Today we are happy to share with our another installment in our series “Expat Life in Spain” where we talk to expats living in different cities around Spain. Today we are sharing a guest post from Peace Bailey. Peace was born in Rwanda and moved to England at 13. In 2018 together with her British husband and sons, the family moved to Roquetas de Mar on the Costa of Almeria. Her blog focuses on what it is like to move abroad with a family and balancing life in Spain with young children.
We hope that by sharing real experiences from others who have moved abroad, you can find insights into what the experience is like and how it is different for every person. If you have any questions, please reach out to us or the authors so that we can support you with your own journey. You can find our previous interview in the series here as Sarah shares her story about her experience living abroad in Madrid.
Sincerely, Spain: Tell us a little bit about your Spain story and how you ended up in Almeria.
Peace Bailey: My husband and I first came to Spain when our oldest son was 1 (he’s 7 now). I was pregnant with our second child and we wanted to explore the country. Every Christmas or Easter we went away to a different part until we realised we wanted to raise our family here!
We chose Almeria because the climate is reliable and one of the best in Spain. I hate the cold, after 19 years in the UK it was time for some winter sun.
Sincerely, Spain: What is your daily life like in Almeria?
Peace Bailey: The children are school until 2pm, I work for 4 evenings while my husband looks after the boys.
Our daily aim is to spend time outdoors, whether we’re walking along the promenade, playing at the park, cycling or doing another activity, being outside together is important to us as it’s one of the main reasons we chose to move.
We clearly remember how much the UK weather forced us to be stuck in the house meaning more screen time, we wanted more for our children.
In the summer our routine revolves around the communal pool, it gets very hot in July and August when the children are off school so we use it several times a day. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people who are on holiday here.
Sincerely, Spain: What are your favorite things about Almeria?
Peace Bailey: We really like that there are so many things for us to do without spending a single penny.
Living near the beach allows us to take advantage of that regularly, there is also a nature park nearby perfect for cycling or long walks while admiring nature.
My husband and I like to people watch when the children are at school!
Sincerely, Spain: If you’re having guests visit, what are the top things you have to share?
Peace Bailey: The promenade is one of the highlights, it goes on for 17km and it’s completely flat therefore suitable for all ages.
There are 2 marinas that we like to take people to with play areas for children and a crystal clear beach next to it.
If we go into the city of Almeria we like to visit the Alcazaba castle, the family park is brilliant and you have to try one of the Cabo de Gata beaches.
Sincerely, Spain: What would be your top advice for people looking to move to Almeria?
Peace Bailey: My one advice for anyone thinking of moving abroad is to learn as much of the language as possible.
I wish I would’ve done that, 2.5 years later I know a lot more but I believe it would’ve been very helpful to arrive knowing more than a few words.
Almeria is a great place, we are happy here and enjoy our life. Of course there will always be challenges as long as we’re alive but we work through them together and smile about it when it’s over.
Finally, should you move here, bear in mind that most people are Spanish. You have to specifically look for other nationalities.
As a black woman, married to a white man with mixed race children we really stand out here in Roquetas de Mar because it’s not the norm. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as change has to come to all parts of the world and we get to be a part of it.
Read our interview with Somto from Somto Seeks about what it is like being black in Spain in this post.
Sincerely, Spain: What is your relationship with Spanish?
Peace Bailey: That’s a hard one! I like the language and I’m determined to crack it although it’s clearly going to take many years.
I struggle with the verbs, grammar plus the masculine and feminine. Living in Andalusia doesn’t help as the accent is strong and they don’t pronounce their words properly.
My listening skills are much stronger than my speaking, I hold back most of the time because I know I will say something wrong.
One thing that has helped me is to watch series or movies with the audio and subtitles in Spanish.
Check out some of our favorite ways to learn Spanish in this post.
Sincerely, Spain: Is there anything you would change about Almeria if you could?
Peace Bailey: There aren’t enough public bathrooms, perhaps I notice it more because I have children but I think it’s a big problem. Unless there is a supermarket nearby you have to go and ask permission in a café but this isn’t as easy now with covid restrictions.
I would also make sure that there is at least one English speaking professional in every business.
The main reason I say that is for the older expats who struggle to learn the language and often give up. I’ve met several. It’s very frustrating for them to go into a bank, supermarket etc and not be able to communicate. Nobody deserves that helpless feeling.
Sincerely, Spain: What are your future plans?
Peace Bailey: We are here to stay. Only God knows what the children will do once they’re older but we’re growing old here. Perhaps once it’s just the two of us we might consider moving to one of the Spanish Islands!
In conclusion, we really love the life we have here. It’s much more than we hoped for and we have no regrets. Perhaps we should’ve done it sooner.
Sometimes in life we end up not going for it because we have more questions than answers. It’s that fear of the unknown or potential failure. I encourage anyone to jump in the deep end and see what happens instead of always wondering what might have been.
Thank you so much, Peace, for taking the time to answer our questions. If you want to hear more from Peace, you can find her online at the following places: