Our decision to move out to our Spanish home was made in November 2016. In some ways we had become complacent and almost comfortable with the idea of Calle Jacaranda always being a holiday home. By that time we had become grandparents and I was teaching four days a week, trying to grow a business and learn Spanish in the evenings and was spending the fifth day with my daughter and her growing brood. Suddenly I was beginning to feel my age, it was pretty knackering! On top of this, to continue keeping our two homes would have meant having to work for many more years. Walt had already worked for 44 and although I had had gaps where I taught part time and brought up the kids I was feeling the strain being experienced by many in my profession by that time. That’s putting it mildly. I love teaching but things had changed so much and the pressure on teachers had taken me to the point where I was no longer enjoying my job nor feeling confident in my skills. Ridiculous after 40 years of looking after and working with young people, never the less I felt less like a wise old owl with years of experience to share and more like a daft old bat whose skills were out of the ark.
We had had a great adventure that summer, flying to Seville and travelling by bus to Granada and then home to Calle Jacaranda. We then took our motor bike to Denia in the Valencia region and stayed at the most amazing hotel, Los Angeles right on the beach. It was bliss. Then back to work! The Scottish winter loomed long, grey and wet! In November Walt came out to the house and picked up our Suzuki 1250. Big blue Suze! He rode up to Valencia for the Moto GP and had a fantastic weekend, then took the bike home and flew back to Edinburgh. Arriving home feeling great, his mood quickly changed after a few days back at the dark satanic! My job was stressful and hard but his had become monotonous and dangerously boring. Nothing worse for the human psyche. At lease I knew my job had a point and purpose, the kids. Despite the box ticking and nonsense piled on us from on high, the pupils were still our top priority and made getting up in the morning just about bearable. For Walt, a skilled tradesman and perfectionist, there was no joy left in what he was doing. He was living for the weekends and of course the holidays. I know that probably 80% + of the developed world do this but is it really any way to live? It just came out , I heard myself saying ‘ we have a home in Spain where winter is pleasant, we can walk and cycle all year round. Christmas day is now traditionally a hike up Pico de Águila with a picnic and mini Cavas at the top! (We have done this for several years now , spending christmas holidays in Murcia and abandoning the shops and commercial version back in Britain.) We can welcome friends and family and spend quality time with them instead of always rushing and squeezing every thing in on weekends or holidays. I will miss the bairns and grand bairns like mad but it’s only a 3 hour flight away and at the moment by the time I do see them, work has wrung me out and I don’t feel that I have the energy that I should have…. ‘ Blooming Nora … I was a tad long winded but you get the gist…. let’s retire and move to Spain. Let’s be brave and impulsive. We were when we bought the house and made our original plans… abandon the comfort zone and go for it!
We are not alone there are thousands of expats out there, I have retired friends here in Spain, in France, Bulgaria and Thailand. You may be one of the trail blazers who has gone before us. We are newbies! We handed in our retirement notices in the new year of 2017, Walt retired at the end of January and I said good bye to my pupils and colleagues at Ross High in August.
If you are an old hand, what made you jump? Why did you take the leap and what have you learned, loved and wouldn’t change? I have spoken to a few retirees on the coast near us and not one is running back to Blighty despite what the tabloid press would have you believe! We decided that we wanted to get off the hamster wheel , ditch at least one of our mortgages, pay off car and bank loans, improve our Spanish , maintain brain cells and find a simpler, healthier way of life. After lots of phone calls and emails to our pension providers, chats to estate agents and on line research about living permanently in Spain we felt ready to go. The adventure started in February 2017 with a fabulous road trip in our old Vauxhall – Victor the disco dashboard was on the road!