Expat Voices: Michael St John-Hall on living in Jaén
Despite the frustrating health services and bad service in Spain, there is nothing this British expat misses about home.
Name: Michael St. John-Hall
City of residence: Begíjar, Jaén
Date of birth: 12th April 1943
Civil status: Single
Reason for moving to Spain: An easier, less stressful way of living
Lived in Spain since: July 2005
What was your first impression of Spain?
Frightening – bureaucracy.
What do you think of Spanish food?
Now that I am used to it, I love it.
What do you think of the shopping in Spain?
Restricted to few choices.
What do you appreciate most about living in Spain?
The weather and freedom to move about without fear.
What do you find most frustrating about living in Spain?
The health service and bad manners.
What puzzles you about Spanish culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
The manana culture is alive and well. I miss absolutely nothing.
How does the quality of life in Spain compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
I have only ever lived in the UK.
If you could change anything about Spain, what would it be?
The noise – get rid of it. Make laws the same throughout Spain and not the hotch-potch depending on which Provincia or Junta you are in.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Give it at least six months, and learn the language. Bear in mind that the Spanish taught via language courses is not necessarily the Spanish you will hear, the Spanish are totally unable to talk slowly making understanding very difficult.
If you would like to share your perspective about life in Spain and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorES@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line.
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