Expat Voices: Sandra Piddock on living in Algorfa
Another British expat shares her love for Spain’s culture and cuisine, and frustration with the ‘Manana Syndrome’.
Name: Sandra Piddock
City of residence: Algorfa, near Torrevieja, Alicante Province
Date of birth: 9 June 1952
Civil status: Married
Reason for moving to Spain: Health reasons, plus rising cost of living in UK. It’s something we’ve talked about for many years
Lived in Spain since: March 2008
What was your first impression of Spain?
Friendly people, friendly and varied country. It felt like home straight away.
What do you think of Spanish food?
I love it! Spanish cuisine relies on quality ingredients, cooked simply to bring out the flavours. And it’s such a healthy way of eating. I could live on tapas and paella if I had to.
What do you think of the shopping in Spain?
I love the markets and I love the range of food available in the supermarkets. I use small independent shops more here than in the UK, as they don’t rip you off. I find things like furniture and household goods can be quite expensive, though.
What do you appreciate most about living in Spain?
The Spanish attitude to life. They enjoy living life to the full, but they manage to do it without interfering with other people’s enjoyment.
What do you find most frustrating about living in Spain?
It’s so difficult to get things done. The ‘Manana Syndrome’ isn’t just a rumour, it’s alive and well!
What puzzles you about Spanish culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
The obsession with bureaucracy. I just don’t get it. I miss the green fields of England, but of course, you need lots of rain for lush green countryside, and I certainly don’t miss that!
How does the quality of life in Spain compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
Life in Spain is so much more laid back, everyone has time to talk. Of course, when the weather’s good, everyone’s happy. And I love the way the family is so important here.
If you could change anything about Spain, what would it be?
I wouldn’t presume to try and change anything about my host country, but if you really pushed me, it would be nice if Spanish drivers would give us some sort of clue about their intentions on roundabouts!
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Learn the language, and fit in with Spanish life and culture. Don’t try and recreate England in the sun. And don’t expect to get jobs done without a struggle. You’re in Spain now! Embrace the culture and enjoy life as the Spanish do.
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