Slovenia is a tiny little country that we knew nothing about but were keen to explore. After the humid heat of Italy, it was great to get up into the mountains and lower temperatures, although we still had the occasional dramatic thunderstorm. Slovenia is gorgeous but, let it be said, not campervan friendly. Wild camping […]
Spain is one of the most visited countries in Europe, especially during the summer holidays and It is also one of the favourite destinations to move abroad because of obvious reasons such as the wonderful temperatures all year round, its vibrant and lively culture, famous gastronomy, to name a few.
When I moved to Spain from Ecuador I was unaware of all those nice features as I was a young teenager looking for adventure and an easy life. Things were easy for me because I had a blood relative in Spain and I was going to live with her. Nonetheless I wish I knew certain things before making the move, only because you can enjoy more the place you have decided to move to, and locals always appreciate the effort you put to integrate yourself with them.
Here a list of 5 things I recommend and would have liked that somebody tells me about:
– The jargon and different local dialects
When you just have arrived in Spain, whatever the region you are in, there is a lot of jargon to learn, it can be confusing and overwhelming at the beginning because even if your first language is Spanish as it was for me, sometimes I felt I could not get all what others were saying, but as practice makes masters with time and patience there will not be jargon that can’t resist to you, I promise!
In Catalunya, where I was living for almost 2 years, locals speak standard Spanish but mostly Catalan but even when they were talking I did not hear any strange words or particular jargon except for the accent, well I did not know any Catalan word so maybe that is why I could not distinguish jargon from normal words, heheh😊. In contrast, when I moved to Malaga, South of Spain, I found very challenging to understand certain words from the locals for a series of factors:
- Speed of talking: in Andalucía, people speak quite fast, in a matter of seconds they have said to you several tons but I could only get one or two most of the times, yeah! Even if it sounds weird, and although, my mother tongue was also Spanish, the speed is quite fast but no worries, the more you interact with locals the more your ear masters the art of the “Andaluz talking”
- Local jargon: everywhere has its own jargon or words and that is what makes Andalucía a wonderful place to live as you realize that a language is beyond learning the basics but understanding how locals talk to each other and to be like a local culture you must learn the “jargon”. At the end of this article I will post a **list of few words that will help you if you move to Malaga and I found amusing to learn.
– The wonderful climate ( but I am pretty sure you already know this!)
When you come from a tropical hot country like me, Ecuador, believe me that Spain seems to be cold especially the north (Barcelona region), but now that I have lived in England for over 5 years I have realized that I underestimated Spain’s weather so a big NO! Spain is far from cold and even writing this makes me laugh…..! Obviously, the north will be much colder than the south but in general terms comparing Spain with the UK, Spain is a warmer country depending on the region you are moving to.
In Malaga, winter temperatures are between **17-18°C, so very mild winters and long summers from end of April until late November. Below you will find a link of the Tourism office of Malaga that has interesting and useful information if you are planning on visit this amazing city.
Who doesn’t want to live in Spain with this fantastic weather???
– The immigration process and Bureaucracy to be a “legal resident”
This is the biggest issued that I met when I moved to Spain initially since I was coming from outside the EU and there weren’t any regulations about “how” to become a “legal” Spanish citizen so I did not know what to do clearly, finally, after 2 years of living in Spain, the government launched a programme or amnesty to legalize all expats through their current employer, so this way the employer will sign all the necessary paperwork and would issue the employee with a contract, I was lucky enough to convince my employer of doing this and she accepted. When I got my first permit residence was such a relief! as I was very overwhelmed for this reason and limited to work only in roles not well paid such as babysitting.
Normally to become a Spanish resident is a hard, lengthy process but again I am talking since my experience and perhaps things have become easier for people moving in the last 5 years, it also depends from which country you are coming from, I can’t advice you more than offering my personal experience. The best place to start is by asking about residence requirements at the National Police offices in Malaga or your consulate before you move there, so that you can bring all the necessary documentation with you.
As you can see not all was hunky dory but with effort and patience I got my Spanish citizenship and here I am! moved to the UK 5 years ago due to work opportunities but always missing the marvellous, beautiful city of Malaga
– The work culture
Depending on the season and multiple factors you can find roles in the Tourism and Hospitality sector all year round, the work culture is very lay back in Spain, the normal schedule is to work in the mornings until 2pm and then come back to work at 5.30 if you work in the Hospitality or retail sector. I used to work in a variety of restaurants in the city centre where I met a lot of interesting people and even could improve my English before coming to the UK, so worth a try to make friends quicker, even if you don’t know Spanish it would be a good start, that’s my advice.
During the time, I was living in Malaga I met lots of foreigners doing freelance work, so they worked in various fields such as IT or translation, personally, I found this sort of work is perfect to live in a city like Malaga as the city doesn’t have a wide variety of Industries, working from your laptop can pay very well if you have skills to do so considering that Malaga is not yet an expensive city to live in.
– The cultural differences between North and South Spain (openness, food, traditions)
It is well known that the south of Spain is more laid back than the north in everything I would say, the north of Spain is more conservative and not as much as friendly than the south, not that I want to offend anyone from the north though but that was my impression whilst living in a small town few hours from Barcelona. In Malaga people usually greet you and treat you as a friend from the beginning, and event greet you with kisses on both cheeks, which I found quite sweet and lovely.
The food is also unique in both regions, for example a traditional pasta based dish in Catalunya is the “Fideua” while in Malaga to be exact has “Espetos” which are small fishes on a stick grilled outdoors on a boat at the beach. There is a wide range of gastronomy in the south and in the north but they are both very different from each other.
If I were told this before going to Spain, perhaps, I would have chosen to move to the South sooner to be honest and would have appreciated more my experience in the north, but I am glad that I can write about my experience and share it with you all and hope you find it useful and valuable.
Have you ever been to Spain?
What were your most and least likes during your visit?
Do you think you can share your experience with us?
Any Spanish slang words you learnt? Would love to learn more slang so please SHARE!!!
**List of words I still remember and found amusing 🙂 :
– Pecha: a lot of something, for example: I have eaten a lot >pecha
– Quillo/a: Used as a way of saying hello to a friend, normally a person you would know well, don’t say it to your boss or you might get told off!! For example: Hi what’s up quillo? (for a male friend) quilla (for female friends)
– Guarro/a: an insult or to refer to someone when they have not shower or look dirty, you will hear it also among friends as an informal and light way of insult, be careful to not say it to someone you have just met coz it can be very offensive depending on the context.
-Mijilla: a bit of something, normally when eating a meal, Spaniards would say that they want just a bit, for example of rice, or a bit of soup. For example: I want to try your pudding but only *mijilla
-Guarrito: This term is used in situations that is required a tool to fix something that has been broken or needs fixation, so for example, if there is a leaking pipe in the kitchen you may hear “I need the “guarrito”
Photo above: Views of Malaga city, last summer 2016.
We all had had periods when we crave to go and see a new place, whether is to unwind and enjoy some days off from the normal routine or do something different that does not involve the same things repeatedly, such as going out for meals with friends or staying at home on the weekends watching TV.
And because I have very itchy feet and cannot stand routine, I am always thinking about how many places are there to be discovered and hidden gems that are not known to most tourists. It brings me joy, satisfaction and what is more important “memories” to have when I grow older and can’t jump on a bus or plane, lol is not that I am getting old but one day for sure I will and all of us!
It is a common belief that to go on a holiday you need a lot of money to pay for expensive hotels, transport fares, and once you are there, pay for food and entertainment. I could not agree more to disagree with those who think that to go abroad you need to have a huge amount of money. Well, let me tell you that is not true if you learn how to do it the proper way, like booking in advance tickets (at least 8 weeks in advance) or be willing to spend few nights at a low-cost accommodation such as hostels or B&Bs or even look for temporary summer jobs that allow you to explore the area in your free time.
I have had the opportunity to visit in England 4 beautiful places on a budget and depending on where you live you can plan to go on a day trip or go on a weekend getaway:
I visited this waterfront, lively city few years ago and I love it, it was only a day trip but It was really relaxing to have a wander around its sandy beach and “the Canoe Lake”, which is well known as a swan’s nursery during the winter as tons of swans reunite at the lake looking for security and food. Canoe lake and the beach were the highlight of the day for me besides the views from the cafes and shops.
It goes without a saying but I think I must mention that the best time of the year for a day trip to Portsmouth is during the summer, as you will enjoy more time outdoors walking and exploring this amazing waterfront city. Within 3-4 hours you will have enough time to wander around the beach, stop to have a drink looking at the sea, visit the beautiful Canoe Lake and if you have more time you can go to the museum, which I did not have the chance to see but will visit if I am in Portsmouth again.
Tip: if you bring your own packed lunch for a picnic on the beach even better to enjoy the breeze from the sea!
- Newquay, Cornwall
Sometimes taking up on new job opportunities can lead to get to know unfamiliar places and enjoy a day trip to the nearest towns, that was my case this weekend, as I am working temporarily in Plymouth teaching English, besides working writing my lifestyle and inspiration travel blog.
Newquay is a seaside town in Cornwall, South West England, two hours from Plymouth and 5 hours from London by car. This lovely seaside town is famous for its Cornish clotted cream, fudge treats but it is also a great destination for surfers and whoever wants a quick getaway in summer. Newquay is known as one of the best family destination holidays every year so bearing that in mind I think I have been quite lucky to have had the chance to go there.
The best spots in Newquay were the beach and although it was cloudy and windy it was lovely to contemplate the sea from the cliffs getting some fresh breeze. The local shops were also worth a visit, I saw lot of sweet treats, Cornish clotted cream and a wide range of marmalades and quirky jams with Champagne and other liquors.
I also enjoyed a cuppa after shopping with my colleague at a family run cafe which name is “Bunters” It was absolutely smashing! the vegan sausages and mushrooms, the tea, the staff were lovely not to say perfect, so I am happy to recommend genuinely this local family cafe to all of you if you ever visit Newquay in Cornwall.
Both pictures: Tolcarne Beach, Newquay.
Broadstairs Beach, Kent.
Having a drink with a local friend from Broadstairs, Robin 🙂
This stunning coast line town is one of my favourites to visit as It is not only very close to where I live but also one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Kent, England. It is only 1.5 hours from London and 30 mins from Canterbury by train, so It is a perfect excuse for a staycation all year round.
It has a few local shops and restaurants, The Royal Albion which is traditionally a pub and a hotel is an excellent spot to have a drink whilst looking at the magnificent sea. I usually go to Broadstairs once a month to visit a friend that lives there and we usually have a drink at the Albion and then we go for a wander around town.Broadstairs is a precious gem in Kent, an unmissable spot to unwind and enjoy time off.
Picture above: Canterbury Cathedral
Without a doubt, Canterbury is the most beautiful town I have ever been before, I don’t want to come across as cheesy lol but the true is I cannot remember any other town that has captivated me like Canterbury has had. With its beautiful architecture, old houses and buildings, it is eye-catching for tourists and locals all year round.
Canterbury is based on the Great Stour River, and It is famous for the stunning Canterbury Cathedral, the University of Kent, the Canterbury tales museum, not to say is the birthplace of a very famous good-looking actor, who can guess who I am talking about??
Yeah, correct! Orlando Bloom!
During a day trip to Canterbury you will enjoy a wide range of shops and excellent local restaurants where to eat, during the night clubs to go out for drinks, but if you prefer to sit under the sunshine, then head to the Dane John Gardens or Westgate Gardens, both situated within walking distance of the main train stations:
Canterbury East and West.
I have lots of memories in this cosy, beautiful town such as wanders around its streets in the afternoon or even during the night, nights out at several clubs, picnics at the Dane John Gardens and at the Westgate Gardens, volunteering at the local Citizens advice bureau, overall Canterbury it is a very special place and although I don’t know yet If I would live here forever, I will always have a place in my heart for it.
I have some many pictures that I would love to share with you and recommend places worth a visit or better said: unmissable gems in Canterbury
Canterbury Cathedral is an iconic, majestic landmark that attracts lots of tourists every year to the city, it makes Canterbury to stand out from other towns or villages and attracts lots of tourists all year round.
The student’s graduations are very famous and magical that I bet every student is looking forward to it, once I was invited to a friend’s ceremony and wished that one day is me who is graduating there, seriously it is an unforgettable moment like in Harry Potter movies!
Picture above: taken at the Great Stour River, Canterbury, Kent.
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