Home Behind the Scenes An update on our move to Spain – busy times ahead!

An update on our move to Spain – busy times ahead!

by Silke Elzner

We have arrived at our next stage in our relocation to Spain. If you want to read from the start, find out here why we are moving our family to Spain. Bit by bit we are saying goodbye to our household items. It’s not a sad process, and we are totally ok with the fact that our beloved furniture will find new owners. We are not so attached to things.

However, it’s still a strenuous process. I am not sure if this is because we are dealing with Australians (remember, we are Germans and come from a different culture). Or maybe because we are dealing with humans. But so many people commit to buy and then don’t show, or show up late without notice. And that’s simply not nice. I don’t have all day to wait for people to casually rock up, in particular since we have a lot to sell.

Many things have already been carried through our front door. And while our big furniture disappears piece by piece we are sorting through the little things in life. Things that had been hidden and forgotten in storage boxes and drawers. Stationery, clothes, paperwork, toys – we are categorising everything into stuff to keep, stuff to throw away and stuff to give away. It’s like gaining control over your life again, a very liberating feeling.

A change of plans

Our plan had been to move to Spain in June. The idea was to fly down to Europe in April to check out the location, meet with schools and scout neighbourhoods. But a couple of weeks ago we received a notification that the owners of our apartment had the intention to sell. Since we are not sure when the apartment will sell we are running the risk of having to return to our home after our April trip only to have to move out immediately. A big risk for us.

We decided to terminate our lease ourselves and to leave Australia already in April. The big advantage is of course that we don’t have to travel to Europe two times with the children. It’s not like we love long-distance travel so much that we wanted to do it twice.

The only big disadvantage that come with this change of plans is that we have to host two open houses per week. This is when interested buyers can inspect the apartment. While nobody expects us to present the apartment picture-perfect we still have our pride and want to keep a presentable order. So we need to coordinate our furniture selling and sorting through things to fit between these open houses.

The last challenge that we have to deal with is the extreme heat that has hit Australia this summer. Since we live right under the roof the sun can heat up the apartment pretty badly. There is no joy in disassembling and carrying furniture in 40 degrees heat. Sleep is hard to come by when nights don’t drop below 30 degrees. As it turns out, our year of 2017 is going to be a hot one, because as soon as we turn up in Spain the summer is about to begin.

The next steps are already in progress

We have already booked ourselves into a serviced apartment which happens to be just a block from our current apartment. Of course we can only sell beds, sofas, washing machine etc when we have moved out. We also have booked a rental car because we need to sell our two family cars.

We already have terminated our lease. Two days after moving out we will have a relocation team here that will help with packing boxes and preparing our stuff for sending it overseas. It makes no sense to take everything with us that we will need on a day-to-day basis as our things will be on the move for around four months. Pots, pans and cutlery won’t necessarily make it to Spain because we need these things earlier than they would arrive. However, personal items such as books, photos, linen and toys will definitely go on the ship.

We naturally find the whole process quite exciting and we think a lot about the our new home in Spain. Luckily, there is a lot of information out there these days, and there are wonderful people on the internet that are very helpful and are happy to share their knowledge and their experiences. I can recommend http://www.expatforum.com, where we received a very warm welcome.

¿Hablas español?

It has become clear over the last couple of weeks that the children might not be in the right place if we enrol them at an international school. It is our goal to fully integrate the children into Spanish society as quickly as possible. But this is only possible if they speak the language and spend time with the locals.

As it turns out, international schools in the Málaga region seem to offer Spanish only as a school subject. They won’t use it in class. This means there would be not a lot of opportunities for the kids to acquire and use the language on a daily basis. So our focus has now shifted to Spanish bilingual schools instead.

We also understand that the kids cannot start from scratch. This means that on their first day of school they will already need to have a good knowledge of Spanish. Consequently, we need to look into language programs now in order to give them the best possible start. They are definitely motivated but for as long as we are in Australia there is little opportunity to prepare them for their new life in Spain this way.

We will need to spend a lot of time during the long summer break helping the kids learn Spanish. We are of course happy to pay for this service, we just need to figure out how to do it in the best possible way. And let’s be honest: my husband and I need to learn Spanish too if we want to make this a successful relocation. There is no way around it.

In this sense: ¡Hasta luego!