From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciated

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Isleños
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From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciated

Postby Isleños » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:20 pm

Hi
We are a british family (with 2 kids aged 8 and 3) currently living on a tiny island in Mexico, we have been living here full time for 12 years, but need to be closer to home now we have nieces and nephews and parents who aren't getting any younger.
We have been researching Spain as we all speak Spanish already and property is affordable compared to the uk once we sell our property here.
We really like the alpujarras region in Spain, but are wondering what schooling is available for our children.
If anyone has any advice or recommendations with regard to good accessible schools in the region I would appreciate any information.
Secondly, my husband is a bespoke carpenter, and specialises in traditional wooden doors, windows, shutters, furniture and wooden signs for businesses, he now speaks fluent Spanish. He has also just completed 2 foreman jobs on two private houses here in Mexico for ex pat owners. Do you think that kind of work is in demand in Andalucia? He would have transport and all his own tools?

I am a photographer specialising in wedding photography but also do real estate photography here in Mexico.
Again, do you think there is a demand for this?

We know the current economic climate is tough, but we are quite adaptable, my husband can also do fencing, build walls, and has run bars and pubs for a living before. I used to work for BA sales and also have customer service call centre, waitressing, and bar experience as well. Is there a good website or newspaper classifieds section that you would recommend to find situations vacant?

We are looking to rent a 2 or 3 bedroom property for 6 to 12 months before we buy property, to make sure we have made the right choice and location for work and schools. So if anyone has recommendations for finding property to rent that would also be helpful.

I appreciate any help or advice, so thanking you all in advance

Warm regards from Mexico.

K

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby peteroldracer » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:39 pm

Good luck with your proposed move. It will be intersting to see how much of the local language you understand when you are here, because at times it can seem a long way from Spanish! :)
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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Isleños » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:53 pm

We lived in Ibiza for 4 years in the 90's so kind of familiar with how Ibicencan, it's Spanish Jim, but not as we know it!
We moved from Ibiza to Mexico and there was a whole load of totally different words, meanings, sayings, accents.
Coger un taxi, has a totally different and far ruder meaning here!

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Julie » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:01 pm

http://www.pueblos-espana.org/andalucia/mensajes/ could ask on one of the boards local to where you are fancying going to, hope you have some warm clothes, I love a trip up there for lunch, but pretty cold in winter, property is also reasonable on the coast in Granada/almeria border area so may be worth a though for more work and schools etc, I wouldn't worry about the Spanish, If I can understand it anyone can, and as you are already fluent then I can't see that it would make a difference to you, Good luck !

www.habitamos.com

www.idealista.com

Couple of sites for rentals, in case you don't have any.
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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby gavilan » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:21 pm

Islenos wrote:
I am a photographer specialising in wedding photography but also do real estate photography here in Mexico.
Again, do you think there is a demand for this?

I would think there is very little demand for either but especially 'real estate photography' ...

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Julie
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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Julie » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:46 pm

If you are planning to work with Spanish people, then I would ask on a Spanish forum, I doubt even where the English are on the coast, there would be work enough just with them, work is difficult at the moment, but I think you may find teaching English work, as the world and his wife are wanting English lessons at the moment, I imagine it depends how flexible you are. Sure someone else with have more knowledge than I, we don't really have many Brits in our area.
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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Isleños » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:10 pm

Thanks For your replies, keep them coming!
Right now we are doing as much research as possible online to get a better idea of what and where is possible and what is naive! So all your advice helps narrow the quest!

I know we won't know until we actually get over there, we are doing some research on
Possible locations to live in the spring when we come over for a few weeks and travel about.
There seem to be lots of old cortijos that need renovating, which my husband has the skills for, they all seem to be quite remote, but we do want countryside living rather than in a big city apartment, so old farmhouse or village house would be perfect for us. I am sure some would need solar power installing? Not even sure if they are on the grid? Is mobile phone and internet connection even possible in remoter villages? also not sure how that would work with schools for kids, until you get over there and have a proper look about, you never really know do you? we are also looking at villages closer to Granada and Almeria as I imagine both those have school facilities.


We would like,to be within 45 mins of probable work areas for hubby plus if possible the sea or a large lake as my husband paddle boards every day here.
I would also like to be an hour or two drive from a ski slope, as have missed that! No skiing in Mexico!
Does that sound like a tall order?
I do destination wedding photography here, which is quite well paid, and I am happy to travel to shoot, to the coast, and over to balaerics. there seem to be a few wedding planners offering services, especially on the coast. I also have ended up doing quite a bit of photography for hotel and villa rental websites, as well as people looking to sell their holiday villas, which I am guessing there may be some of that kind of thing available around holiday areas?
We are coming with a financial cushion to plump up our income, as I realise that the first 2 years are always tough getting established.

Just out of interest, if you were looking for a carpenter or a photographer where would you look? Is there a yellow pages? Or a local directory? Or would you google it first?

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby olive » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:48 pm

I'll put my pessimists hat on and say you will have an uphill struggle. Unemployment in Spain is 24% . Spaniards are leaving Spain to get work. Even with degrees they are taking whatever is offered in places like Britain. In Andalucia unemployment is even higher. Not many people have money to do up places. Personbally I think Spain will take ten years to get out of the current mess. My Spanish neighbours two years ago said it would be fine in two years time (i.e. now). My view is even with an inventive hat on and a command of the language , you will have difficulty making a living. I will probably get flamed for saying so, but that is my take on the current situation. I called in to our local buildersand tile shop merchants today. Only one person there now. She runs the whole operation. Five years ago, her dad, brother and four employees worked there.

There are some forms of none wired Internet available in the deep countryside. Google Iberbanda. Other methods involve 3G. personally I think the charges are outrageous. We pay about 45 euros a month for 5Gig for 3G. You can get satellite for a simailar price. Google a company called Tooway.

Plenty of companies willing to sell you solar panels for off grid living. Make sure you have a decent regular, reliable water supply with any property you look to buy. Pass on any where the agent (acting for the seller ONLY) says ah you could get connected to water. Same goes for power. We know of someone who has high voltage lines going over their house. The cost to have 230 volts to the house was 15,000 euros.

Sorry If I sound downbeat, just painting it as I see it. Your current life seems pretty good. Maybe the extra cost of regular flights back to parents is a cost to be incurred. At least you are earning money.

olive

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Julie » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:18 pm

http://costawomen.ning.com/ This will probably be of use to you.

I think Olive has given you really good honest advice.

I have had a great deal of work done on property in Spain, I found everyone I needed from architect to painter by word of mouth, all Spanish, I personally would never employ a British person, too many bad stories to be heard :(
No soporto ver la casa sucia, ahora mismo me levanto y apago la luz.

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Isleños » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:05 pm

Thank you for your honesty :)

Although am feeling somewhat downhearted right now :(

Not giving up on Spain just yet though.

We are good honest hardworking people. I believe where there is a will there is always a way.
Both of us have been working since age 18, in uk and abroad and have never not had a job.
I still have hope.

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby barry » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:52 pm

Check out this area, the Altiplano, Granada City an hour away, Sierra Nevada hour and half, there is airport at Granada, Alicante and Malaga airports 2 and half hour away, Almeria airport hour and three quarters. This cortijo is part traditional build and part cave, this example is overpriced and does not ahve electric or water but I have used it as an example. Cave living enables you to keep costs down re heating and cooling, plus your 'rates' are levied on the amount of land you have and does not include your underground living areas. Disadvantage of area is that it is a very poor area of spain, learning language essential,as said before not much work at present. The uk expat numbers are reducing but thre is an influx of scandanavians and dutch,german,belgians at present.
Good Luck from us, Barry and Lindy.
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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Ama » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:05 pm

Have you considered Madrid?, the northern sierra is about 40 mins. out of the city N-VI(Galapagar, Escorial, Hoyo de Manzanares) or N-I (Algete, Guadalix de la Sierra). Unemployment levels are slightly less than in Andalucía, but if you are a specialised worker at least there are work offers available, and in some cases your english will give you the job.

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby frank » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:19 pm

I'm with the others I'm afraid to say, I think you will struggle. Having said that, you have the distinct advantage of being able to speak the lingo and both of you have jobs that can easily work in pretty much any country. So you stand a better chance than most that arrive there with no language skills and UK qualifications which mean little or nothing in Spain. The Spanish themselves seem to employ their own, rather than use guiris, so even with your skills you'll probably struggle to break into the market. You couldn't have chosen a worse time, but I wish you luck.
Regards, Frank

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby carrowcrin » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:28 pm

The one thing in noticed about construction in Spain is how little wood is used in construction of houses etc and your husband may not be aware of this. In my project there is only the front door and 3 interior doors as the back door and windows are made of plastic coated alinimium. It is better that you know this but as you say he is pretty adaptable but i would say the amount of carpentery on house building in Spain is pretty limited. The houses are generally constructed of concrete with tiling over this, i think the reason must be that wood does not grow very fast but if there are other reasons i am sure someone will know.

good luck

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby Isleños » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:57 pm

Hmm. Recession everywhere it seems.
My family in the uk say even the polish builders are heading home due to lack of jobs.
Situation seems almost as grim there! Just with ridiculous property prices on top!

So what is thriving in Spain?
Just picking brains here....
Tourism? Or is that that industry struggling too? Are people making a living renting holiday cottages? Running their own cafes in tourist towns?
Are all the expats just retired peeps?

We ran a very successful bar and cafe here for several years before our kids got older and we couldn't cope with late nights and early mornings (school starts at 7 am here and a ferry ride away, up at 5am is the norm!) and so we sold up.
Hence the carpentry, building work, and photography instead but we are quite flexible and creative

Hmm so maybe after your comments, our dreams of living in a nice village in andalucia and getting freelance work is feeling too ambitious in the current economy. :(
I guess we will know more when we hit the ground running in June when we fly over for recon for a few weeks.
In the meantime, we are still keeping positive, (that's how we roll!) so if anyone has any good leads, info, ideas, useful weblinks, flashes of inspiration, well, I really appreciate your help.

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby IreneD » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:18 am

Julie gave you the Costawomen link above - I think that might be a good start for you. Ali, the person who started Costawomen is very supportive of women in business and would be happy to help you, I'm sure - worth a try! There is a section also for job vacancies, admittedly pretty small.

Here's an idea of what they are about, from the website: "Costa Women is a social community and business networking group for women living in Spain to share friendship, support and provide knowledge about living in this vibrant country."

Even though it's called Costawomen, it isn't aimed at women on the coast.

Good luck, I think you should be O.K. actually - you seem very determined and enthusiastic, don't let the doom-mongers get you down, although of course it's as well not to have rose-tinted specs on :)

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby KarenD » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:32 am

Hi

You might stand more chance getting employment in Gibraltar. At least you would still be able to live in the beautiful countryside not too far away e.g Jimena, San Martin Del Tesorillo, Guadiaro, Casares. Someone I know even commutes from Medina Sidonia!

Good luck!

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby frank » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:41 am

[quote="Isleños"]Hmm. Recession everywhere it seems.
My family in the uk say even the polish builders are heading home due to lack of jobs.
Situation seems almost as grim there! Just with ridiculous property prices on top![/quote]

Believe me, bad as it is in UK, it bears no comparison to the work situation in Spain at the moment. Unemployment is currently around 8-9% in the UK (someone will no doubt tell you the UK fiddles the figures! :lolno: ), it's 25% in Spain and well over 30% in Andalucia. There are well over 70,000 well educated Spanish youngsters now living and working in UK (la famosa fuga de cerebros) and many, many more have left for other EU countries. It really is grim. I think apart from Lithuania, Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU.
[quote]
In the meantime, we are still keeping positive, (that's how we roll!) so if anyone has any good leads, info, ideas, useful weblinks, flashes of inspiration, well, I really appreciate your help.[/quote]
Good for you, with your skills and positivity you might do OK, but don't underestimate how hard it could be. I wish you well. ¡que tengáis suerte!

Sorry, not sure what has happened to my "quotes" :x
Regards, Frank

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby katy » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:59 am

Unemployment 34.9% in Andalucia, 7.9% in UK. What is the rate in your part of Mexico, do you get a lot of ex-pats there? The places I have been to had very few.

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Re: From Mexican island to alpujarras, any advice appreciate

Postby laswalkirias » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:29 am

I have just returned from Seville, and bars and restaurants jammed with young spanish visitors every night
What recession?>certainly not among sevilles younger population!!!!
Dying to move to spain


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