Expat Voices: Deborah Fletcher on living in Murcia

Expat Voices: Deborah Fletcher on living in Murcia

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The Spanish mañana, mañana attitude is what continues to charm and exasperate British expat Debs Fletcher.

Name: Deborah Fletcher (Debs)
Nationality: British
City of residence: Bullas, Murcia
Date of birth: 11 November 1958
Civil status: Married
Occupation: Author of Bitten by Spain
Reason for moving to Spain: Where do I start….?
Lived in Spain since: 2003
What was your first impression of Spain? 
Beautiful scenery, beautiful weather (how wrong could I be at times??), hospitable people; a feeling of having come home.
What do you think of Spanish food? 
I love it! I was born in error in the UK with a genetic resonance for olives, garlic and red wine! I only wish they were more adventurous with the oodles of fresh veg they grow here (as in I wish they’d serve them, instead of merely making broth and chucking them out).
What do you think of shopping in Spain? 
Well, I hate shopping anywhere, so Spain is fine by me. Shop staff are generally unhelpful and surly, but then I don’t plan on being their best friend…
What do you appreciate most about living in Spain? 
The relaxed pace of life: the mañana, mañana attitude.
What do you find most frustrating about living in Spain? 
The relaxed pace of life: the mañana, mañana attitude.
What puzzles you about Spanish culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
I don’t understand how so many of the Spanish get by without understanding any of the rules – ask a Spaniard advice on a procedure here and they will have a wild stab at helping out but really don’t seem to have much of a clue. This is probably hindered further by the fact that the authorities move the goal posts with monotonous regularity…
I miss seeing my son whenever I like. I miss walking along a verdant canal with the dogs. I miss the fast, furious and aggressive daily routines (not one bit).
How does the quality of life in Spain compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in? 
I don’t see much of a difference where material things are concerned – there is a general availability of all things that I would have had in the UK (although prices may not be in line). But personally? 
I am living as I want to live and could not have done in the UK – with space around me, fresh air, friendly part-time neighbours, a large and motley crew of animals and a peace within that I lacked before I arrived. My quality of life is incomparably better. 
If you could change anything about Spain, what would it be? 
Clear and unchanging bureaucratic processes in line with the rest of Europe. And I would give all the large national companies here a swift kick in the pants, too. 
What advice would you give to a newcomer? 
As anyone who has lived here would probably echo – do your homework. And learn the language!!!
Would you like to add anything that we haven’t addressed in the questionnaire?
I would like to expand on the language point. It is unbearably arrogant to decide to make a home in a new country and then expect the natives to communicate in your language.
I know it is not an easy process to learn a new language, and fluency in a second tongue is an elusive Grail. However, I really think all expats should make a decent effort – and even a little basic Spanish can go a long way here. It is very much appreciated, and will engender a much more positive response!
26 May 2009

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