I am writing this blog for all the people who are embarking on a life abroad. Whether its a broken down relationship, your nagging neighbours dog, or a dead end job that drives you insane, moving abroad is a life changing experience to be had. We have all met those negative friends or families that drag you down somehow at some point, embark on pulling yourself up and away from them, live a life you dream off, do a Shirley Valentine and book the flight to Greece or the Canaries ha ha, let him make his own Egg & Chips!!
Our dream of moving away has been set in stone for a long time, it was not an overnight fleeting thought after a Gin. In fact we went through hell to even get here, but theirs another story!
Some information may not fit what you are doing, i am not writing this for every country just the Canaries. Take time to read this, i am not judging anyone nor am i giving orders, this blog is purely to help who ever needs a little insight. I`m sure i will have missed out information that others will know, but i like to think that i may help a few, so that`s good enough for me.
We all worry when we think about moving to another country, especially if we have children. A few wise people will say, “Sometimes the excitement is in the waiting” I`m not entirely sure that counts for all people, especially me as i am a typical Sagittarian that wants it all yesterday. If you are planning on moving abroad the first important thing is to remember to keep calm. Its all a little to easy to run and bury your head in the sand like an ostrich hoping it will sort itself out.
Focus, get tunnel vision in sight and start organising yourself properly. Kids or no kids its a mission. Hopefully when deciding to move abroad you will know where you want to be, as if you don’t, “stop right there” as its going to be mayhem. Pen and paper is all you need at this point, get it down on paper what you want, where you want to be, with what and how it is going to benefit you and who your with for many years to come, or forever in some cases.
A plan is all you need. Slowly start by tying up all your loose ends in the place that will soon be in the past. Be ready to say goodbye to the familiarity of your neighbourhood, your family, your friends, your work colleagues, your home and the country that you have been a part of for so long, its a little like baby steps, bit by bit, or its just going to be to much of a shocker if you rush this all in a short time.
All of your prized possessions are important, so what are you going to do with them? Do they go? or do they stay? a biggie for many people. Its not easy to just ditch all your belongings and start a fresh. Ill say again, take your time! These things have been with you a long time, you cant just throw them away!
Again paper it. Write down what you love the most, and what you hate. I`m sure we all hate something of our husbands and would love to throw it away sneakily, i wouldn’t though, as he is sure as hell gonna notice its gone. Its his journey too don`t forget! If your in a pickle, pick out your favourite items, clothing, pictures, teddies, shoes, box them, store them where you can until you can ship it over. It will work easier than you think. If your doing a complete house move then great, go for it and box the bloody lot.
Whilst de-cluttering the house, start to gather your paperwork together, have you got printed all that you will need? I very much doubt it!
Ok, so i`m guessing you have studied hard for this move? if not, why not? For the Canaries your going to need the EX15 and EX18 forms and the patients of a saint. for your NIE and Residencia, you can read more on this in my other blog how to get my NIE.
The paper work you will be expected to cough up when visiting your local cop shop for your NIE and Residencia is outstanding to say the least. You know them trees in the Amazon? your going to need at least three of them all to yourself, and if your into Green Peace your totally screwed. The key to dealing with lots of paper work is to go to Worton (local store) and get a good printer, ink and lots of tea bags, crisps and chocolate for the long haul. Remember to print copies of everything, passport, extra forms in case of mistakes as all Spanish documents have to be written in Spanish.
A word to the wise here, if you are married or have children or both, any Birth Certificate is going to need translating into Spanish and have an Apostille attached to the back of it to prove it is an original document. If you were married abroad like us, send the document to where ever you were married and get an Apostille attached to the back, have it sent DHL for sure or you probably wont see it again. The Spanish system is extremely strict so don`t just think ah we will be fine without it, as you wont. You will not get what you need without what i have said, trust me.
Kids settle easier than you think when you relocate. Before you know it they have more friends than they had in the country you left behind. The language also comes easier to children as their minds are much more open and ready to adapt to their environment much quicker than us oldies.
Official places like the Town Hall all close at 1 PM. Anything official be sure to be there early to avoid disappointment. The post is another story, some people receive post from UK and other areas, and some don`t, even if its recorded delivery. Its just the way it is.
Google maps are sometimes useless, you end up in the mountains outside an old Finca when really you should be rocking up for dinner at a fancy restaurant. So, be careful as the maps are not always updated, but i guess this happens wherever you are in the world, good old Google.
Banks are all different, some will charge for a non resident account which is around 30 euro a quarter and others wont. As a resident you can pay around 700 euro into the Sabadell Bank and have no fees at all. Others such as BBVA can have you spinning in circles as they did us, and at times they are not really helpful at all, which is a shame, i guess its just the way it is. The difference is crazy between banks here. Take your time in choosing which you want. All Banks close at 2 PM. If you have a BBVA account as a non resident then upgrade to resident as they instruct you to expect your account to be locked without notice, as was ours, not to helpful when you need to pay direct debts i can tell you. The reason being, they needed to confirm we were resident, all documents and ourselves to the bank to prove we were, and if you forget one document such your Empadronmiento your back home for it and hope your in time when you return as the ques will be long.
Ferries go from island to island so if you fancy a break hop on and have a great time on either Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Palma or La Gomera. The cost for a resident is about 21 Euro each way, for a non resident its about 80 Euro for both ways. Not bad really for a fun time away. The Armas and Fred Olsen are the ones that frequently go from Santa Crus (north) or Los Cristianos. The other is from Agaete.
When relocating its important to get yourselves or yourself connected to as many nomads as possible. There is always someone travelling or has just moved that wants to connect. The Spanish can sometimes seem a little off, but i think we can interpret actions and sounds wrong when we are out in the unknown. We have encountered a few rude people but hey, that`s life, we certainly left a good few behind too! On the other hand we have met some lovely people who are the stepping stones in life when we need them to be.
We would advise learning the language if possible. We found a lovely lady called Caroline, originally from Scotland, she has settled and made a great life out in Tenerife where she teaches Spanish in Callao Salvaje and Costa Del Silencio. She also runs a English speaking church with her lovely husband Ken in Callao. They are very welcoming and offer services to all who want it. The lingo here in the Canaries is fast, short, and addictive. We have lessons weekly and benefit from it greatly. We ear wig when possible whilst travelling to different towns, standing in the post office ques, it all helps in the end. If you make an effort it is appreciated and you will of course feel a part of it all a little more as well.
Be careful when choosing a place to live. The way it works out here is one of a kind. If they did in the UK what they do here they would be hell up. They basically charge you a agent fee of whatever the rent will be. So, imagine 950 a month, maybe two months deposit, one month in advance and of course the 950 they think you don`t need for yourself on agency fees. We all understand they need to make a living, sure we all do. But, ide like to know how they get the figure to the cost of the rent for basically answering a few messages or emails, meeting you and showing you around the home to be. Apparently its not illegal out here to do that, but when you dig deeper you will find out that it actually is. The standard charge should be in the region of 180 Euro, i know of only one rental company that charges this on the entire island of Tenerife. I`m sure the government will catch up soon with everyone, but hey your in Spain, that may be in the next ten years. So, be warned its not going to be cheap, and making sure your happy where you live will benefit your pocket greatly and your mind.
Talking of money, again, food is delicious. Tapas on every corner, and Barraquito to die for. You can shop cheap here if you look for it. If your a pure English food lover head to Iceland they have it all for you, but you will pay for it too. The supermarkets here are Mercadona, Lidl, Tu Trebol, HiperDino. All equipped with all you will need to get through each week. Water is cheap at 85 cents a bottle (8 litre). Fuel by the way is dirt cheap!
Restaurants and Bars are scattered all over the islands, your never far away from something tasty. We love the Waffles filled with ice cream, we found these bad boys in Puerto De La Cruz in the north of Tenerife. We also love Paella, Patatas Bravas, Albondigas (meatballs) Pintxos (mini sandwiches) Empanadas and much more, the waistline is expanding to say the least.
Moving away from yummy foods in Spain i want to share my sadness in the litter issue in a few areas of Tenerife. I`m no Green Peace person, but i`m all for a little common sense when it comes to litter. I mean, how hard is it to put litter in the bin, you really do not need a degree for it. I know what your thinking too, these people come to Tenerife moaning about everything, no we just have an opinion. I have been in a country where litter is miserable and unnoticed even though it stares you in the face. Then, i come to an more beautiful place and see that ugly site again. It really is a shame. wherever we go sadly litter will always be an issue, ive been to Thailand and seen dead cats floating down the street in a storm (not pleasant) so Tenerife is way better than that, but still, it is not really acceptable. I suppose it just stands out more when your in a much nicer place. So, i would say to anyone who fancies a blissful picnic on the beach, BBQ, plastic wrappers, bottles, cling film and all the other rubbish you have, please please take the lot home with you, its as easy as that. These pictures are from Tenerife town San Miguel near a bus stop. The beaches are also affected by this awful problem, its just not on, they do have regular beach cleans here so that`s a breath of fresh air and respect to all the ones that do it.
Ok, so that`s just a little info on life in the Canaries. I will update again soon. If you do have concerns and want to ask us anything at all, we are here to help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adios for now Amigos!