Irish expats Living in Spain, Interviewing M and S

Published: 11 Oct at 10 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Spain
M and S are both widely-travelled most of which was done before they met and got married a few years ago in London. S has visited India, Russia, China and Thailand for extended stays and work while M has taken more of the city life route, from New York to Venice. S is from Ireland where she previously enjoyed a quiet life outside Dublin while M has always been a London boy at heart and it's this challenge – to live a country life in Spain – that they are both now experiencing with their two cats. They are keeping track of what they get up to on their blog called Con Jamón Spain (see listing here)

Here's their interview...

Where are you originally from?

In which country and city are you living now?
Spain in Andalucia

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
3 months with a stay of up to a year, possibly longer.

Why did you move and what do you do?
To see if Spain is a place to live - and to keep an eye out for any properties that may be of interest to buy.

Did you bring family with you?
My partner, M. We're largely anonymous and haven't given our names out. Easier to do reviews etc.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Very easy - although language is proving a problem.We need to seriously begin to properly learn the language.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes, the main reason for this is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the y speak the same language. Give it a year or two and it'll hopefully change.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Órgiva itself isn't the prettiest town but walk into el campo and it's gorgeous. That said, the people are very friendly here and there's a thriving alternative community - and has been for decades. This both attracts and puts off people. The views here are amazing in the Guadalfeo valley, like the massive Sierra de Lujar, and the area is rich in history from the Moors, and their subsequent expulsion, to the Civil War. We are 50 minutes from Granada and the Sierra Nevada and 30 minutes to the Costa Tropical with great places like Salobreña and Herradura.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
For now, the change of pace of life, the weather and the food. We're fitter too as we walk pretty much everywhere - including three-hour hikes to Lanjaron.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
About 10-15% cheaper, generally when compared to the UK - and about 25% when compared to Ireland.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Not being able to escape ex-pats, snakes and mosquitos. But hey, what do we expect coming here?!

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Rent for a decent amount of time (a year or more) and make sure you're with someone you want to be with (unless you're here alone). You leave behind friends, family and work and it's a big gap to fill at times.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
None really - maybe conversing with the local Spanish.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Don't simply move here without checking it out
  2. Walk and get fit - don't rely on the car all the time (unless you need to)
  3. Read other blogs - there are some great ones out there run by passionate people
  4. Learn the language - or at least try your best to communicate
  5. Avoid spending too much time with ex-pats

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
con jamon spain is alight-hearted look at two people's lives in Spain. It covers useful guides, reviews, maps, experiences and observations and what it was like to leave 'home' behind, for a while at least. It avoids the 'another photo of [person X] in front of [insert monument] - style of writing. There are too many blogs like that.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Contact details are on our blog or via Twitter too: (see links below)

About the author

Expat Blog ListingS is an Irish expat living in Spain. Blog description: Some time in Andalucia (by con jamón spain) A couple from London now living in Órgiva, southern Spain for at least a year. About our experiences but also a guide to the town and local area - and other parts of Andalucia.
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