So now that the dust has settled just what is the reality of living abroad. I can, of course, only speak for myself and my own experiences and emotions but I was surprised at the turmoil that you go through.
On the 26th November 2012 we could be found travelling toward Folkestone with our newly acquired left hand drive car packed with the necessities that were essential for our first few months of living and working from a rented apartment in Playa de Muro, Alcudia. As we drove along we were elated. The dream that we had been talking about for all those years was coming true.
No more getting up at 5.30 in the morning and commuting to London. My work from now on would be from my own ‘office’ in my Mallorcan home.
The drive down through France was uneventful save for waking up and feeling rough (a cold virus that had been hiding in the background was about to emerge) and we arrived at Playa de Muro on the 28th November bright and early in the morning.
I suppose the ‘high’ lasted for a few weeks when it was more like being on holiday than living here and then the reality of trying to get everything organised hit home.
Emotions would fluctuate between frustration at not knowing where to go for anything and not being able to speak with enough fluency to make yourself sound like anything more than a child to downright depression when I would wake in the mornings and think ‘take me home’.
The enormity of all the departments you needed to contact and the forms that needed to be filled in while still trying to hold down a job seemed an obstacle that was just too high to get over.
But get over I did. With the help of the company that I found (as mentioned on my relocation costs page) the pressure was lifted somewhat as I could leave all the documentation and form filling to them.
As the months went by I got used to not being able to pop down to such a such shop and I started to find my Spanish equivalent. Whether it was a little boutique that I loved in the Port or certain sites online that deliver I managed to continue here almost the same as in the UK.
But one big problem was the isolation I felt and I never expected that. I often joked that we would only be a couple of hours away and it is true. However add to that the expense of flights, taxis or car park fees, getting someone to look after any animals and the lack of annual holiday entitlement it is not as easy at it sounded.
For a start I have a grandson that doesn’t know me as he was only a baby when we left and we have all the other grandchildren that we now never see. My mother is not getting any younger and cannot manage the flight and our children do not have the money for the flights with all their children or are just plain scared of flying.
As far as we are concerned I am governed by my holiday allowance and our finances are basic pension plus one wage. So we have to be careful too. Add to that our little rescue dog Freddy who has severe separation anxiety and would need to visit with us which involves ferries, trains, travelling by road etc it means that we cannot visit at the drop of a hat.
But as I take Freddy for his walks I look at the scenery – the lakes, the mountains, the beaches, blue skies and the bars that allow you to bring your dog I think what my options would be. Grey skies, narrow roads and loads of traffic and I am split.
For a peaceful, safer and warmer place to live then I pick Mallorca. For family I would pick the UK.
Then I wonder about our health. I have been having problems with my eye in recent months and I do know that eventually a cataract will need to be removed. I hope my Spanish has improved enough to converse with doctors and hospitals by that time and of course the eventual outcome that one of us will be left on our own. I do hope that we will not be entirely alone and that we will have made some friends.
As far as my work is concerned I am still a team member but I am also not. I am not there to know the day to day goings on and the new accounts that come in. I am not privy to plans and the future. I am an employee but an absent one. As new people are employed they do not know me. Those that I trained are now advancing into managerial positions and have leapfrogged over me. I am almost retired but not quite! It is a strange situation to be in.
So to summarise I would say that there are moments of depression, isolation, not knowing where you are going or what you are doing. Times of feeling relaxed and times of missing people. Then there are times of contentment with your surroundings and the laid back easy way of life.
All in all there is no Nirvana or Xanadu, there is just life. Life is an experience and that is what I am doing at the moment. Experiencing it!