Kate’s Story of Why She Decided to Move Back to England From Spain
It was in September 2004 that the family moved to Moraira on the Costa Blanca in Spain, Amanda my eldest daughter was four years old and just about to begin primary school while my youngest daughter Amelia was fourteen months old. We had bought a villa three years earlier and it seemed the ideal time to try a new lifestyle.
In September we enrolled our daughter in school and had to deal with all the bureaucratic paperwork which can be a nightmare and after two weeks she began her her education in a Spanish primary school.
I had always had my doubts about putting her there as I always thought that one day we would have to return to the U.K. to make sure that her education was of the very best to be able to compete in the job market.
Obviously we did lots of research into the best place to live in Spain, we settled on the Costa Blanca and it is true that life on the Costa Blanca is idyllic in so many ways.
There is the beautiful scenery, the beaches, restaurants and cafes and of course the weather.
What I didn’t like about living in Spain
People are also friendly so one can make friends easily but there were also the down sides, missing family and friends back home, the weather, too hot in the summer, if one is having to work, and there is no air conditioning or ceiling fans and the house just was never warm enough in the winter either, with the tiled floors unless you are pumping out the heat at the highest possible levels, for most people an impossible expense.
Gas bottles can cost as much as €300 every three to four weeks in the winter. Ants in the summer were an issue as was the mould caused by the extreme humidity in summer as well as in winter.
The criminal elements on the Costa Blanca are also a factor. I didn’t know anyone who hadn’t been burgled and owing to our own carelessness we too became victims. A friend told me she has been burgled three times and another was gassed while she was sleeping.
The Spanish state school system
I’m sure you are wondering what is school like in Spain?
I was never that happy with the Spanish education system as from 2005 they started to teach Valenciano which isn’t recognised anywhere outside of the region and Castillano became a second language.
The school had a library with no books and PE three times a week consisted of roller blading and running. Science and history were not taught and English for foreigners was taught as a third language and from what I could see was riddled with errors which I was correcting.
On the bright side children were in school from 9 in the morning until half past four and were taught a great deal of discipline as homework was given from the earliest of grades and there was a lot of it, resulting in very good school reports. There is only one University for the children to study at which is Valencia, over a hundred kilometres away, and in Valenciano of course.
Why I decided to give up my life in Spain and move back
As it is very difficult to find good jobs in Spain, unless you are self employed, or happy to work for €800 a month, from which you cannot pay many bills, as well as the rent.
Well I could not for see a future for my children or for me. We had set up our own catering business which paid the bills with very little left at the end of the month, but with the economic down turn made life extremely difficult.
My marriage came under even a greater strain than before as my husband had a mid-life crisis which included extra martial affairs, so it was with great regret that I said goodbye to my life in Spain and packed up our belongings and my children to return to England.
After six years away our lives have changed drastically but we are far happier knowing that the girls can have a good education and we are not down to our last pennies or even worse in debt.
Since being back in England we have been back to Spain once to visit our friends and I can see that the girls so far have managed to keep their language skills.
We are looking forward to the half term break in October as we will be spending a week in our villa. Spain will always be a part of our lives and we hope to go back to visit regularly.
Read the sequel: Kate’s experiences of living back in the UK
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About the Author
Main author and owner of SpainMadeSimple.com which was started in 2004 when I first moved to Spain.
Spain Made Simple features expert advice on all aspects of moving to and living in Spain as well as useful tourist information and travel tips.
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