10 May 2018

Tamar Lumsden - Expat in Spain

Tamar Lumsden - Expat in Spain

We’ve had the chance to talk to Tamar Lumsden, 32, a British expat who has moved to Spain with her family. Mrs Lumsden, who has been living there for two years works as a Surface Pattern Designer. Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?
A: Staffordshire, England


Q: What made you move out of the UK?
A: We had dreamed of a slower life in Spain for years, and one day we finally said enough is enough. 3-hour commutes and constant rain finally took their toll!


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?
A: We now live nestled among olive groves just north of Granada, near the picturesque town of Montefrio. We had previously lived in Granada and so knew this was the province for us.


Q: How long have you been living in Spain?
A: We have been here for 2 years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?
A: When we moved our son was 2, so that was very easy. He is now 4 and starts school in September which will be a big adjustment!


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?
A: In the first year there were things I missed and craved (mostly food!), but we are settled now and have a steady flow of family and friends visiting!


Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: The locals are so kind and generous. In our first few months, we received gifts of cherries, almonds, walnuts and eggs from our various neighbours!


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Spain? How did you manage to find a social circle there?
A: We live very rurally and work from home, so our social circle isn't that big! Our neighbours are a mix of locals and expats and all very friendly. When our son starts school next month, I expect we will get to meet lots of new people!


Q: How does the cost of living in Spain compare to your home?
A: It definitely works out cheaper here. The only thing that costs more is electricity and internet (here in the campo), but council tax is only a couple of hundred euros a year!


Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
A: 1.50

Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
A: From 5-7 Euros for a main course

Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
A: 10-15 + Euros for a main course

Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: From 1.50 to 10 Euros for an excellent bottle. Not sure on cigarettes but definitely less than England!


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Spain?
A: All accounts here have a charge, so it's good to do some research. It's wise to pick a bank with a branch close to you as you'll spend a lot of time there! Also, you will only be able to withdraw cash without charge from your own bank's cash machines.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?
A: Fairly straight forward but make sure you have several copies of passports, deeds, birth certificates etc.. Everything takes longer here, so you have to learn to just go with the flow!


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Spain reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?
A: Spanish state health care is excellent as is its private sector. Dentists are mostly private but offer great care.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the UK or Spain? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?
A: We are self-employed and pay into the social security system and receive state healthcare.


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Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Spain? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?
A: We packed all our belongings into storage and flew to Spain to house hunt. As soon as we completed on our new home we had Cotswold Carriers -www.cotswoldcarriers.com - collect our things and bring them over. It all went smoothly until the lorry couldn't get down our drive! But thanks to the driver we found a solution and were in before long!


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?
A: Language! I can get by, and my husband is very good, but there are still times we struggle to be understood!


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Spain?
A: The positives are endless, the Spanish are very friendly and helpful people, their food and culture are a joy, and of course, the long hot summers are a plus! It can be hard sometimes when you're working for yourselves and don't have that regular income to lean on, but in the end, it's well worth it!


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?
A: Our local town Montefrio was recently voted as having one of the best views in the world by National Geographic, so well worth a visit! We are only 30 minutes from Granada, my favourite city with endless attractions and world-class food and wine!


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?
A: No, none!


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?
A: Enjoy it. Don't get hung up on the little niggles and embrace this slower way of life!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Spain?
A: I always go to www.familylifeinspain.com for info on paper work and procedures here in Spain. www.andalucia.com has a great forum full of information form other expats. www.piccavey.com is a great blog for anyone living or staying in Andalucia and the Provence of Granada.