Spain Update # 1: Things I Love About Living in Spain

Spain is great for many reasons. Today I want to write about what I love about it! There are some unique things about this place that I’ve noticed are different than anywhere we’ve lived before, so I’ve itemized those differences below.

Really quick note! Before I start this list, I want to address something else that I think is important. I want to make sure I’m honest with everyone about this entire journey, which includes the negatives. So I’m going to touch on this first.

People think it’s a dream to move to Spain from outside the EU, and it really is! But it’s a dream that you have to work really, really hard to realize. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies – it’s an epic journey that requires lots of planning, patience, and numerous stressful situations. You have to conquer a host of unique challenges, most of which you weren’t expecting. You will feel uncomfortable, lonely, or worried more than one would like to admit. It’s a lot of paperwork and time and a chunk of money (we used our savings for this instead of on a mortgage and sold most of our stuff). It’s a big risk, and it weighs on you!

But I’m here to say, it is 100 percent worth it. All the effort and hard work have led us to the most epically awesome part of our lives to date! If you’re willing to put in the effort, you will grow exponentially and experience things most never will – from a unique perspective.

Okay, now that I’ve addressed some of the realness of it all, here is what I love about Spain so far, having been here for nearly one month already:

1. Natural Foods with Natural Ingredients: Many harmful additives and preservatives are outlawed in the EU. This means that anything sold in Spain, from breads to meats to Burger King, etc, is free of all of those crazy chemicals you read on the labels of your favorite products in the US. I’m not afraid to eat things at a fast food place or from a café, like I am in the US when I’m not sure what kind of crap is in it. It’s so much better for you! And you know what, this regulation makes all of the food much more tasty too!

2. Significantly Cheaper (High Quality) Healthcare: As an unemployed student, I pay roughly $60 per month (per person) for full health + dental coverage from a private company, with no copays, no deductibles, prescriptions included free, and no coverage limits. This a plan that also covers pre-existing conditions (we needed this for my husband’s health history). When I get a job here, this health coverage is included with my job at no cost. Now when I say this, most people exclaim, “Well it comes out of your taxes!” This is correct. So let’s talk about taxes for a second.

I talked to a Spanish-native friend I met over here. He is a computer engineer (in a professional job) who pays taxes every year. He, of course, gets the Spanish healthcare I mentioned above included with his job – and he told me he pays 15%-20% taxes per year, which covers income tax, healthcare, and unemployment tax. (For reference, in the US, someone making, say $100,000 per year can expect to pay about 22% for income tax alone.) He says he loves the system, and it works well. This, as an American, was an eye opening scenario to hear! Moving on…

3. What You See is What You Pay: In Spain, when you go to a restaurant, there is no need to look at the price on a menu and add 25% for sales tax and tip. All of this is already factored into the price you see. When you go to a furniture store, the price you see for the lamp you want already has the tax included (most of the time, unless specified). I like this because there is no BS or guessing. What I see is what I get!

4. A Chill Lifestyle: Everyone here is about hanging out, relaxing, or just being present with each other. There is no rushing, and if something doesn’t get done, there is always tomorrow! It’s expected to sit and enjoy a friend’s company for hours at a restaurant, people leave work during the day to take naps in the park, and families take their kids to coffee shops in the afternoon to play dominos together and chat. It’s a really relaxed vibe.

5. So Much History: Every building in Barcelona alone seems to be incredibly beautiful and old – some are nearly 1000 years old. Priceless art and even ancient roman columns surround you. You can see the original work of Picasso and Gaudí’s mosaic masterpieces whenever you want, and they’ve found dwellings and tombs here dating back to 7000 years ago. Something about a city that has been around since the 1st century BC is just not something you get over quickly!

So there you have it!! A brief (albeit wordy) list of some initial things we are loving about Spain. See, I told you it’s worth it. Cheers! ❤

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