MY STORY – part 2 – moving to Spain

read part 1 of my story Here:

To re-cap…

Carlos and I were young and in love with no real ties to anything, and were both enjoying life in a new country as much as we possibly could.

Fast forward to mid-2013 and Carlos realizes that due to the nature of his main client and job market, he could very well be made redundant in the near future. So, the job searching began and Carlos found a new job with a German company. But, the job required him to relocate back to Spain (something he said he never wanted to do). The catch was that he got to pick where he wanted to live. So, after talking about it, we decided that the natural thing to do would be to move to his hometown where his parents and friends were. That was it. The decision was made. We were moving to Gijón.

I signed up for an online Teaching English as a Foreign Language course. We dismantled the few pieces of IKEA furniture we had and packed them back into their original boxes. (Not an easy feat for anyone who is wondering) A good-bye party was had, rent and insurance contracts were cancelled, movers were arranged and finally, valuables and other small items were loaded into our Volkswagen CC. We left Frankfurt before sunrise and began the drive to the port in Saint Nazaire, France where we would catch the ferry to Gijon.

Car full of our stuff
Sun rising as we left Frankfurt

Upon arrival in Gijon, we had a bit of difficulty because apparently on a previous trip from Frankfurt to Spain, the authorities in Madrid had forgotten to stamp my passport. Being under the effects of some very strong anti-nausea medication, and not able to speak more than three words of Spanish, I was of very little help. We (Carlos) finally got it sorted, and we were on our way. A new expat adventure (for me) was about to begin in the north of Spain.

El Musel - Port in Gijon

The first week was filled with appointments to get medical insurance, visits to the police station and immigration office and getting to know the city. After that, it was up to me to make Gijon my home. I was forced to learn the language very quickly, because, unlike large, metropolitan Frankfurt, people in coastal Gijon were not as willing to attempt to speak English with me. I signed up for language classes provided to immigrants through the city hall, and after the first level, decided that I would learn it more effectively just by doing daily activities and being forced to speak to the locals. I found an English teaching job in an academy almost immediately, and life went on.

Asturian Cider
El Molinon Stadium

Now, six years later, we have our own apartment in the heart of the city with views of the sea to the north and mountains to the south. We have two incredible children, Miss Monkey (MM) who is the proud and protective big sister and Mr Monkey (MR) who is the fearless but sensitive little brother. We are an au pair host family to German speaking au pairs year round to help with childcare, teach our kids German and to provide a positive cultural experience to young people.

I teach ESL and help prepare students for Cambridge Advanced English exams and Carlos has settled into his role with the German company that brought us here. We explore our province and other parts of Spain and Portugal as often as we can, and attempt to make it back to Canada once a year to visit my family.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *