The Preparation – 12 months until departure

So we’ve made the decision to move to Spain for a year. Where does one begin to prepare for a year in Spain? There are so many things to think about and no guide to what order you should do it. We have blindly dived in and hope for the best. So far we have asked the following questions, answered a few of them and hope the remaining answers will emerge in good time:

  • How to finance such a trip? – sell the car, rent out our apartment to cover the mortgage as well as the rent in Spain (1 week’s rent in Sydney is approximately 1 month’s rent in most parts of Spain), take my husband’s long service leave (sabbatical) at half pay and try to save hard before we leave.
  • Will we be able to find work in a country with 25% unemployment and an economy on a precipice? Unlikely but we’ll still try and if we can’t then perhaps we will live frugally and study Spanish, literature, cooking, or volunteer.
  • When do we leave? Given that we need a year to save and we want to arrive in time for the start of the European school year, it’s likely to be July 2013.
  • How do we stay for a year? Harness the parental heritage to obtain European passports for the family. We have already made several trips to Canberra (where all the foreign embassies are in Australia) with piles of paperwork and a chequebook, and we now collectively have several passports covering 4 different nationalities.
  • Where shall we live in Spain? Someplace where they speak Castellano, not Catalan, Basque or another dialect as the main point of the trip is for the kids to become fluent in Spanish so that they can speak to their paternal family in Mexico. The frontrunner is currently Granada in Andalusia at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, however we are still open to suggestions.
  • The magical Alhambra Palace in Granada
  • Will the kids be ok in the local Spanish school even though their Spanish is very limited? We’ll have to wing this, as we have no idea yet!
  • What do we do with our 11-year-old arthritic Golden Retriever? (the one we managed to raise from a puppy) This one seems to be the deal breaker and has us stumped. She’s old and even if our family would take her, it seems cruel to do this to an old dog for such a long time. Poor old Chula!
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