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BellaOnline's Spanish Culture Editor

New life in Spain

So itís happened or about to happen and the list of questions seems to get longer rather than shorter. Where in Spain can I? What is an empadronamiento? How do I go about buying a car in Spain?

And on the list goes. It doesnít just go away when youíve finally made the move, so be prepared, be patient and recognize the learning curve that you will finally get through.

Help is available, there are now many excellent expat websites with busy forums where you can ask, answer and moan about all things.

Itís an emotional battle too, full of highs and lows. Wonder at the newness of it all and sorrow at the loved ones youíve left behind. It takes many people months and even years to settle into the new life. Some people never do, they miss the familiar and their family in a way that they can never be content with their move.

Moving to Spain is like a rollercoaster, some people thrive on it and others want to get off and stand on the flat and familiar ground beneath them.

Whatever your motive for moving and however well prepared you think you are, go easy on yourself. Living and learning each day at a time. It is new, it is strange and will be so for quite a while.

The one thing that seems to help people adjust more quickly is to get learning the language. Make a start, yes itís a slow process, but the more you learn the less everything around seems alien. The quicker the feeling of insecurity and dependence is removed the happier youíll be.

Another necessity for some people, usually women is a need for friendship, an escape from the husband that they have never spent so much time with. Many couples move on the retirement of the husband. Suddenly thrown together 24/7, without the family and friends around, can cause additional emotional strain on the wife.

Take it all slowly, there is no winning and losing but trying and experiencing is what life is all about.

One really good source of advice is the book Living and working in Spain by David Hampshire. Itís a fun read as well as having the answers to many questions you have and many you havenít yet thought of.

But that is practicalities, the most important thing is you. Be aware that as exciting as you think it will be, you are going to be emotionally challenged in a big way.

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