My husband Daniel is Spanish, but we never live in Spain before. We intend to bring our kids here and create a family of our own within a multicultural environment. Although we are an experienced international mover, there are a few things we still need to adjust relocating from Asia to Europe.
Top 10 things to adjust after moving to Spain:
1. Active hour
Working hours in most of the countries I have lived in are from nine to five. In Spain, people typically start the day around 8:30 am- 9 am, siesta around 1:30 pm-2 pm, and then return to work from 4:30-5 pm, just in time to catch dinner around 8 pm after work. Children still get out of school at 4 pm.
In Spain, kids are running around at 9 pm, some of them go until midnight. In our lifestyle, 9.30 pm is too late for our toddlers to go to bed.
Welcome to Spain!
2. Food culture
There are many things I miss about the older life, especially the food. When we first arrived in Spain, we were very excited about the variety of food options we can choose. But at some point, food culture shock starting to kick in. From Eastern to Western food, from vegetable oil to olive oil. I began to search for the Chinese/Taiwanese supermarket or restaurant to kill my food cravings.
My husband used to drive in Taiwan, and we use public transport in Barcelona. There are pros and cons of changing from cars to public transportation. For example, without an access to a car, grocery shopping can require a fair amount of planning. Online shopping is an option, but I enjoy the supermarket shopping experience. On the other hand, life expense is cheaper without owning a car in Barcelona, and it also helps to reduce the environmental impact.
4. Not working in an office
I used to work in an office and has a professional social circle. However, due to the Spanish working hour, and I want to be more attentive to our toddlers, working from home can be more flexible. The most significant disadvantage of working from home for me lacks communication with the outsiders.
Taiwan belongs to the tropical climate zone. Winters are warm, and summers are consistently high heat and humid, with several typhoons.
Barcelona has 300 pleasant days all year round. However, it is dryer and much colder in the winter than Taiwan.
Taiwan is one of the safest countries I have lived in before. Crime rates are low by world standards. Security cameras are on every street across the nation. Most people feel comfortable walking on the road at any time of the day.
In general, I also feel safe to walk around and enjoy Barcelona. However, the pickpockets are professionals here, I can’t let my guard down and always have to keep an eye on my belongings.
7. Slow pace
Spain has a much slower pace than Taiwan. Thanks to my experience in Brazil. I was able to adopt this pretty quickly. I love the slower pace of life in Spain in many respects, but this can become frustrating when you are in a rush or applying for documents, sending packages in the post office during the Christmas season.
I speak a few Spanish and English is widely spoken in Barcelona. However, Barcelona speaks Catalan, and all the family members here speak Catalan rather than Spanish. Eventually, I need to learn the basics in Catalan.
9. Support system
We used to stay nearby my parents and a much closer support system from them. Grandparents are great helpers! 🙂
10. Communication from school
Early age education in Europe focuses on emotional needs, motor skill development, and communication skill. From pre-school to university, the teaching sequence is self-management, exploring, find your dream, career choice, and cultivate talent.
Taiwan education emphasis on academic achievement and ranking system starts at early age. In the Taiwanese mindset, the biggest and the most critical responsibility of a child’s life is to study as the highest as possible. The general public in Taiwan has many concerns related to education, such as excessive pressure between students and teachers.
When Luana was in Taiwanese nursery school, teachers always keep the parents inform if there is any injury on children’s bodies to avoid controversy. In Spain, I often find my daughters have scratches from school without any communication. I believe school teachers checked and make sure it’s been fine, but as a parent, I have to adjust to this type of small communication habit.
Moving to Spain is an adventure, and this is my fifth oversea moving, every time I make a move, I feel stronger!