***For anybody that doesn’t know our story, I’ve added a ‘background info’ page to the menu***
We have now been here for just over a week. It’s been interesting, and very hot. Obviously we have been finding our feet, but the general consensus between us is, we are relaxed, happy and chilled to the max!
Allow me to continue with the subject of the mosquitoes. We were literally plagued by them in our jungle-like rear garden. There is a studio apartment across the rear yard where I have stored some things but it has been a case of running the gauntlet just to get across to it, or to tend to the plants. It seems crazy to have this beautiful, shaded outdoor space, craved by many urban dwellers, available to us, yet being unable to utilize it because of midges! Needless to say I have employed every available tactic to overcome these prehistoric bloodsuckers! Mint and basil plants, bleach, soapy water, coffee grounds and more, have all been ceremoniously deployed.
Apart from the above, I have taken to covering myself liberally in some foul smelling chemical from head to toe, having been recommended by locals. It’s purely a mosquito repellent, but my routine here has been absurd. It’s been so hot here during the day and night, not falling below 28-30 degrees, that I’ve been taking two or three cold showers a day. So you perspire, shower to get clean and cool down, then cover yourself in sticky chemicals, only wishing you could get clean and cool down again. Ridiculous! Having said that – no more bites, so something is working!
The week has flown by, as they do. We have been so fortunate that Selena’s new employers have really got a grip on the necessary admin required to emigrate officially. On our first morning in El Puig we had to convene at the town hall to register at our new address, with passports and signed house rental agreement at the ready. Thankfully one of Selena’s school colleagues came along to translate. Basically we needed to register locally to get our Padron (residency). On the following day Selena attended a Police station a few miles away to register for her NIE (another form of identity/employment/residency/tax……..) without which you can do very little, in terms of admin, in Spain. Her NIE has now been issued so now the bank account process should commence.
In the meantime I’ve been checking out the beaches and bars……
The beach here is 2 miles away from our door with free parking. We’ve been just about every day. You spend all day trying to stay cool and then head to the beach in the evening. It has felt like a dream. In England I was anxious. Externally laid back, but always a stickler for routine and time. Here it has been the opposite. We can stay at the beach into the evening, six or seven o’clock. Dinner at eight or nine. Thankfully work and school hasn’t interfered, so Lizzy goes to bed at eight, nine, ten at night, and we rise around nine or ten in the morning…… weird (but it so suits my body clock!)
Look at this picture of Selena and Lizzy. 4.20pm Spanish time, having just arrived at the beach again. Look at Lizzy’s face. Tell me that this isn’t better for your soul!!!
Selena starts work on Friday so we’ll see how things change then…..
A synopsis of our first week – ‘mosquitoes, administration, beach’.
Thrown into the mix of those first few days were various trips to the supermarkets. My evaluation is this. The aisles are wide, and I haven’t had to get annoyed with anybody getting in my way. We are fortunate that in El Puig there are a couple of good ones with plenty of choice, and just along the main road towards Valencia are a few huge ones where you can buy anything from tyres to fartons (it’s a Valencian thing).
We did venture into the city for the first time on Sunday to meet some of Selena’s new work colleagues. We met at a bar on the beach and got to know each other. There were other children there to occupy Lizzy, and we all got along well, all of them British, having been here for several years. To be honest a part of me felt like I was cheating. I was sitting at a gorgeous beachfront bar chatting with like minded Brits, with their own stories and rationale, but my mind kept wondering…..
I had never envisaged being somebody that moved to Spain to then live in their own ‘expat’ community without integrating with Spanish life. For a moment I felt like I was being drawn into that world. How would I ever become a local if my only friendship circle was Selena’s ‘work group’?
The thought was fleeting but will remain in the back of my mind.
Having said that, I quickly realised that this will be a massive part of our new life here and I am already hugely grateful that we have a ready made circle of friends. It will take years to integrate into the local community (if it ever happens) so the comfort of relaxed, English speaking company is not to be taken for granted. To be thrown into a foreign situation with no help or support would be seriously testing as a family, so I soon realised that this was a huge bonus. They were a great bunch too, and we had plenty in common, so in all honesty, I’m looking forward to new friendships (and if you know me at all well that’s saying something).
Here are some more gratuitous pictures of Lizzy settling in. It’s a lifestyle change for all of us but the positives are immeasurable.