Finding myself again
by Sharon Mawer
(Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, Spain)
I tell you, it is not easy moving to a foreign country where you've been coming on holiday for years and think you can make it work actually living there.
It's not easy, but it's not impossible.
My husband retired three years ago to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands and these islands belong to Spain, everyone speaks Spanish and I thought I could, a little, well maybe enough, but when it comes to re-registering a car or paying tax or trying to find something to do, it's a lot more difficult than ordering a couple of beers in a bar.
We're not old enough to mix easily with retirees here, he was only 48 and I was 58 when we decided we'd worked enough and wanted to live in a hot climate instead of the continual rain and miserable weather of England.
What we didn't expect was the hottest summer for decades our first year. I mean constantly in the 40s (if you want Fahrenheit, translate it, it's hot). Neither of us really felt like doing anything.
But the second year it was easier and perhaps our bodies have changed and got used to it.
In the winter it never drops below 15 and most days it is low 20s and even in the summer most days are 30-35 degrees. Then I wanted at least a liveable reasonable internet speed to run the TV and computer.
You can't watch Spanish TV all day, there are some things you want in English and Spanish TV is limited (we're still talking about 100 channels but we want our usual things like Premier league football, American football, baseball, tennis, drama etc.
What did we get the first year, 2.5mbps of internet speed, hardly enough to browse the net, not enough to run IPTV and promises from Movistar (Spanish Telefonica) that soon we'll have fibre optic in our area. Well they were as good as their word and 18 months after we moved, we got a phone call (in Spanish of course) we're ready to offer you 300mbps, do you still want it. I think we know how to say yes in Spanish. Not long after that, they came back again and offered 600mbps.
That's better than Japan, better than South Korea and certainly better than the UK and here we are on a little dot in the middle of the Atlantic, nearest mainland is Western Sahara and that's not even a recognised country.
What did I want a decent internet for? Well for years when I retire, I had wanted to complete my research and blog relating to music of the 20th century, all of it. Now I had the time and the ability to do just that, and so I found something to do.
As for my husband, he's taken up scuba diving, playing more golf, finding friends in the various craft breweries around the island and getting out going for meals almost every other week.
We have also been adopted by a cat. She was abandoned by her former humans and she chose us to look after her, and because she knew her options were limited, she's become very loving in her own cat way.
If you like pop music from 1900-1949 (or know little about it) take a look at what I have finally had the time to produce.