Moving to Madrid - EEEEEKK - Help please!(9 Posts)
DH has been offered an international transfer to Madrid. I was initially totally against it and then suddenly had a revelation that on my deathbed I might regret having turned down a year in a (hot) European city (it was raining and I don't cope well in crappy weather - I grew up in South Africa). Now terrified that I said yes, sort of. We're off to see it tomorrow and then I basically have to go with it or crush all of DH's dreams (he is DESPERATE to go, it will be good for his career, hates current role etc etc). So based on this is there anyone out there who can help? Or who would want to meet up come September time? Have a 2.5yo and a 5yo (both girls). The eldest will go to international school. We've got an appointment to view St George's which was one of the few with spaces and has been the nicest/most helpful. My DH has been to see it already and was happy with it. But he is the product of a 70s comprehensive education in a not very nice town so he is easily pleased. Any helpful advice would be really welcome. And yes I know it will be HOT, HOT, HOT. I'm less worried about that. My kids have got my South African genes - they are not pale, they love the heat and as long as there is air con and a pool I think we will cope (and we'll get an apartment in La Moraleja which looks vaguely green on Google Street Maps). I'm much more worried about me being nobby no mates (I'm terrible with languages and don't speak any Spanish), my toddler and I driving each other crazy (as I currently work 2 days a week and wouldn't out there) and whether my eldest will cope with the change of school and having to do year 1 out there. I know we can come home if it doesn't work out but we have to go for at least a year and don't want it to be hell. And it has to be a year because the admin associated to going is already driving me potty so we can't just flit between the two. Sorry total stream of consciousness... Any sensible mums out there who can be the voice of reason and give me some advice would be AMAZING.
OK, I don't have any personal experience of this but didn't want to read and run.
First of all, you don't HAVE to agree. By all means visit with an open mind, but if it isn't right for you or the DCs, don't agree. DH will get over it, he can get another job in the UK if he's miserable. That alone is not a good reason to uproot your family.
However, as you say, it might be amazing! Your DDs are young enough that they will pick up the language and be bilingual, which will be a massive advantage for them. The climate will be sunny and warm compared to the UK. If DD1 goes to an international school, there will likely be other British/American etc parents there too who might also be looking for English-speaking friends, and presumably DH's work colleagues will speak English and will have families. Plus the language barrier might be less of an issue than you think. Also, Madrid isn't a million miles away from family and friends in the UK, who will probably be keen to visit you for holidays and things.
Speak to DH and make it clear that this isn't a foregone conclusion, and that while you're excited about potentially going, you want to be as sure as you can be that it's the right thing for the whole family, not just him.
Very kind, very sensible advice. Thank you! I feel like I need a stiff drink...
No experience of Madrid but we moved to Borneo for 3 years. Do it. You only live once. It's just a year and it's not far from home. The experience we had was amazing and if I had my time again I'd do it in a heartbeat.
We did two years in a latan country, DC were 4 when we left and none of us had any Spanish. It was really hard at times but we are all glad we went and would do it again. I didn't work, I studied Spanish pretty hard as I am rubbish at languages and mixed with anyone who could speak English at the start particularly. We all learned Spanish and kids were fluent when we came home. I wish we had done three years as it took a year to bed down and then we had a year of much easier living. The change of schools was stressful for kids, it was harder for them coming back I think rather than going. We all miss the endless good weather.
I lived in Madrid years ago and it was fab - summer was hot but not insane and you'd probably be on holiday then anyway. Start learning Spanish before you go and it will help you settle. Realistically in a year you are mainly likely to be forming friendships with other expats but the more Spanish you learn the better the whole experience will be. Enjoy an amazing year!
I lived in Madrid for a couple of years back in the 2000s. I agree you should view it as a year long vacation, you're not going to have the chance to integrate much into Spanish society in the time you're there so you'll want to make some friends through school and expat buddies. The high summer months ARE insanely hot if you don't have aircon and you might find you want to flee back to the UK in July/Aug when everything pretty much shuts down anyway. The rest of the year is very pleasant.
I found Madrid awful in the summer, and it was my fourth foreign posting! There are plenty playgroups for expats in the centre. We felt that our error was moving to a Spanish barrio, we would have been far less homesick living nearer expats in the north of the city. PM me if you need further info, basically if I had my time back, I'd live either in pozuelo, majahindas, Columbia, or Herrera Oriya.
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