We know there have been and still are a number of Brits that moved here to Bigastro who have found it difficult to settle into their new surroundings. There are very many reasons why life in a small Spanish town just has not worked out for them. In some cases they had to reluctantly give up on their dream of a life in the sun, in others things just were not right for them.
It certainly isn’t easy to fit into a predominantly Spanish, tight knit community especially when you have to try and cope with a different climate, the language, the customs and the bureaucracy, it requires a lot of hard work and patience. It must be especially difficult if you have lived most of your life in the same place and have become entirely familiar with your surroundings and the people around you. I dare say that the same would apply to any bigastrense who tried to settle in an equally strange environment in England.
For Pamela and I there were three strokes of luck that have helped us to “find our feet” here in Bigastro. The first was joining the Spanish for Foreigners class where we got to meet both people in our own class and the ladies from the other classes. That helped us to establish some contact in the town and find out a lot about our new home. It has also allowed us to perform on several occasions for the local children.
Then I started to write this blog with the intention of keeping our friends and relatives informed about what we were up to. It seems that others quickly latched on to what I was writing, both Spaniards and English, and soon I became known to a wider audience. Rather than filling this blog with personal news, I now look further afield for information about what is going on as well.
The third stroke of luck came about because of my interest in photography. I’d taken pictures of events in our daily lives which I posted to my blog. Germán Martín, who looks after the excellent web site for the town, spotted my photos and asked if they could be included in his web site’s photo gallery. At that time there was no official person taking pictures of events in the town, so my pictures proved to be a useful resource.
Pamela and I have also gone out of our way to use local tradespeople and local shops as far as we can rather that go for the easy option of using English speaking companies and shopping in British shops. It was a struggle at first to make ourselves understood but in time that has become easier and has proved to be of great benefit.
We have tried to immerse ourselves into the local culture by going to local fiestas and other occasions. We regularly attend events at the Auditorium –not because we feel it is right to but because they are just so enjoyable. Bigastro and the neighbouring towns and cites have so much to offer by way of culture and entertainment, it would be foolish not to get involved and take advantage.
Others have found their own, equally successful ways to integrate into the life of Bigastro for example, three British couples have already been crowned as “Third Age King and Queen” for the annual fiesta and I am sure there are more to follow. One of our neighbours formed a golf society which has found recognition with the Town Hall and many locals, others formed a seven-a-side football team to challenge the local teams. A couple of residents play in the town band and at least one couple sing in local choirs. I know of two ladies who regularly visit the local hospital to sit with patients. There are probably countless other example which I either cannot recall or am, as yet, unaware of.
In some cases it may simply be a weekly trip to the market that brings them into contact with bigastrense. Whatever way people have found to make Bigastro their home, as long as it keeps them happy then that is fine. It would be so wrong for locals to get the impression that because some have chosen to leave that we are all unhappy with out lot here because that is patently not true. As long as you keep reading this blog, I will try to keep you in touch with the town and its people!