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Who lives in Spain?

(70 Posts)
nkf Tue 02-Sep-08 07:15:44

Whereabouts? Is it as wonderful as people imagine?

macaco Sun 07-Sep-08 12:45:04

Anna, sounds very well off/pijo to me. No one I know down here in Andalucia has a maid, Spanish or not.

Anna8888 Sun 07-Sep-08 15:44:47


One of my sister's maids had a maid grin

bebespain Sun 07-Sep-08 17:27:53

I have met several Mums in the Madrid area who have maids/live-in helpers.

In my experience so far many Mums return to work when their children are very small and therefore have no option but to place them in full-time nursery. I have come to the conclusion that that is why there is very little in the way of day time activities for Mums and babies/toddlers (Unless set up by ex-pats)There simply isn´t the need.

Another affect of this for me is that I find it very difficult to get to know and make friends with Spanish mummies as the majority have returned to work. Thers no one about during the day. I find it very isolating living here with a small child

macaco Sun 07-Sep-08 17:50:04

I think they return to work because, certainly down here in the south, the contracts are all shit and you get 16 weeks statutory leave so most go back and put their kids in nursery full time cos they have to. In Seville even in well off areas I don't think the norm is maids/au pairs, as costamum says, more grandparents...they often do HUGE amounts of childcare.
The one thing I would say is that to move here with kids and not speak the language is haaaaard. If you come with a spanish DH or meet them here then you have a kind of way in to spanish society. otherwise I think it's very hard to meet anyone, make friends. How can you if you can't speak the language.
And I am ASTOUNDED by the amount of Brits who seem to think it would be a good idea to move here when they don't speak A WORD. How do they think they'll live?
I think it IS family friendly here, but in different ways. It's like everything about living here. it's neither better or worse, just different. For me the difference is I like it more than the UK.

bebespain Sun 07-Sep-08 20:18:39

Good point macaco. After all as the old saying goes "Spain is different" grin

Personally I could never live anywhere where I didn´t speak the language. I find it hard enough and I speak Spanish very well.

I suppose a lot of the Brits stick together and help each other out, its the only way to get by I suppose.

nkf Sun 07-Sep-08 21:35:09

I suppose it's the holiday dream that doesn't translate. I'm a bit guilty of it myself though I have no intention of opening a bar or renting out villas.

macaco Mon 08-Sep-08 08:11:12

Well, I think that's what goes wrong for a lot of people. They come here on holiday and love it and think life would be the same and it's not. Then they discover all the little things we've said we don't like about it, plus they can't speak to anyone so can't do anything for themselves or make friends or understand any of what's going on around them. So they end up in their little enclaves, getting pissed and whinging about Spain.
Nowhere is perfect. But there is enough here that I like for me to stay. But I'll say it again...I don't think anyone should even consider it unless they are fluent in Spanish and even then prepared for it to be very hard at first.
What I did was different. I came here, liked it, met DH and sort of stayed. I could have gone home anytime. I was always renting and on short term contracts. Thats' different to burning all your bridges and selling up at home and buying here.

macaco Mon 08-Sep-08 08:11:47

I know you're not suggesting that nkf, just talking about what many expats do..

costamum Mon 08-Sep-08 21:07:31

I absolutely echo what Macao says. I am married to a spaniard but couldn't speak when I first got here but learned and am now more or less fluent! But it was very hard and it took me a while to get over the differences between here and the UK - right now I wouldn't change anything - I too am really happy bringing my kids up here!

patoamarillo Thu 18-Sep-08 20:05:28

Just got back from some time back in UK and catching up on this thread. Found it an interesting read, I dont know about the maids/live in help, but do know of many cases of abuse use of grandparents. Ive been quite shocked with the young mums attitudes, I also believed very much in the family orientated view and to a large extend my DPs family is like that. However, many young mums I meet seem to want to carry on as before, ie working, going out and the most bizarre for me "parents only holidays".

I met DP in UK and moved here with him after visiting for several years but have to say have found the transition much harder than I thought. But after reading the post on homesickness maybe Im just stuck on number 4...!. Maybe this time next year Ill be on number 5 and loving it.hmm

chicca Thu 25-Sep-08 19:00:47

can i pop in to say hello - i live here too. Moved here 6 years ago to Arcos in Cadiz province and have recently moved to El Puerto de Santa Maria (nearer to Cadiz itself). It's a bit change from Arcos and I have seen maids here-in uniform!!
We, well I, have had many of the same moans as everyone else and on a daily basis have to remind myself that we are better off here - for now.

abuela Sat 27-Sep-08 13:09:03

I just moved back to spain 3 months ago having been back in the UK for 2 years and its good to be back. There are so many things about spain that I missed (a few that I didn't too)
I live in a small village in the countryside in Valencia province and the life here is very family oriented.(no maids in my village!) In any country in the world I think life is very different in the city, particularly in more affluent areas. Bebespain when you mention bad manners are you referring to the spanish or the ex-pats?

fussychica Wed 26-Sep-12 18:06:25

Lived in Andalucia for 8 years - loved it! Missing the sun right now.

captainmummy Wed 26-Sep-12 18:22:22

I'd like to move to spain, but you're right, I am expecting it to be like a holiday! I don;t speak much spanish (have been doing lessons) but would hope to learn - I do have german and some french and I would hope to be part of the society (eventually)

I'd move anywhere out of the UK to be honest, especially somehwere with some sun, and a slower pace of life.

Those in the north - i've been told it rains as much as the UK? Is that right - bearing in mind we've had notghing but rain this summer? I was looking at cantabria or galicia, also at Calpe and valencia. Not decided yet, but not looking to work over there. Places like Seville i think might be too hot, also there are tarantulas there!

peterpie Thu 27-Sep-12 14:51:39

It´s funny seeing this thread again some 4 years later, I was bebespain back in 2008!

captainmummy - I don´t live in the North, I am in Madrid, but it is my favourite place in the whole of Spain. It does rain a lot there but not quite as much as in the UK and even so the Summers are much more guaranteed to be pleasant.

It´s pretty rural, (Galicia especially) and unemployment is a big issue with lots of young Spaniards having to move away in order to find work. English is not as widely spoken as in some of the more touristy parts of the country.

You talk about a slower pace of life.... confused From my point of view this is a total myth about Spain. I am a SAHM but my DH works in the capital and it´s far from being a slower pace, his working day is very long, much longer than when he worked in the UK and employers here don´t offer flexible working hours as much as they do back "home". For most Spanish families both parents have to work full time, with many children dropped off at school at 7am (before school club) until 4pm and beyond from the tender age of 3 or even younger at Nursery. This is a total contradiction to the family life idea often perpetuated about Spain. Granted it may not be quite the same in a village "up North" but I imagine it´s pretty much the same scenario in any big Spanish city.

Believe me when I say there are more important things than sunshine wink

fussychica Thu 27-Sep-12 18:33:13

I resurrected this thread by accident!

Andalucia is tooo hot in the summer and the winters can be very harsh if you aren't near the coast. We had -8 and heavy snow one year which broke one of our lemon tree in half sad. When we moved house we installed central heating! Where we live(d) is very rural and doesn't have the fast pace of life that peterpie experiences. English isn't widely spoken other than the busier costal resorts.

We came back partly because of the terrible unemployment situation, especially for youngsters. Our son decided on a UK Uni rather than one in Spain so we all came back - still have our house though - well you can't sell anything there at the mosad

Galicia is really nice but personally I wouldn't want to live there.

captainmummy Thu 27-Sep-12 21:19:54

Wow - I didn't even notice that the thread is 4 years old!

lagartija Sat 06-Oct-12 15:39:11

I used to be macaco and I've since had a DD and am now a bit hacked off with Spain and would quite like to go back....but can't without selling my property, which is basically impossible.

lagartija Sat 06-Oct-12 15:39:39

a DD as well as the DS I had when I was macaco.

Cies Sat 06-Oct-12 15:54:03

Funny re-reading these comments four years down the line!

Times are very tough at the moment for most Spanish families, and I for one would think very hard about moving out here now.

lagartija Sat 06-Oct-12 16:07:48

So many of the expats I know here are moving back. My DH has been unemployed for a very long time and there's nothing on the horizon at all. If it weren't for having to sell a property I'd be inclined to go back myself. Not to say I wouldn't miss Spain, but i'm feeling vulnerable here in a way I haven't before.

captainmummy Sun 07-Oct-12 12:43:58

lagartija and cies - things aren't great here either! I don;t think prices here are any cheaper than spain, in fact I think you;'ll be shocked at the price of stuff (council tax, food, HOUSING, electricity) Unemployment is rising, youngsters are not getting jobs, people are getting to retirement age and realising thaat they can't live on their pensions and staying in work longer, and the weather is crapper than ever!

I'd love to move away, anywhere really.

nkf Sun 07-Oct-12 13:52:24

Very very weird experience reading this thread. I saw the title on Active Convos and thought interesting. Clicked on it. It turned out to be one I started four years ago. And if that wasn't weird enough, the husband of many years that I was discussing moving to Spain with is no longer my husband. And Spain is in recession. And I am still posting on MN. Weird.

lagartija Sun 07-Oct-12 15:58:22

Sorry to hear about your marriage break up nkf. My life too is very different, although I'm still in Spain. It's not that I want to go back to the UK but it's all getting worrying.....and at the end of the day I'm only a resident here.

nkf Sun 07-Oct-12 16:03:05

Thank you. Sorry to hear that you feel vulnerable in Spain. I hear the unemployment problem is very bad indeed. I guess you can't rent out houses there any more.

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