10 things you need to know before moving to Spain…Seriously …

Yes, we live in Spain. Yes, we love it, BUT it is not without it s idiosyncrasies.

Things you never had to worry about, well, now you do. Things you used to worry about, well, now you don t have to.

Moving to Spain turns everything on it s head. The following points should give you a slight insight into how our past year has gone and how you can prepare yourselves.

Bureaucracy You will never, ever, have all the documents you need. Commonly known as the Law of Falta Uno: No matter how many documents and photocopies you take with you, there will always be ONE missing. Always double check you have all your documents, every piece of paper you could ever need, and then some. The video below will give you an insight to just how the Spanish deal with paperwork. It s funny, because it s true!

Birthdays Remember me saying to turn everything on its head? Well guess what?! It s your birthday and YOU are expected to take your nearests and dearests out, and it s your shout! You pay on your birthday, why is beyond me.

If your children are at school on their birthday, you d better send them in with sweets for the whole class!! Trust me.

August. There are many things you should not do in August. Firstly August is hot. Damn hot. All the Spanish have their holidays in August, and they are all down the beach. Somewhere no self-respecting person would ever venture. Don t for a second think about having a baby in August. There are no doctors.

Again, they are all down the beach. Do not attempt to eat near a beach in August. You will wait hours to order, hours to receive the food, and hours before you can pay your bill it will take you all day to have lunch.

So you want to order a beer. A gentle Perdone or Disculpe with your finger in the air will get you nowhere. You remember how your Nan used to clear her throat, making a sound like a monster truck starting up? Well a couple of them, followed by a loud and proud Oiga! (Listen to me stranger!) or if your brave enough Oye! (Listen to me stranger while I pretend I know you) No-one will bat an eyelid.

Do not attempt to buy a house, get a new kitchen put in, renew your driving licence, make an insurance claim, see a doctor etc in August. Spain is not in (It s gone to the beach. And why not! See 3).

Children in Spain can do no wrong.

They go to bed when they decide it s suitably late. Normally around 1am. Even teeny tiny children are up till the wee hours of the morning. They will run round your dinner table screaming whilst you enjoy your evening meal. This is cute and not to be seen as anything but that.

Morning/ la ma ana = until 2pm,
Afternoon/ la tarde = until dark,
Evening = there is no word for evening
After midnight = la madrugada. Weird huh.

Tips given where tips are due. We normally leave 10 per cent as standard, if it was particularly good service we generally leave 20 per cent.

The wages in the hospitality sector tend to be a bit of a fiddle over here. I speak from experience. Discount Holidays © Holiday pay is often overlooked and you will more often than not be given a 4 hour contract for a sixty hour a week job. This is fine if you still get the extra cash, however your pensionable contributions and tax paid by your employer will be non existent. To employ someone on a 40 hour a week contract apparently costs the employer 400 euro a month making sense?

The early bird catches the worm over here. Business is done in the morning before breakfast. Coffee and pastries at 6am, work at 7am. second breakfast is at 10 where you will find everyone in the bars and cafes eating baguettes filled with tomato, olive oil, ham and cheese. We regularly walk past old boys chatting away outside a cafe with a bottle of whiskey on the table before midday.

Seriously. Lunch tends to be a two hour affair, from 1 maybe 2, till 3 maybe 4. The working day finishes at 7pm. Or so we are lead to believe.

These differences are what makes it all so attractive. We haven t looked back since coming to Spain. Yes things may seem odd for a while, but we are the ones immersing ourselves in a different culture. If we wanted things to be similar we would have moved to Blackpool. You are in Spain, don t expect everyone to speak English because they won t. If you are serious about re-locating, first please take a month and make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

The Spanish are some of the most hospitable people we have met, and if you try to immerse yourself in the Spanish way of life they will look after you. When you make Spanish friends they tend to be for life. Normal people eat and drink because they are hungry.

A Spanish person eats and drinks, as an excuse to be with his family and his friends.

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