Challenges and Affirmations on Moving to Spain

15 Apr
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View from my window of husband tying his wife’s shoe

Of course it rained today. As I said in an earlier post, since I no longer have a car on which to rain after I wash it, it seems like whenever I wash my laundry and hang it out to dry, it rains. On a positive note, the rain gives me a head start on cleaning the black window grates that adorn my windows. While cleaning them, I observed a husband lovingly tying his wife’s shoe.

The rain reminds me of a puzzling observation. Here in Altea (Spain), many of the newer sidewalks are mad of lovely, shiny white tiles, but when it rains, everyone walks in the streets because they are as slick as ice. When growing up in Nebraska, while it seemed everyone else would glide for fun along the icy sidewalks, I would walk with extreme caution yet was the only one who fell. So I am not taking any chances here.

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My now clean black ornamental window grate

The rain seemed to reflect my most recent mood in dealing with what I thought would be the simple task of paying for my cell phone/internet/television channels. Initially, I could not get service because I did not have a Spanish bank account, even though I had credit cards and a local residential residency card. The local “Movistar” representative spent several weeks trying to get me service. Just after the service was finally confirmed, the installers arrived within a two hours and very quickly and efficiently got all three services up and running. I didn’t get a bill for almost two months, and when I did, I went to the local Movistar office to pay the bill. I couldn’t pay there; I had to either pay at the bank (huge line) or the post office, yes, the post office. I successfully paid the first meager bill of 6.24 Euros, and was surprised at how easily it went at the post office.

Just afterwards, I started getting text and phone messages on my cell that service would be suspended if I did not make a payment of 30 some Euros. I had not received a bill, so I went to the Movistar office and was advised to go to the post office or bank to pay. Long story short, without a bill, I did not have the account number to pay it, as it seems that there are different account numbers for the cell and internet/tv. So today the whole of my day will be devoted to trying to find an account number for the latter. Frustrated, I realized there was nothing more that I could do today, especially given the approaching close of the banks and post office and the close of businesses for the three hour siesta.

I decided to head for a locals café for an inexpensive menu del dia, only 8 Euros, where they place a newly opened bottle of wine on your table from which one can drink as much as one wants. En route, I heard a man addressing me. When I turned around, he handed me the 55 Euros and prior Movistar bill, which had fallen out of my pocket, where I had stuffed it after leaving the bank in frustration. This act of kindness caused my mood to suddenly improve.


Newly arrived National Geographic World map

Then, as I type this, I had a serendipitous delivery of the 125th National Geographic world map I ordered from Amazon in Spain. I admit I am a nerdy “cartophile.” All three of my adult sons are similarly disposed. Before ordering, I checked to make sure it was current by looking for the youngest country, South Sudan, on the map. This delivery and the anticipation of spending time with my new map has temporarily eased my bill paying distress. Living in Spain, it seems best to order from a Spanish company as I learned when I asked my son to add some condiments and spices to one of the two boxes I had shipped here from California. These were items that I have been unable to find where I live in Altea, like red chili flakes, Vietnamese fish sauce, tamari, etc. I thought it best to leave them sealed so as not to cause any suspicion about their contents, but that assumption ran afoul when I received a demand to provide a detailed list of the contents with a receipt for the value so they could tax me on the imported items. I did not have a receipt, so estimated the cost to be 2 to 3 Euros for about 15 to 20 items. I do not understand why, but I had to pay a total fee of over 50 Euros to get them to deliver my package, but almost two months since it was mailed, I have yet to see it.

U.S. taxes are due today. I have been unsuccessful at having my son forward my 1099s needed for filing my taxes, but found out that if living overseas, one is granted an automatic 60 day extension. I only hope I read that right.

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The sun comes out to shine on the iconic Altea church

However, these challenges and pleasures are all part and parcel of transitioning to a new country. They are lessons is patience, humility, and thankfulness. And the rain just stopped.

2 Responses to “Challenges and Affirmations on Moving to Spain”

  1. cloudoflace April 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    Wow now that was an extremely informative post for me. I’m moving to Madrid next month, and even though I’m so looking forward to it, those little things that you don’t know unless you live there do intimidate me!
    I loved your post, especially you note about the couple, and how humbling it is to start a new life in a new country from scratch 🙂


  2. Aileen Glendon July 16, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Hello, everyone! I am moving to Spain too and I am so excited! I can’t wait to leave London but still I am nervous. There are so many questions in my head. I hope that everything will be all right when I come in Spain!

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