When we accepted our first expat assignment, I orchestrated the move, while my husband went ahead to start his new job in Paris. When our shipment arrived months later with only a forth of our furniture in tow, my husband was baffled. As he desperately scanned the living room for a chair to sit on, he asked incredulously, “Why didn’t you bring all of our furniture?”
Europe as the playground
As the consequences of his not sharing in the coordination of our international move finally hit home, I gave my husband an answer that would define nearly a decade of expatriate life: “As an expat, Europe is now my playground. A person’s home should reflect not only who they are, but where they’ve been and where their going.” By bringing only our favourite possessions, I had given us room to grow into the people we’d become through living abroad.
Lacking a dinner table as well as the china to set on it, we began searching the flea markets of Europe, letting our travel choices dictate our décor.
“Darling,” I rang my husband’s office one day, “We need a buffet and I’ve just read an article on the selection of antique side boards available in the Costa Blanca. Shall we go to Spain this Easter to see the procession and stop by an excellent source for richly carved chestnut chests?” Weekends were passed ‘flea-marketing’ in the French countryside as we filled our home, and stomachs, while sampling the regions’ specialities. Along with our expanding waistlines, we’d return to our 6eme Parisian apartment with spoils such as a shabby chateau canapé, which groans when sat upon and Napoleon III side-tables lacquered and adorned with mother of pearl embellishments.
7 October 2008
Expatica's Getting Started section will provide practical information on how you can open a bank account, exchange your driving licence, improve your Spanish, and more.
Here's a guide to an extensive list of groups and clubs in Madrid for expats, from sports groups to social and family gatherings.
A brief introduction to our Tax section for Spain, from help with inheritance tax to accounting advice.
Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in Spain, from what to ask the experts to opening a Spanish bank account.