Being an expat in Spain I tend to be curious about why other people chose to leave their countries to come and live here. We all have a story behind this decision and as I like hearing other’s stories, I recently asked a couple of fellow expats how they ended up living here.
Cassidey Edwards is from the United States and now lives in Madrid; Nicola Tonar is from the United Kingdom and now lives near Granada.
What brought you to Spain originally?
I came to study; I came back for love.
My mom said I must be one of the only people to go abroad for an education and come back with a husband. 😂 (But I'm probably not.)
How long did was your first trip to Spain?
I first came to Spain for a 2 month, study abroad summer program. There was an option picking the first month, the second month, or both and I was the only student to choose both and I'm so glad I did.
On the last day of the first-month program, I went out with a few girls as a sort of farewell night. They were all getting on the plane back to the US the next day. While we were at a bar a group of guys walked in. I immediately noticed one in the back but tried not to stare. I didn't know he had noticed me too and eventually asked one the girls I was with to introduce us.
We talked all night, exchanged numbers, and went out the next day, and the next, and the next, and so on.
By the end of my second month we knew we wanted to stay together and after hopping across pond a few times I decided to come stay.
When did you decide to permanently come to live in Spain?
At the end of my last year of university I moved to Spain and got TEFL certified. I stayed here for almost two years before we moved back to the USA and got married.
After living there for 2 years we both decided we were happier living in Spain and have now been here another two years. Unless something happens we are here to stay.
Nicola Toner came to Spain as a child and decided this is where she would like to retire. But, her dream came to a reality long before retirement:
When did you first come to Spain?
We had always holidayed in Spain when I was a child and I had some great memories of the southern coast.
I’d visited Madrid and Barcelona several times with my partner over the years, as well as Valencia, Seville and whilst holidaying in The Alpujarras several times we visited Granada.
When did you first think about moving to Spain permanently?
I’d always intended to end up in Spain, maybe more as a retirement goal, but after a close family bereavement and a job offer in Europe, I decided to sell up and do it. My first choice was Barcelona but found that properties in Granada were much more reasonable. I have a dog and a cat so didn't really want apartment living.
I’ve been very lucky, I moved to a small village, 10km from Granada. I’ve bought a beautiful house and garden which is surrounded by olive groves and asparagus fields. I can see the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains and Alhambra Palace from my terrace and it’s breathtaking.
How have you embraced the lifestyle in Spain?
Very few people speak English in the village so I’ve had to immerse myself into the language and agricultural village life. I swap fruit from my garden with a neighbour for eggs, I have made some beautiful Spanish friends, who know my love of food and include me on all sorts of family and village events and occasions. I’m slowly renovating the house and welcoming guests through AirBandB , my freelance work and www.granadafoodtour.com so life is good.
I’m on the bus route to central Granada and 20 mins from Granada airport, so not cut off, but I was determined not to try to find my bit of England in Spain, I love Spanish food and culture and apart from my English Yorkshire tea and a slight craving for English bacon, and have no ties to the UK at all really so can’t see myself ever going back. Spain is now my home and I love it.
Thanks to both Cassidy and Nicola for sharing their stories!
If you have a story to share about moving feel free to add your story.