Looking back, it wasn't
really particularly difficult - probably the thinking
about it was the hardest thing!
We never regret our time in Spain - like you, for us it was the "right thing" when we moved there 20 years ago. Moving on (or back) was the right thing now. The strange thing is, however, I constantly find it difficult to see why so many people still seem so keen to move to Spain. We watch those Place in the Sun programs (although they're mostly several-year old repeats) and wonder what the fascination is; Mrs.M's niece just announced she & her husband are buying a place in Fuertaventura, and I wonder - WHY? And I have to keep reminding myself that whilst we've been there done that, others haven't, yet - so they need to live their own experiences.
What do I miss most about Spain? A few long-time friends, who we may never see again; relationships that took years to develop & cannot be replicated quickly. But that's to do with leaving a place you've lived for several years for another, far away - not really to do with Spain per sé
. Specifically Spain, I miss the cafe culture most - the ubiquity of simple, good value cafes where you can get a decent coffee, or a cold beer, & a pitufo or bocadillo at any time, without needing to see the menu to order, and knowing that you don't have to worry about being charged a small fortune, or being expected to keep ordering in order to just enjoy hanging out there. That's a real "lifestyle" thing that I do miss. We've adapted quite well, discovering a couple of local establishments that suit us, and even (groan) frequenting one or other of the local soulless Weatherspoons where we can drink bottomless coffees, sitting outside (some days!) watching the world go by for less
than it would cost us in Spain...but it's just not quite the same - in Spain it doesn't matter where you go in the country, the cafes are always there. I know I risk boring people with my repeated gripes about it, but to my dying day I swear I will never understand, not so much what places charge
for coffee here, more what people are willing to pay
- it's just coffee
, for goodness sake!
We still miss the loose fresh fruit & veg picked up daily from our local fruteria - but otherwise, there's not really much else.
What do we like most about returning? We love our new home (we thought we loved our old one, until we bought this one!) but again, that's not really to do with Spain v UK - it just turns out that we really like where we are now. I guess the comparitive ease of just about everything we do on a day to day basis, simply by the fact that it's all in our native language - and not constantly wondering (if not actually worrying) what problem will raise it's ugly head next which will be difficult to deal with, either linguistically or culturally. If we've had any "problems" since returning, I've not really noticed them! We've unfortunately each had a visit to the A&E since returning - plus several less concerning appointments with GPs and other medical staff, and it is unquestionably preferable to be able to speak English in these instances.
Perhaps most surprising, I really enjoy the weather - it's been great seeing the seasons again after so long.
Avellana, it's good to know you're getting on well too. So sorry to hear about Katy; I hope the other cats are all doing fine. Ours has adapted remarkably well, and now ventures out into our garden (she only had a small terrace in Spain). She's utterly unfazed by the climate difference - she was even out in the snow, which she obviously had never seen before, and luckily for her, the next door neighbours have a Chihuahua, so she's still able to have conversations in Spanish - it all sounds like growls & hisses to me, but I'm sure they're getting along wonderfully