Not So Warm Welcome
Spain welcomed us with sunshine, as I was hoping for. Straight from the plane, full of positive attitude, we jumped into our rented car and whoosh we went. We were driving from Alicante towards Valencia and the road is next to the sea. It’s a beautiful paseo with great views.
The first thing we did when we got into our small town, was a quick shopping in Aldi, as of course we were starving and then we went to see the beach. Kids were so excited, they immediately took their shoes off and were running on the sand.
We went to the agency to get keys to the apartment that we’ve rented online. And here, one piece of advice, unless you have a trustworthy person in the agency, never, never ever rent without checking first! Well, I didn’t know. On the pictures, it all looked good. Girl from the agency was reassuring me that the flat has been refurbished as it’s been only bought 3 months ago. I asked if she could check it as I’m coming with children, she agreed (but hasn’t done it). So I trusted her. Reality appeared a bit less optimistic. First, she had another meeting and even wasn’t there, so her colleague gave us keys. We managed to find the apartment and went in. It was a big disappointment. The flat was not renovated, just slightly re-painted. The kitchen was old and you had to choose if you want a fridge or microwave connected to mains. There were dead cockroaches under beds. There weren’t enough power points to connect TV in the bedroom. AAGGGRRRHH
The heater was not working (the gas one), so we called agency saying that we’re very upset and unhappy. She said “oh, I thought it was cleaned (the flat)”, but obviously she didn’t check it. Fortunately, she helped us to obtain a new gas bottle for the kitchen and 2 electric heaters, which all was paid by the owner of that flat.
In the next few days, there was rain and wind, how familiar was that. Kids were bored and only wanted to watch TV, didn’t wanted to do any activities, not to even mention homeschooling. We bought online classes, but our stubborn kids said: “it doesn’t feel right to learn at home”. Maybe it’s my lack of ability to “make kids do what I want”, but it was getting worse and worse. Kids couldn’t play together, they were interrupting each other. Although we’ve signed them up for sports activities in the afternoons, they were getting crazy. I thought it’s a challenge for them to move to the country and don’t speak the language (but back in the UK, our son has been asked all the time to learn the basics, with even apps to help him). Yes, it is, but it’s a small price to pay for the sun (but where the heck is this sun?), fresh produce and closeness to the beach (it’s so cold, forget the beach).
We’ve started having a crash. We thought that it was a bad decision and that we’re going to be here just for the six months (period of the contract for the rented flat). Then, we’ll go back to the UK.
The next morning, Saturday, the electricity went out. Agency, of course, doesn’t work on Saturdays. With our broken Spanish, my husband called some electrician and he came quite quickly. Apparently, the contact on this flat for the electricity was small and we couldn’t use so many things at the same time: TV, washing machine and vacuum. Of course, he charged us 30 euro.
In the week, we were going to the city hall (ayuntamiento) to try to get a permission for fixing the flat that we bought for the bank. We needed new windows, new kitchen, bathroom, walls etc. We didn’t have either water or electricity connected there. Thank you Google Translate.
In the first month, probably 24 times, when kids were in beds, or even not, we were wondering what is happening. Did we expect it to be hard, so hard? Why kids are not making it easier, but rather opposite. And then, my husband’s speed bike was stolen from in front of the Chinese store. Nightmare after nightmare.
Next Saturday, there was a smoke coming out from a hole in the wall. My husband called another electrician and apparently, the cables were wrongly connected and if I didn’t notice it, we could set out the fire accidentally. Karamba! Another 30 euros.
The electrician in the new house (let’s called our flat that), was the third that we’ve called, and the worst one. He looked and smelled like he was drinking last few days, he made more damage than repair. Only he had to do is to fix the intercom on the staircase. He came with the new intercom, left it and went for a lunch at 10am! He came back at 11.30, knocked down a huge part of the wall inside our flat, as “the intercom’s cover didn’t fit in”, made a huge mess, called all the neighbours to check their connection and left us with a bill for 60 euro! The worst worker ever!
We felt like crying….
I knew we’re tough cookies and will sort it out….well, at least we’ll try….we had an idea…