Spain is the 2nd most visited country in the world.
Inevitably, some visitors find reasons to stay longer. Some for the culture, some for the weather and the fact that it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in—but many for love.
The latter reason is the case of Harrison Fowler, originally from Kentucky in the USA. He studied Spanish at University so decided to come to Spain to fine tune his Spanish skills.
Once in Spain, he met Alejandra, whom he said he fell head over heels for almost immediately.
For this love story to continue Harrison needed to find a way to stay in Spain and spend more time with Alejandra. He applied for work as a Conversation Assistant in a Government program for Bilingual schools.
Once Harrison popped the question, he decided to stay in Spain. He said, “ultimately I wanted to be wherever she was.” He added that as they were both bilingual they would have job opportunities in Spain that may not be as available to them in the States.
Harrison said that overall Spain is starting to feel like home. He appreciates the openness of the people and has made some fantastic friends here.
Adjusting to life in Spain
Of course not everything is easy to adapt to and he said that one of the toughest changes for him was the Spanish timetable—eating at 9:00 p.m. in the evening when he was used to having supper at 5:00 p.m. (He’s not the only one that discovered that problem- see my article here on “ How to survive the Spanish eating schedule”)
Another challenge for him was learning how to interact with Spaniards on a daily basis. “I had to learn that their bark is worse than their bite,” he laughs.
Missing greenery, adjusting to city life, taking public transportation instead of driving everywhere and adapting to the long work hours have all been challenges.
The rewards of living in Spain
Harrison got rather animated talking about enjoying the simplicity of the food—and who can blame him? He said he and his wife often go out for a glass of wine with tapas. His go-to snack is either a tortilla, bread with ham (jamon) or even just a few olives.
He said he is amazed at the variety of taste and size of the olives.
His landlord, who he calls “a Spaniard times 10” taught Harrison how to cut, prepare and then soak the olives in a vinegar brine before bottling them.
“I never even touched the olives back home, they never had any taste,” he said. “But here, there are 1000’s of different types all with their own flavour, they are fabulous.”
After dealing with the headaches of bureaucracy when applying for his residence and work permit, Harrison realized that probably other people are having the same struggle. Out of his own bureaucratic nightmare, RVF Spain Consultants was born.
Harrison offers the service of helping new arrivals to find their feet in Spain. As he has waded through the paperwork for the North American Language and Cultural Assistants program for Teacher’s Assistants, he felt he can be a help to others facing the same overwhelming amounts of paperwork. (I wish there had been such a service years ago when I had to fill out the paperwork for that program! Trust me it is a nightmare if you don’t have someone walking you through it)
He also offers the service of helping people through the paperwork of getting a work visa, a NIE, starting a business or even something seemingly simple as helping people get a sim card for their phone. Any of these tasks is daunting in a new country, but much more so if someone isn’t fluent in Spanish.
Harrison offers a free initial consultation to help people with the bureaucratic mess. If you would like to learn more about what services are included, head to his web page: www.rvfspain.com
If you want to tell us your story of visiting or living in Spain, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org