¡Hola! We’ve arrived at Casa Campestre, our paradise away from it all. And we’re living here for a whole year. How amazing and exciting, but also suddenly what a strange feeling to know that we’re not going back next week, or even next month. I look at our local village and nearby town with different eyes, and wonder what it will be like to settle here more permanently.
The first two weeks here have been unusual, as we’ve had visits from family and friends. And so instead of doing all the more serious settling in stuff we have to do, we are busy cooking, being tourists and getting up late. With lovely long breakfasts of freshly pressed orange juice, hot rolls from the oven, great coffee, and delicious Manchegan cheese. This is holiday, but not normality. Though I’m not sure what my new normality will be!
Glimpses of normality
I do get the odd glimpse of longer-term life here. It’s when we decide to sit in the shade and not in the sun – because we know we will have plenty of sun in the coming year. It’s when we’re discussing the impact of Brexit on us, as we now live in Spain. It’s when I enquire about Spanish and Pilates lessons in the neighbourhood. It’s realising that when we take family and friends to the airport to go back home, we go back to Casa Campestre.
A big milestone was the moment when our UK stuff was delivered – all in one piece, thankfully – and we’re now unpacking and placing all those little things that make a home, wherever we are. But these are glimpses only, and most of the time it still feels as if I’m on an amazing, extended, wonderful holiday.
A big step towards establishing normality has been meeting with our gestor (someone who provides advice on navigating Spanish government administration). Our gestor will help us with our ‘residencia’ application, which is a must for anyone staying in Spain for longer than 6 months. It’s a high priority for us, because post-Brexit this process may not be quite so easy for Brits.
And so on Monday, we’ll be going to Cordoba with our gestor, and a stack of original and photocopied documentation to make our formal application. Thank goodness we had the foresight to pack our original marriage certificate! An important and necessary document is an empadronamiento (basically proof that we reside in the municipality), available from the local town hall, which is based on proof of house purchase or rental agreement.
This was easy, with the only slight worry that our house deeds say the number of our house is 107, when the previous owner was registered as living at number 170. And, by the way, our letter box by the roadside says 16c. Go figure! But we got the empadronamiento paper, with lots of stamps, and hope that residencia will be ours in a few days’ time.
Structuring my new life
I’ve decided to make some plans for when normal life is finally here, and we are here without visitors, just with the two of us. I need structure, because without it I simply wouldn’t do or achieve anything. And so one of my plans is to get up early each morning. Well, I guess ‘early’ is a relative term! What I mean is that I’d like to be up by 8am, and do some admin and office work, and also 30 minutes of Pilates before breakfast.
Then there are plans for painting the wall internally and externally, and to start doing up the two guest bedrooms that are currently empty. Plans also include pruning the trees in our garden, though this will have to wait until we can have bonfires again from mid-October (due to fire risk). And, of course, plans for reading, lots of reading.
As I’m writing this, it’s making me realise that my new normality is enormously different from my UK life, where everything was about being quick and doing lots. My new life will be about taking time to do things, reflect, read and learn new skills. Not sure what skills those are yet, but I definitely can improve on painting walls!
I’m certainly enjoying the slow transition from holiday to normality, and hope that we manage to keep an element of holiday feeling in every-day life in the months to come. Including leisurely breakfasts!