Many people ask me why we moved to Spain. Well, it was always a long term plan. Both my husband and I love travelling. As much as we love the UK, we wanted a better climate, somewhere we could bring up our children without always having to plan for a rainy day.
We thought about far flung places like Australia (it would be relatively easy for me to work there) but it just seemed SO far from family and friends. Also, I miss that sense of 'history' that Europe has. The oldest house in Brisbane is only about 200 years old. We briefly considered America or the Caribbean but eventually settled on Europe. And Spain was a more practical choice as more people in the world speak spanish than french or italian.
After finishing his PhD, my husband started to learn coding computers so that he could work pretty much anywhere. The plan was that we get 'financially secure' (not sure what that really means, a consultant's job, paying off the mortgage, just feeling more in control of finances?). Whatever it means, it seemed like a long time away.
One rainy day in October, we had just turned on the heating and I was skyping my mother who lives in France. She was wearing a summery t-shirt and had been gardening all day. I thought "what are we still doing here?".
A short while later there was a row at work between me and one of the senior doctors. It was the second wave of swine flu, before the vaccination was available. I was newly pregnant with my second child and pregnant women weren't supposed to come into contact with people who have 'flu like symptoms'. Well, I was doing my out of hours work in a busy paediatric department and practically every other child had 'flu like symptoms'. I asked if I could swap to work on another rota. For some reason, the senior doctor didn't organise the swap and when I phoned her to ask what was going on she totally lost the plot at me. She also lost the plot at another senior doctor who I called to help me out.
As much as I love the NHS and love being a doctor, this sort of stress isn't unusual in the NHS. There is always something, like being told to work nights when you've requested the weekend off to be a bridesmaid or having a senior doctor shout at you for what appears to be a not-insurmoutable problem.
Anyhow, I feel I owe that doctor a debt of gratitude as she was the catalyst that pushed us to move the following year. I thought, "I've had enough of this, what are we waiting for?" And so we didn't. We set a date for a year and a half later (my husband wanted to build up his business a bit). And that is when we moved. And the rest, as they say, is history...