. Even if you guide yourself seamlessly through the maze of Spanish bureaucracy and settle in your new home in the sun, living abroad is very different from a holiday. It may take a while to make new friends and find good places to eat, and the best places to shop. And that’s where Facebook can help.
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Here in Spain, lemons are ridiculously cheap right now, but how can you make the most of them? Oranges – which are also plentiful at the moment – can be eaten or juiced, but other than in your gin and tonic, you may be a bit short on ideas for lemons. You can use them in desserts, and in fish recipes and salad dressings, but you won’t want fish and salad every day, and too many desserts isn’t good for the figure. If only you could preserve lemons to use in the months ahead!
One of the countless things I love about living in Algorfa is wandering through the orange groves. I love to take my dog Paddy in there, let him off his lead and see him bound with unconfined joy along the avenues and up and down the terraces, sometimes chasing rabbits, but often simply enjoying that perfect space, which is a haven of peace and tranquility.
I love living in Spain, not least because it’s given me a whole new career. I got so fed up with getting conflicting information from so called ‘experts’ who turned out to be well versed in finding which bars had happy hours running, but not much else. So I started researching stuff for myself and writing about it. I particularly like to refute sweeping generalisations such as ‘It’s cheaper to live in England, America, etc,’ and when I do, I back it up with facts and figures, and the posts are always well received. However, in the interests of balance, I should point out that not everything is better in Spain. Here are some of the things that are not so good about life on the Iberian peninsula.
Autumn in Spain is a great time of year. The nights may be getting shorter, but the days are still warm, even though it may be a little too cold to swim in the outdoor pool. Still, the summer crowds have gone, along with the sweltering heat of July and August. Of course, the departing crowds means less people to patronise the numerous bars and restaurants, so the owners have to come up with something to bring the crowds in, and one thing that is popular at this time of year is a tapas trail.
The latest news from the World Health Organisation suggests that processed meats are right up there with cigarettes and asbestos as known carcinogens. In other words, those great staples of the Spanish diet – jamon and chorizo – are potential killers. Just 50 grams of jamon a day significantly increases the risk of some forms of cancer, apparently.
22 November 2015 sees the 40th anniversary of the death of Francisco Franco, Spain’s Great Dictator. And of course, the usual rash of articles are appearing, with facts about Franco, and the assertions that Spain has not escaped his influence, even 40 years on from his death.
Dave Bull is no ordinary expat. The former pie salesman from Brighton owns CBFM Radio, and his breakfast show is enjoyed all over the world by people who share and appreciate his quirky humour and great choice of music. He also owns, edits and contributes to All Abroad Magazine, a free monthly publication for expats on the Costa Blanca. On top of that, he’s patron of the Samaritans in Spain and works hard to raise awareness of their work, as well as much needed funds.
Quite a few people are leaving Spain and returning to the UK. It’s not as many as the British media would have you believe, but it’s a significant number nonetheless. And the reason most people cite for leaving Spain is that they can’t afford to live here any more. Cue gasps of disbelief from my corner of Spain. Seriously – these people cannot be serious!
If you are a US citizen or green card holder, you are obliged to file a return to the IRS each year, wherever you live.
If you are a resident in Spain, meaning you spend more than 183 days a year there (according to the Spanish rules), you have to register and pay taxes in Spain, too.
The good news is that if you are resident and paying taxes in Spain, thanks to a double taxation agreement between Spain and the US, and various exemptions available to Americans living abroad, you are unlikely to have to pay tax to the IRS too. Nonetheless, you still have to file.