What Living in Spain Has Meant to Me

It’s been just over 3 months now that Jon and I have been living in Spain and our family and friends have been curious to know; if living here is everything we thought it would be, if we are glad we came, if we are going back to Australia and how my Spanish is going. I’ll attempt to answer these questions from my point of view.

To start with, the hands down best part of being here in Spain is  not having to work. When I left Australia I knew I needed a break from my job, but the longer I’ve been away the more I realise how necessary this respite has been for my body, mind and spirit. Waking up each day and being able to do whatever I feel like doing has been nourishing for me on so many levels. It’s given me the mental space to crystallize what I value in life and how I want to live the rest of it.

Being close to nature and living an uncluttered, uncomplicated life has given me the most joy here. More and more I dislike having stuff and things. Possessions that need to be carted around from place to place. Jon and I have reduced our belongings dramatically over the past few years (which made it so much easier to move to Spain for a while) but now I feel we could cull even more when we get back to Autralia. It feels really liberating to have less stuff.

So what is it actually like living here in Sevilla province? The first word that comes to mind is ‘hot’. The average temperature since arriving has been 40° Celsius. Lunch in Spain is taken at 2.30pm and people generally stay inside and away from the heat until 6.30pm. At 8:30pm the streets come alive with activity. Neighbours, friends and family gather in their local squares, cafe’s and parks to enjoy the outdoors and socialise. It doesn’t start to get dark until about 10.00pm at which time families have their dinner. It’s very common here in southern Spain for families to be still socialising until 1.00 – 2.00 am in the morning, splashing around in their swimming pools and playing music (as if it were 8.30pm).

What do I enjoy most? The simple things like cooking a meal with local produce, watering the garden, listening to music, enjoying a nice cold cervesita in the afternoon, splashing around in our Cousin’s swimming pool, walking into the village to buy groceries, reading a novel and doing the laundry. Oh and I’ve also taken a liking to a particular grape that is used to make Sherry called Pedro Ximenez. Our Cousins now call me “Senora Ximenez”, that’s why in the photo above I’m standing in front of a Perdo Ximenes sign fanning myself : ).

I’m very much the housewife  (ama de casa, in español) here which is quite foreign for me. And you know what? I like it! Jon loves it too. He’s never been so well looked after in his life!

What I also love about taking this mini-retirement is that I feel my physical and mental health has really improved. I’ve slowed down, I feel calmer, my chronic sneezing has just about diminished, I’m starting to meditate each day, and I hardly need deodorant because I don’t “stress-sweat” (that meaning stinky underarm sweat due to stressful situations).

How is my Spanish going? Well my ‘shopping Spanish’ is fairly good in that I can communicate basic things like expressing that I like something or asking for things in different sizes, colours, styles etc. For example when I was in the city a few days ago I approached a woman in the street and said, “Me gusta mucho tu vestido, dónde comprarlo?“. When I’m able to come out with a sentence of more than two words I’m pretty pleased with myself. Joining a gymnasium (Curves) was also a good move as far as developing my language skills. I quickly learned how to say words such as; strong, fast, slowly, let’s go, change, names of colours and numbers. Our Cousin Mayte has also been instrumental in my language development. Mayte talks to me slowly and clearly (in pigeon Spanish I imagine) and this has been so helpful.

Are we coming back? Yes our return flight is in mid October.

What do I think I’ll miss when I go home? The Spanish culture, the architecture, our Cousins Mayte and Pepe who have been so generous with their time and resources. Being so close to the enchanting city of Sevilla. Paying only €2.50 (or less) for a cerveza & tapa, being in Europe, the food of course and living a simple life.

What do I look forward to doing when I go home? Catching up with friends, going to the movies (and hearing it in English), Springtime on the Gold Coast and planning our next adventure ; -)

Hasta proximo amigos. Besos, Dani

11 Comments on “What Living in Spain Has Meant to Me

  1. Muchos gracias Mel. You’ve encouraged me too! I was starting to think no one was reading anymore! Looking forward to seeing you to. Have you received a postcard from us?

  2. wow! thanks so much Dani for that insight – you make me want to do it sooner rather than later. Although, really looking forward to seeing you again upon your return – our place for dinner xx Mel

  3. Linda thank you for your encouraging words and for taking the time to describe the candle burning ritual. It sounds really interesting and I’m open to trying it out. Any reason I would start it on Wednesday? Is there anything special about that day? Feel free to get back to me here or via email.

  4. Here is a candle burning ritual that will ‘grant’ you a wish for abundance. If you want to have eg enough money so you can extend your ‘semi retirement’ then try this one

    Commencing on Wednesday do this ritual for 9 consecutive days.
    Burn a green candle and repeat 5 times the following:

    O Money Lord, Hear My Plea.
    Look My Way, Look My Way.
    Send your Abundance to Me.

    This ritual will have added effect if you place some paper money (say $5 to $50 whatever as it is representative) and your hand written note saying you want eg; xx time for your retirement where money will be forthcoming to cover for the length of time you want. Place these next to your candle burning and leave as long as the candle burns and for the duration – 9 days.

    You will obviously need several candles for the 9 days but if you need to blow out a candle because you are going out it is OK to relight for the next day. Just try and have the candle stay lite as long as possible

  5. Love your posting. stay semi retired – just sounds TOO good to give up plus you look fantastic – hair products and all. Just ‘manefest’ you
    remaining in semi retirement and the universe will provide. I mean it. I have a candle burning ritual and ‘spell’ that may help you. Stay ‘posted’ and I will send to you.
    love Linda xo

  6. So well put Mariana and I really hope I can continue living a simple, uncomplicated life when I return. I have so many little ideas bubbling away for when I return. One of them is that I want to learn about our indigenous herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, and how to cook with them. I’ve been asked so many times about Australian foods and it’s such a shame that we can not name anything interesting when we have so many interesting indigenous foods.

  7. Where there is a will there is a way I believe Di. Jon had talked about doing this for years but no plans were ever made to make it happen. Then one day in December 2010 out of frustration I said to Jon “are we going to go to Spain or what?” That’s all we needed to get the ball rolling. Jon replied saying “OK, April 2012 we’ll go”. To do something like this is more a mental challenge than anything else, you need to believe that somehow it’s possible. In a practical sense we made it happen by:
    A) Creating opportunities to work remotely.
    B) Renting our apartment while away so the mortgage could be covered.
    C) Not spending money on unessential items – and thus saving money.
    D) Going to a place that is inexpensive to live (e.g. weekly rental for 3BR homes are around $120 AU here, plus it’s really inexpensive to eat out).

  8. Hello lovely lady. It sounds like you’ve had your Under the Tuscan Sun adventure, just in another country. Loving the less clutter attitude as I can fully relate!! More clutter means more stress and it’s just not worth it. You sound and look calm, relaxed and the simple life certainly suits you. It is as we should live I believe and the average Australian hasn’t a clue. The simple European sunny life that is – the pleasure of simply walking to the markets or a continental grocery store, the cooking of fresh produce and taking ones time in doing so. There are too many factors here to write about, but I think you well understand and appreciate. Enjoy and value your remaining time there as it’ll all be over before you know it. Then you’ll get home and wonder if it was all a dream – best part – it wasn’t! Mariana xx

  9. HI Dani

    you do looked relaxed after the last three months, so much so, you look as if you have had a mini facelift. It’s amazing what a few relaxing months and doing the things that matter to you most ,do for your body and soul. I think that’s what everyone wants to do. But how ???? they are all saying!
    Looking forward to more news
    Cheers Di xx

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