loving my new life here, and having had a winter here without all the tourists has made the transition much easier. learning the language is easier when everyone around is not British, although there are a few around here who have been very helpful, though I did know them before moving.
the comments in the article about service in the shops appears to be true, with the assistants continuing to chat to their friends regardless of the queue, but I have seen this for years and you just learn that that is normal and to go with the flow. the pace of life is much slower, and after working and living in places like London and the South East, it makes life much more enjoyable. no more running for trains or buses; if you miss one you just get a coffee until the next one comes along.
talking about coffee, no more paying £3 for a coffee. most places charge around €1.00-1,25 and the quality seems a lot better
getting my retirement pension paid into my Spanish bank account was easy, as was getting my S1 form for medical care; just a quick phone call to DWP overseas pension dept and it was sorted.
opening a bank account was easy- Santander do an easily understandable non resident account.
getting movistar for tv, internet and mobile was an experience, because I did not have a NIE (National Insurance number)at the outset, but a deposit of 6 months rental fee secured that and I got a great deal for fibre optic.
a VPN at €5 per month gives me access to I-player etc and using Mobdro on my mobile, for free, gives me plenty other options including the football.
getting a NIE was a bit more complicated as it had to be started on-line and involved a trip to a mountain village, but with help from some friends was sorted. I was issued with a white A4 paper with the NIE but I have to go back with proof that I have registered with the local council and the local doctors to get the green A4 paper which confirms my NIE. they also want proof of my income.
registering with doctor involved trip to another town to INSS office and a wait, as usual, for the relevant paperwork to then go to the local medical centre, along with S1 form to get registered. once registered the local doctors service is excellent with them doing all sorts of tests and sorting out my medication. All the local state doctors work from the same clinic, and although the service is excellent their admin procedures can be very frustrating:banghead:
As a pensioner you have to pay for your medication here but it is heavily discounted and capped at €8 per month. my prescription last month cost €0.41 for 2 lots of tablets. Also, walked into the chemist with my script and it was dispensed immediately, none of this 20 minute wait like in the UK.
registering with local council was fairly straightforward. just needed copy of rental agreement and NIE.
trying to do this without speaking fluent Spanish or Catalan is difficult, but not impossible. I have found most of the officials in the area speak some English, or pass me to someone who can, and with my very limited Spanish, and with great help from Google Translate I have managed to get by.
a couple of tings I have learned;
make multiple copies of every piece of official paperwork, including your passport, and take it all with you to every official department you visit -the Spanish authorities seem to be very haphazard as to what you need regardless of what it says on their websites. a scanner/printer is a must have.
if your language skills are not brilliant, draft your queries on google translate on your phone before you go anywhere near the authorities, or print out the list. it helps enormously.
this also works in shops/supermarkets when you have specific queries that is beyond your normal levels of Spanish, and it does seem to be more successful/appreciated than the normal British method of just raising your voice a speaking a bit more slowly in English:)