From Liverpool to Mijas: Family Life in Spain
Hola! My name is Lisa Sadleir, also known as mum from @familyinspain. I was born in Liverpool and have been a resident of Spain for over twenty years now (I’ve been saying that for a few years too!). I live with my husband and two beautiful children in the lovely area of Mijas, in Málaga, southern Spain.
1. Why did you move abroad?
In a nutshell ... I was born in Liverpool and grew up in a small village called Lowton until I headed off to University. I went to university in London and France to study European Business. On graduating, I decided to take time out and work as a travel guide and headed off to the island of Gran Canaria. 10 years later, having worked all over Spain and the Spanish islands, in ski resorts in Andorra & the french Alps, a brief stint in Corsica, USA and the Dominican Republic, myself and my then “hubby to be” (also from England), settled in Fuerteventura.
7 years later having got married, bought and sold our very first home, set up and sold a successful snorkeling business and had two gorgeous children we decided that we had to move back “home” … to mainland Spain, to Malaga, Andalucia.
2. How do you make a living?
Thanks to my European business background, my knowledge of Spanish procedures and also the language, I have created my own work over the years. I am now in a lucky position to be able to help others move safely to Spain and help them overcome unnecessary obstacles and unwanted headaches. We are known for bursting bubbles … not selling false dreams!
Our business is supported by our websites: www.ccbspain.com which provides essential information to people moving to and living in Spain and www.movetomalaga.com which is our relocation website.
We are also collaborating on a couple of exciting education in Spain projects that we will be launching very soon.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
If you ask any of my family, the answer to this would be “not often enough”! We are huge fans of Skype for keeping in touch with the family. We pay for the unlimited Europe option and also have a UK Skype number for the family to be able to call us cheaply. The children love seeing their grandparents and cousins and especially their pet dogs on the screen.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Andalucia?
Oh where do we start? Andalucia is a wonderful place, as the saying goes ¡Andalucía … solo hay una! We feel that It is so much easier to have a great quality of life here. Material possessions are not important, or at least they don’t have to be. The Spanish people are so welcoming and family life is very important to them. Provided you make the effort, it can be easy to become part of your local community and of course the outdoor lifestyle is unbeatable! Andalucia has so much to offer. It’s not all about the beaches …. although that is one of our favourite places!
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Andalucia?
Worst thing? Hmmm …. this’s a hard one. Maybe that there are not enough days in the month to visit all the places that we want to visit, although we still have time to do that.
6. What do you miss most?
About the UK? Our memories of the UK are those of beautiful clear days in the green countryside, tea rooms with homemade cakes and scones. Pubs with beer gardens and pub lunches. Our memories are often distorted though by reality of the terrible UK weather that dampens plans on a regular basis.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I assist with school activities whenever possible. It’s a great way to integrate with the local Spanish community and parents of your childrens friends. The use of social media such as Twitter and facebook have also helped us to get to know many local people. Several of whom have now become good friends who we meet regularly.
I have attended several networking events to get to know other local business people. There are numerous networking groups and clubs in Malaga. Meeting people is not a problem. Finding time to attend all the events is more of a challenge!
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
My hubby actually answered this one … his comment that “strange” can mean “surprising” in a positive way:
1. The fact that people stop and smile and talk to you when you walk down the street, when they don’t know you!
2. The fact that you feel comfortable when a complete stranger whisks your child out of your arms to give them a hug.
3. The honesty, trust and openness … Where else do waiters ask you what you have had to eat and drink before giving you the bill?
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
It does rain in Spain … although not too often in the South! Not everything closes for siesta … although lots of places still do! Sangria is not the most popular drink … unless you stay in a tourist area! Tapas are not free everywhere … but we know places where they are!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
It is difficult for us to compare costs with the UK as we spend so little time there. Although, I think it’s fair to say that day to day items are now the same price, if not more expensive in Spain than the UK, particularly foodstuffs. Good wine and eating out is still better in Spain though!
Living in Spain is not as cheap is used to be. However, thanks to the weather, we find that there are so many more things to do that does not cost money. We regularly pack a picnic and head off to the beach or inland to discover the local countryside.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
1. Be prepared to slow down. Get ready for a more relaxed pace of life. If it doesn’t get done today, it will get done tomorrow ... or maybe the day after! Stressing about it will not get it done any faster.
2. Forget the “but in England, they do it this way....” attitude.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, but beware of the bar stool grapevine. Our business website www.ccbspain.com is full of important information relevant to living in Spain and if the information is not there, we will happily find it for you.
4. Timing is fundamental … Moving at the wrong time in your life, your child’s life, or at the wrong time of year can jeopardize a successful relocation.
5. Research. Research. Research.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
We started blogging in October 2010. The idea is that our site grows with our children. Our lives are focused around them and, thanks to them, we are learning more about the country we have chosen to make our home.We have met some amazing people through our website and do not need any excuse to accept invitations to visit new places and meet new people. We are learning something new about this wonderful country all the time, particularly through our children. That is why we started our blog www.familylifeinspain.com. As the children get older, we look deeper into day to day living and challenges, traditions, culture and history of the country we have chosen to make our home. That country is Spain.
Lisa's blog, Family Life in Spain
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