I had the pleasure of chatting with Shakira about life in general, not only about living in Spain but working in America part. Nothing was off the table as we discussed the differences between America and Spain in detail. Check out her fascinating, and inspiring story of life in Spain now as compared to her old life in America.
Living in Spain but working in America: It can be done.
Shakira is originally from the state of Georgia but has been living in Sagunto, a neighboring, slightly smaller city close to Valencia (about 30 km) and one that is becoming more and more popular with ex-pats who like to be close to the beaches and mountains and embrace the smaller population. We visited the castle up high on this post, and you can see it way up there in the back of the first image.
Family of five in Spain life:
She and her family have been in Spain for almost five years, which gives her a lot of authority. I always strive to get information from people who have settled into a place, not the ones who have been there for a minute but consider themselves experts. Coupled with the fact that she is also a wife, and mother of three meant that l was able to find out more about raising kids in Spain.
Still a working mom, not a retiree.
An added bonus was the fact that she is not even close to being of retirement age, so the fact that she lives in Spain, but mostly works in America is awesome and just goes to prove that where there’s a will there is a way.
Highlights of the living in Spain but working in America podcast include:
- How she ended up in Valencia Spain, where she landed first.
- The family adjusting to a completely new language… not Castillano Spanish.
- How the first year was stressful, to put it mildly.
- Making a shortlist of things she needed, making the decision to move to the Valencia area, and how Sagunto checked all her boxes.
- How the kids adjusted in school, being taught in school in Valenciano, a departure from the Basque language.
- How schooling differs from the schooling in America.
- Child care cost difference, and why she loves it here. The disparity is mind-boggling.
- Life as a traveling nurse in the U.S. and going back to help out during the covid crisis.
- Being a travel nurse in America, and being a teacher (sometimes) when back here in Spain.
- Salary differences between nurses in Spain and in America. Being able to work for three months and make as much as what a year’s salary would be here, enabling her to be a mother on her own terms.
- Health care differences and how the focus is on preventative care because of the very low cost.
- Learning Spanish and the small victories.
- No place is perfect. What she misses about the U.S.
- Buying a house in Spain, what it cost, and renovation costs.
- The cost of living for her family of 5, plus a dog and three cats. Insane how reasonable!
- Making friends in Spanish friends being a slow process.
- Mistakes to avoid as a home buyer in Spain.
- If they have any plans on moving back to the states.
- How her fear of remaining in America as a mother with three young black men overrode her fear of moving to a new country and all the difficulties she might encounter.
- Being a Jewish woman and how important it was for the family to be near a synagogue.
- Her advice for anyone who wants to do the same thing as far as preparation, giving yourself enough time, and not letting fear.
Wrapping it up: My thoughts on living in Spain but working in America
This was without a doubt one of my favorite interviews to date. Information that had been asked of me by several people involved children. I couldn’t answer as most of the people l knew were of retirement age, whether traditionally, or early retired.
It was therefore wonderful to have factual information. So many people believe that life outside the U.S is so prohibitively expensive, that it’s not worth considering. Long-time listeners of the show will know from past interviews that there are loads of people making it work, all around the world.
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Listen to the living in Spain, working in America podcast interview here:
Or if you prefer, you can watch the video here:
What plans are you making for yourself (assuming you’re making one)? Or have you already made things happen be it in Spain or elsewhere?