. Rubbish for tapas! And my beautiful winter coat that I love is being left behind! And all my cosy cashmere jumpers. Quite sad!

fussychica Thu 28-Jul-16 11:18:21

Well I'd take the cashmere jumpers to wear under a jacket or rain jacket on cooler/wet days. Used to live in Almeria province, fairly close to the border with Murcia and still spend several months a year there, mainly in Spring and autumn. I always take a cashmere cardi and a fleece type cardi to wear in the evenings. Along with jeans and other long trousers they get well used I can assure you. Enjoy!

margaritasbythesea Thu 28-Jul-16 12:23:10

Thanks for the tip.

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