Kelly McLachlan

Kelly McLachlan
Life As It Is...

Thursday, 12 May 2016

From the Costa Blanca to the Sunshine Coast

Having lived in Spain for more than a decade I was used to the Spanish way of life, of course.  Moving back to the Costa Del Sol of good old England was indeed a bit of a shock to the system, and I'm not just talking about the weather.  The differences are HUGE. 
I'll start with everybody's mate, Joe Public.  While it has been amazing to catch up with old friends I had left behind all those years ago, not everyone is so friendly.  In Spain, I'd wander along the street and  say "Hola" to random people and was usually greeted with a warm "Hola" back.  Here, at first, if I'd say  "Good morning" I was glared at, like a stranger in my own town.  There are of course a couple of women at the school gate who I went to school with, now dropping off the next generation at the very same school we went to.  Even now, five months down the line, there are only one or two mums (previously strangers) who will actually say hello...and the occasional dog walker.
On the other hand, us Brits in Blighty say "sorry" an awful lot.  To the point where it was starting to get right up one's nostrils.  I was at the train station one morning, and from out of nowhere a man just said "Sorry!"
"Why, what have you done, mate?"
And  I was glared at like I was strange?   
I'll move on to my next favourite  Good old fashioned pub meals.  Proper milk in your PG Tips.  A pound for a loaf of Kingsmill.  That's what I'm talking about.  Eating out is cheaper than I thought it'd be, actually.  The restaurants around here don't take the mickey with their prices and the kids are always up for a lunch out.  The pubs in Spain are cheap too, but everybody who said that moving back wouldn't be easy haven't tried it, obviously.  I know of lots of people who have moved back to the UK who are doing all right, some more than all right. 
I'm not saying it's the easiest thing I've ever done, but no way is as hard as some tried to make it out to be.  Those  expats who are happy to pay through the nose for their teabags and loaf of Jackson's bread in Iceland in Torry should ask themselves: how can they justify charging THAT much for a loaf of bread when the cost of fuel hasn't been as high as it once was?
Of course it was a struggle at first, you can't claim jobseekers allowance for 3 months, fair enough, but, the claims I made for my children all went through ok, and thankfully I didn't need jobseekers allowance because after about three months I landed myself a little part time job, the girls are happy and settled at school, I'm close to family and friends and I have all the help I need.  I'm rebuilding my social life, I'm going away for the odd weekend, and I'm really glad I'm back.  I made some fantastic friends in Spain and I didn't have a massive 'adios' party, I didn't even say goodbye.  (I'll even bet that some haven't even noticed I'm gone!)
Do I miss it?  I don't miss the mozzies, Spanish drivers, the sweltering nights or the crowded beaches, so what do I miss?  Well,  I miss the people, the Spanish and the expats, for all their quirks, the fiestas, the sun?  Well, you can't really compare the weather, different kind of heat, and all that, but all in all...
No regrets.