EXPAT LIVING One year later…
It’s been one year since we moved to the community of Madrid. It’s been a difficult year filled with many challenges which is normal when you move to a new place…
As soon as the initial excitement wears off the reality is so much bigger than you ever thought it would be because being an expat in a foreign world is never easy and there are always multiple challenges that go alongside it.
This time it was definitely easier because when we moved to Gran Canaria (just over 10 years ago) I couldn’t speak a word of Spanish. Now, at least, I can hold a conversation in Spanish which makes daily life much easier for me. Do I speak it fluently? No. Do I make grammatical errors? Yes, I do. Does that bother me? It used to (alot!) but I’ve learnt that I don’t have to be perfect and as long as I try my best it´s absolutely fine. Hubby told me a few years ago that many people here in Spain would love to speak English the way I speak Spanish… those words encouraged me more than he probably thought they would…
Once I started to make friends life got so much better for me. Luca has also settled well in school and told me the other day that it is nice to not be the new kid at school anymore. Last year was tough on him and he really missed his life in Gran Canaria and the people we left behind there. He also misses our dog, Chase, tremendously and use to cry every night before falling asleep… This broke my heart as a Mother and the worst was that I couldn´t do anything about it… but we hung in there and decided to trust God in the matter and like always he came through for us.
I´ve realised that life as an expat will never be that what I hoped it would be but there are so many things that make it worthit. I love the quote “so much of our happiness depends on how we choose to look at the world”. I couldn´t agree more. It´s true, life is what we make of it and even during the bad times there´s always still something (or somethings) to be thankful for.
So what has been the positive things of moving to Madrid from Gran Canaria? The number one thing for me is TRAVEL. As you guys know I love to travel. Madrid has extensive international flight and train connections and it’s also easy to hop in your car and drive to other countries for example Portugal, France and other places within Spain. Who doesn´t love a good roadtrip?!
Another thing I love about living here is all the choices of restaurants, coffee shops, shows etc available to you on a daily basis. In Gran Canaria the options were far less and we find ourselves overwhelmed at times at all the choices available…
There are also many places that you can go to for day trips that are not far from the city centre like Ávila and Brihuega. Mainland Spain is full of history and heritage and sometimes I’m left in awe of the beauty that surrounds me. In this post you can read more about my top 5 places to visit near Madrid.
I also love the fact that Madrid has four seasons but what I have realised since moving here is that Autumn and Spring seems very short in comparison to Winter and Summer. Summer is a ‘pesadilla’ which means nightmare! I hated every moment of it. We’re talking 35 – 40°C most days without any breather in between. Next Summer I don’t want to be anywhere near Madrid but rather somewhere, where we can enjoy moderate Summer temperatures and actually dare to the leave the house. If you know of a place like that, comment below 🙂
Now I know why the whole of Madrid changes into a ghost town during the month of July and August…
We live in a town called Aranjuez (did I mention that on average it was 2°C hotter here than in Madrid centre during Summer…) situated in the community of Madrid with great connections to the city centre (by train 45 minutes and by car 35 minutes). Aranjuez is absolutely beautiful and it’s an UNESCO heritage site. It’s also home to one of the royal palaces, you can read more about it here and here. Autumn in Aranjuez is magical and the reason we decided to move here a year ago. There are times where I wonder if we shouldn´t have moved closer to the centre but then I remember the crowds of people in Gran Vía and I know that we made the right decision. I mean who wouldn´t want to live in a place that has a river and palace – there´s just something about the countryside that has always called me but BUT I also need to be close to where the action is otherwise I get bored very easily. Can you relate?
So here´s a list of my pros living in Madrid
Traveling to other countries or cities is possible by car
Extensive flight connections
Loads of restaurants and coffee shops to choose from
Fantastic theater productions (one of them currently being Anastasia – which I was told is magical)
Incredible heritage, history and architecture
If you want to see what we´re up to as an expat family, you can follow me here on Instagram.
Until next time and thank you so much for stopping by!