Pros and Cons of living abroad

Well, we finally got to our 6 months mark! Yep, we made it! We arrived to Manchester in June and we are still around here with no intentions, for the moment, to go back to Barcelona. We thought now it could be a good time to reflect upon the pros and cons of this British adventure, maybe it will be useful for those ones thinking “I might give it a try and move to another country!” So here we go:

1st of Pros: economical improvement.
One of the main reasons to leave Barcelona was to look for better job opportunities, and well, we haven’t achieved all our financial goals yet but we can say there’s been a noticeable improvement since we moved to the UK. Samuel found a job on the third week we got here, and we can see God’s hand in that miracle, because we know of many other people that are still looking and have been here almost the same amount of time than us. He is learning new skills, building good relationships with his workmates and looking after our family’s needs and self-reliance. About myself, I changed my mind about the initial idea of me getting a full time job, I decided to start my own business as TuBa Advertising and I got to realise that I feel much more fulfilled being able to look after my little troublemaker than missing her stories, new words, amazing little adventures because of working for a company more than 40 hour per week. Of course I still want to get more experience and feel that I am a successful professional in my field but I can still do that being self employed, it might take me longer…but it is worth trying it.

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1st of Cons: loneliness.
Oh yeah, it is good Samuel found a job! Of course, but that also means that we don’t have normal weekends anymore, just one day off, that we always wait for him until he gets back from work around midnight and if we get lucky and there’s a nice day out there we might go out and do something fun. So basically I don’t have much time left to talk to another adult, and plus, because of my “social skills” I don’t get to do friends as quickly as I would like to, and sometimes, even when I try really hard, I might not catch some of their sense of humour or bits of a conversation…so yes, we miss our families, we miss our friends, I miss not having to make an effort to feel that I fit in in whatever sort of activity we attend… But I guess this is something that we will be able to overcome as time goes by.
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2nd of Pros: learning a new language
How good is that?! Isn’t it! So apart from Spanish and Portuguese now we get to become more fluent in English. But let us tell you that it is not an easy task, specially if we just speak more often one another than actually with the locals. That means you really have to try hard to take advantage of opportunities to talk to other people at church, at activities, wherever you are and not just to the bus driver asking for a “day rider”! We feel we have improved, Samuel specially is doing really good since we got here and Julia, she is soooo adorable saying some words in English, such as “bye bye, yeshh (yes), go! and many others.. 🙂
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2nd of Cons: the darkness
Don’t worry, it is not a spiritual darkness! But a physical one! Seriously! Here in Manchester gets dark at 4 in the afternoon! How strange is that? And can you believe that at midnight gets lighter than in the evening! Amazing! We even took pictures to prove it, to ourselves of course, I don’t think anyone else is too bothered about it, hehe…but anyway, I get a bit scared every time I have to go out at 6pm or later than that…cuz it truly gets really dark out there,..we’ve been told it’s because of the season… Oh well, we will just have to wait until summer!
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3rd of Pros: spiritual growth and uplifting experiences
The scriptures tell us that we need an opposition in all things, words of truth indeed. Since we got here we’ve seen how important we are to our Heavenly Father, how closer we can get to each other as we trust in His words and try to apply them in our lives. We have been trying to get more involved in missionary work as a family and we have had the opportunity to share the gospel with some spanish speaking friends, one of them is listening to the missionaries and is working hard to prepare himself for baptism. Our testimonies have been strengthened because of that and even tho we might not understand everything that is said at church when you become part of the Lord’s work you feel blessed.

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3rd of Cons: Public Transport
Ok, I really didn’t want to end this post with something negative…seriously, Manchester has many assets, that for sure, but public transport is not one of them! It is expensive, the journeys are too long and the fares are not unified, so if you buy a travel card with one Company you might not be able to use it with another. On Sundays it is not-existent! And they don’t keep it too clean…I feel bad saying this… But just consider these as suggestions from a regular user 😉

This is it by now! Who knows what our thoughts will be after our 1 year mark! Maybe we love the darkness, we own a car already and we have become the souls of every party-activity and have loads of friends! OR maybe we are back in Barcelona!!…only God knows.

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New family traditions in CostaTuestaland: Halloween and Bonfire Night

These last days we have had the opportunity to add new traditions to our small family. First we celebrated Halloween, and even though we are aware that it’s a celebration that is getting bigger and bigger in many countries we never experienced a Real Halloween. So we bought a pumpkin, of course! 2 pounds in Asda, that was nice! and while Samuel was working, Julia and I started our Pumpkin Session… the result? You can see it in the picture… a nice quite simple and smiley veggie!
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I must admit that I was hesitating about publishing our masterpiece after seeing some really professional pumpkins on Facebook but we did have fun, so that’s what matters 🙂 The next day, on the 30th we did Truck or Treat…yes, I didn’t spell it wrong, it’s just our ward’s version of the Trick and Treat held at the parking space of the chapel, where the members pamper their car boots with Halloween decoration and some games for the little ones and the families. And after going from one car to another, the adults get to munch and mingle while the kids play some games inside the chapel. It was really fun and a good missionary opportunity to bring new friends to church. Julia absolutely loved it!
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After Halloween comes The Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated on November 5th, and even though its history and origin is religious based between confrontations among Catholics and Protestants we lived the experience enjoying a nice family time together watching the Fireworks at the Trafford Centre. It was packed! So full of people that you feel as if you were in a big concert or something like that… We have to say that Julia didn’t enjoyed it as much as we did though, she still gets scared of the noises that fireworks make but it has improved since last year when she didn’t stop crying at San Juan celebration. Anyway, we really liked it. It was a worth-watching show of music and lights. It kinda made me get a bit emotional because it made me think on how we are getting closer to our 6 months mark of being away from the place we still call home. Five months of hard work, sacrifice and sometimes loneliness but also five months of growing spiritually and temporally, meeting new people, having fun as a family and living experiences that we wouldn’t live if we weren’t in this country. So yes, at least for now, we will continue to dress up in October and making some noise in November!
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The 5 most useful websites before coming to the UK

So here we are again, and for this week… what about an “Informative post”? Let us share with you which have been, in our humble opinion, the five most useful websites for our preparation before coming to the UK.

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And the winners are:

1. Diario de un londinense  (for Spanish speaking people)

This is a blog that gives you all sorts of tips and information about your trip to the UK, but specially to London. It talks about from “How to get the NIN number” to where to look for cheap accommodation, or even money transfers. We really liked it because the author writes in a very friendly way and even comments from other people are usually very helpful. (not like the http://www.spaniards.es/foros … that’s like a bad morning in the traffic jam, almost everyone seem to be stressed and are not too polite with each other… :S…) anyway…

2. Easyroomate/ Rightmove

The first one helps you to find a flat to share with other people. It’s very good if you are coming on your own, because you can contact the person directly and negotiate all the details, for a family it gets a bit more complicated. So Rightmove is a better option to find a flat or a house. The only issue with this one is that you will have to deal with agencies instead of private landlords (most of the time)…but it is useful to get to know more about the areas and rental prices…

3. Universal Jobmatch

We were hesitating about this one, but…it is helpful in the sense that it gives you the opportunity to have an overlook of the job searching market in the UK, and since it’s managed by the British Government you have trustworthy information, as far as we know…¬¬’

4. Easyjet

Ok…this is not paid-advertising, but it is true that we are quite happy with easyjet. Even being a low cost airline it offers you a quality service and…hold on…final price in the ticket from the very beginning! Nothing about finding a very cheap flight for 30 pounds, getting all excited and after you fill out all the details realising that you have to pay almost a hundred pounds! No, thank you!

5. Gumtree

And for last but not least… the king of kings! the one-for-all classifieds site! Here you can find from a flat to even a second hand bike! It also has job offers and basically…everything that can be sold or advertised… So! that also means you have to be very careful as well, in order to get reliable information. We actually got to rent the place where we at now through this website! 🙂

We hope you can find them useful! and if you know any more please share them with us! cuz we’re still actually quite new in the city! 🙂