Molly Sears-Piccavey, Granada

Who are you?

I was born in a Nottinghamshire village in England. I work in the technology sector and in my spare time I enjoy blogging, tweeting and reading.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Spain in May 1998. First I lived in Barcelona for many years and then in 2006 I moved to Granada, Andalusia.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The initial move from UK to Barcelona was not too traumatic as I had the support of a local Barcelona family who I already knew.As I was Young and by myself I was relatively relaxed about it all. The move from Barcelona to Granada was more complicated as there was the sale of our apartment, jobs etc.

How did you find somewhere to live?

When I moved to Barcelona after several months living with my Student exchange family I went to rent a place by myself. Barcelona is quite an expensive city and I wanted to rent in the área around Sagrada Familia which wasn’t cheap either. I remember the owner asking me how much I earned and requesting information from my parents to make sure that I was financially stable. I found this quite astounding at the time.

Are there many other expats in your area?

In Granada (where I live now) there are some expats although it is not a typical destination for expats. It is a traditional área of Andalusia and inland. There are many Erasmus students but few International people working in the city.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

As I am fluent in Spanish and work in a Spanish environment I feel that I fit in with the locals. I can say this after been in Spain for 15 years or more though and practically begin surrounded by Spanish people from Day 1.

How does shopping (for food/clothes/household items etc.) differ compared to back home?

Here they tend to stick to the traditional brands which have been used by their families for many years. Produce is typically locally sourced either from land owned by people in the family or by neighbours. It´s a great place to eat seasonally. The supermarket chains are growing but the old ways of going to market and home cooking still are continued by lots of families.

Something that I find quite curious is that in the UK the second hand market (whether it be clothes, cars or household ítems) have always been popular (possibly now even more so) but here in Spain it still isn’t really the done thing. I quite often wonder about this particularly with the financial crisis that is currently upon us.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

My advice to anyone following in my footsteps would be to talk to a few expats who already live in the area. It´s important to try to keep an open mind when hearing them speak. Also bear in mind what is important to us at home may change when in the new location. Priorities may alter. It is always a good idea to only rent a home rather than investing in property until at least one year has been spent in the locations. Seeing a town in all seasons can be an interesting exercise.

Molly shares more information about food, culture and travel in Spain through her blog www.piccavey.com and Twitter @piccavey.