How I Got Here An introduction into how and why my husband and I moved from New York City to Spain. BY SARA WILSON
Courtesty of Sara Wilson
Sara and David enjoying the marketplace.
I officially became the 74th American living in Torrevieja, Spain—assuming the latest census records on file are accurate. In a town of just over 100,000, I am certainly a minority here, and the whole fact of me even being here is so unlikely that it makes me wonder how it all came to be. After all, I don’t even speak Spanish; never mind that it’s practically the first language in California where I’m from. Romanced by the melody of French from the age of 12, I chose to learn francais instead. But that’s immaterial. I speak English and French, yet, as of late-June, I now live in Spain.
So why Spain? It was a combination of things that pushed my husband, David, and me out of our two-bedroom, rent-stabilized apartment in New York City’s Spanish Harlem for a more authentic experience across the pond. (We had moved from California to New York a few years back). It was pretty much a perfect storm of incidences that led to our departure: It was David being drained from the 12-15 hour workdays as a private chef for a couple of NYC socialites; It was our questioning whether the city lifestyle was sustainable and whether New York City could be our home in the years ahead; It was David’s undying entrepreneurial spirit; and, above and beyond perhaps everything else, it was our double whammy of layoffs—within a week of each other—that jump started us into action. When the choice is pretty much made for you, it’s much easier to make the choice. After a year-and-a-half for him and nearly six years for me, being an employee was proving to be not the secure path that I had always carved it out to be. Our layoffs served as a good dose of reality, and we joined the increasing numbers of unemployed and wondered how we were going to be able to afford living on unemployment benefits when even our two combined salaries seemed to barely cover our basic necessities.
And miraculously, just at the same time, David’s dad was opening a tapas bar/restaurant in Torrevieja, Spain along the Mediterranean coast. Perhaps it could be an opportunity to combine forces, talents and ambition. Perhaps it was an opportunity just not to miss.
So we sought refuge in Spain. The economy isn’t much better here. It’s facing the same housing crisis as the U.S., foreclosures are rampant, unemployment high; but rent is cheap. We’re in a 2 bedroom with a balcony paying 350 euros per month (though with limited closet space and a smaller overall space compared to our NYC apartment, I’m dreading already the 22 boxes coming from NYC and destined to arrive soon at our doorstep). We really should have given more to Goodwill! Though the foldable bikes in two of the boxes will be a very welcome addition once they arrive! We have a community pool and even a washing machine. Goodbye laundromat! This is a luxury that we would have killed for in New York and we don’t take it for granted. With such a luxury in a very affordably priced apartment, everything seems more feasible.
Sara Wilson is currently working as a freelance writer and lives in Torrevieja, Spain with her husband. She has kept a record of her adventures living abroad, which you can find here or on her blog: http://sarawilson.wordpress.com. Contact her directly at email@example.com.