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Thursday, January 15

My Anniversary waltz...... It is almost one year since we landed in Spain.................................

On February 21st 2014, we boarded the ferry at Portsmouth and began a journey into the unknown and into our new life here in Spain.

It has been a fairly easy transition, from a logistical point of view and although there have been times of stress, those times are far fewer and than when we worked and lived in the UK.   Life here is good, at the age of    55   oops   56 ( just had a birthday), we are both retired, from the daily grind, but are busy with our lives here, and do not forget how lucky we are to have the resources, albeit limited to do this.

The emotional side of moving to another country has been the hardest issue to deal with, and as we almost near our first anniversary I am now slowly getting over the emotional baggage that this type of move brings.

We never came with a romantic image of  moving abroad and we were fully aware that is was not just about moving to a new life, that  it would take time to adjust to a different culture,  that it would bring with it a great deal of emotional baggage which could not be ignored.  However it is hard to describe how mentally exhausting dealing with all the official paperwork, in a different language, can be, how adjusting to the simple task of buying different foods, not being able to get the products that you want, not understanding what different products do, be they for food or renovations,  believe me 3 weeks a year on holiday cannot prepare you for life full time somewhere else, BUT we managed and we love it.  If you are not a stoical person, I can see how you may hate your new life,   Whatever country you move to, you really do have to be prepared to compromise, change and adapt.   If you are not good at change or adapting maybe a move abroad is not for you.  If like us you are moving to retire, being with someone 24/7, even with someone you love can take some adjusting.

So  all that said and done,  have we/I had a bad time?   No  these feeling have come and gone over a period of almost one year.  We love our life here, but we love it because we have had to put in the effort, the effort to learn the language, the effort to make friends with local people, the effort to understand the culture, we are foreigners here it is not up to the Spanish to teach us, it is up to us to learn, although the Spanish we have encountered love to teach and show us the "right" ways, and it is usually done with grace and charm

 I was watching a place in the sun on U-Tube, a while back , when they asked an English lady already living there for some period of time, do you speak the language, she said and I quote  " no we were not lucky enough to learn", what did she think would happen, a bloody language fairy would bestow on her the ability to converse overnight and then leave a  euro coin, to order a cup of coffee hidden under her pillow, like the tooth fairy.  Learning the language like adjusting to a different culture is hard, we have sat with Spanish friends for many long minutes in silence as we all try to think of what to say to each other, its hard work, but eventually, like most things in life it pays off.  My language is no where near perfect, but we have had some interesting conversations about life and the meaning of it and we are adapting to the culture, living life as the Spanish do, integrating as best we can, because as far as I can see integration is the way to adapt and survive in a foreign land.

So a year into our new life , it has  been

  • hard,
  • wonderful,
  • challenging, 
  • different, 
  • busy 
  • Painful
  • Humbling
  • frustrating
  • glorious
  • Funny
Would do it all over again, you bet I would and  I look forward to many more years adapting to the challenges and enjoying life in this wonderful country. 

 I leave you with a collection of photos from our first year. Selected from over 4000 taken since we arrived,   In No particular order, but a taste of life so far

Horseshoe whip snake who very rudely invaded my lounge

Probably the BEST dog in the world,,, my Zara

Blane Day One

Me day one

The first place we stayed La Fontanera sitting on the border with Portugal.  A very magical place

Casa Salto del Caballo  our first stop in Spain

Portalegre Portugal

Monfrague :- and the Griffin Vultures

Almoharin :- we rented for a while here while our house purchase went through

The Beautiful hilltop village of Maveo in Portugal, one of my very favourite place.. even though not in Spain

Dogs dogs and the Genius that it dogs


How tiny and in a year grown so much in size and in our hearts

Friends and Fiestas


  1. A late happy birthday from us, and an early happy anniversary to you both! Lovely photos and what a big dog! Can't imagine how much she eats...
    Ps...did you get your email unhacked?
    Cold down here 2.5 this morning and ice on the puddles. Snow forecast again tonight.

    So glad to read positive things about your move, you are obviously happy - hard not to be with scenery like that to wake up to.

  2. Wonderful to read your blog and very refreshing to hear your comments re language and culture. We move to the Sierra de Aracena 60km from the Protugese border ( Rosal de Fontera is our crossing-point for visits to Portugal) and 100 km northwest of Sevilla. We have been here 10 and a half years and are still as happy and amazed in our village as when we were we arrived. We have a small B&B ..we are not retired and managee to eke out ( and i mean eke ) a living from that. It is hard but we have lots of support in the village and struggle as much as they with ´La Crisis´ect. I would however not want to be anywhere else. You sound so well grounded that I´m sure you´ll succeed whatever you
    do. Your place sounds fab and we wish you all the best with your self-suffience .If you are ever down our way , get in touch. All the best Annette Frizzell and Stuart Kennedy