Striving for the simple life in Spain?

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It’s a few months since I wrote the last blog and I must admit I have reflected long and hard on what I should write about.

We have had some lovely feedback regarding our blogs especially by those people who are looking to move out here to Spain and I will try my best to ensure the blogs helps in some way or another for new families starting their new journey.

The move to Spain was never just about a family relocation or a life in the sun, it was much deeper than that.

We wanted a much simpler way of life, away from toxic situations and to be able to distance ourselves from people who attract drama in their lives. Living out here in the campo, aiming to grow our own fruit and vegetables, spending real quality family time with our ten-year-old daughter (before she disowns us when she reaches the teenage years), lovely walks with the dogs, creating a new garden to relax in that enables the mind to think about bugger all and just live in the moment – this was and still is the plan.

To achieve this though we knew the journey was also going to be about finding out who we really are as people and after forty and fifty years respectively of working in the UK, this rewiring process just doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time especially for deep thinkers such as myself. I always felt the first year was about purging my own demons that perhaps needed to be there to survive life in the UK.

Certain things used to wind me up quite quickly in the UK such as being stuck in traffic jams (sorry to keep harping on about this but if there is one thing friends and family back home consistently update me on, it’s the nightmare scenario of getting from A to B). This is a problem that has disappeared literally overnight over here like someone waving a magic wand and if I’m honest its lovely.

Unfortunately, there are still things that rattle the cage a bit that make you react in way that I would like to rid myself of. Some are just simply mother nature like losing Harry the cat literally 4 months after arriving here. There is no pain like seeing your wife and daughter bereave and unfortunately there is no way of escaping the journey of bereavement and you have to understand that your coping mechanisms will still be needed, even in life in the sun.

Having the worst snow in Spain in ninety years and the worst rain in thirty years is also something I didn’t anticipate. As much as I tried to convince myself that I liked the seasons back in the UK, the only season I really liked was summer!

There are however things that can get you down that are self-inflicted and very much in your control. I have always been interested in politics and how people behave culturally to one another and I have found myself keeping abreast of the worldwide situations daily via the TV, social media, and friends.

Brexit and the American election process has certainly stirred some debate and are both subjects that have caused us to witness people sometimes at their best and sometimes at their worst. We humans are a very opinionated, judgmental bunch and I have realised over the years that one of my biggest weaknesses is throwing my opinions about like confetti at a wedding and it’s not something I’m proud of. No one likes a smart arse.

My plan of living the simple life was slipping away by the day as I found myself absorbing the world news and I could see myself behaving in way that I didn’t like, i.e. judging others, forming strong opinions on how others were reacting to the news.

Keeping yourself up to date with the world news is perhaps not the best thing to do when your new goal is to find a new calming balance in your life and my discipline to stay away from the various media sources was not strong at all.

The reason I say this is because moving to a new country is only a small part of a new life. You have to move on not just physically but also emotionally if you really want to improve your quality of life. In effect I was making a conscious decision to absorb myself with daily messages from a place that I’d chosen to move away from – not a great idea really is it!

I am clearly some way off finding the new me and I will continue to keep looking in the mirror to remind myself of our bigger plan. Spending less time on technology and more time in the garden, building my new stone wall has helped considerably and that’s clearly where I need to spend my energy in my search to live a less complex, happy and content life.

On a positive note, although the grape vineyards are now depleted of their fruit and leaves, the area is surrounded by beautiful pink and white Almond flowers and they look stunning. Normally I’m used to seeing trees empty of leaves in the winter and I have to pinch myself when driving past the many orange trees bursting with fruit (I’ve never tasted oranges like these).

Olivia is still doing amazing at school and I can’t quite believe how well she has settled in. Bar the bereavement of Harry, Olivia has never been so happy and this has a huge impact on the whole family.

We had our first visit of our granddaughter Emily from England last week so we did another family trip to Alicante. I mentioned visiting the marina and the beaches in Alicante in the last blog but having spent a bit more time there, its firmly becoming one of my favourite destinations. For those who like spending a weekend around tapas bars and shops, what a place. We are only 35 minutes away so I think this will be our destination of choice when people come to visit.

As you can see there are always ups and downs wherever you live and our granddaughter and the family going back to the UK was always going to be a tough one, especially for my wife.

My mum has already booked four visits this year and I honestly believe you get far more quality time when people come to stay than you would back in the UK so although we are further away, family life is far more concentrated and special living here. It is hard when family leave though.

I’ve attached various photographs including our trips to Alicante, homemade tapas and the Almond trees and I will provide further updates on our garden and our crusade to grow our own fruit and vegetables in Spain. I’ve already got some tomatoes, garlic, herbs, various shrubs and cactus cuttings on the go.

I am hoping to provide some examples of our grocery bills, gas, electric, mobile phone costs etc. over the next blog or two to provide people an idea of the cost of living over here.

Take care and speak soon,
Hasta Luego
Lee

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