Mark is a perfect example of an expat who has truly integrated into this new country and culture. Find out why he found this so natural for him to do in Galicia, Spain.
1. Where are you from originally?
Hyde near Manchester
2. Where do you live now?
Rábade Lugo Spain
3. What first attracted you to your new home? Did you try anywhere else on the way? Did you move for work or for lifestyle?
I saw my house which was a ruin and immediately wanted to buy it. I lived in several apartments during my first 25 years in Spain but always wanted a stone house.
4. What kind of property do you live in now?
I live in a 150 year old stone house that was owned by Franco the dictator’s chofer and where several of his Morrocan bodyguard lived after the civil war.
4a. Will you stay here?
I intend to die here.
4b. What’s your ideal place to live in within your new country?
Where I am.
5. Are you speaking a new language?
I now speak six languages, before selling old houses I was a specialist in Pig genetics and management and was several years an international consultant but always based in Galicia Spain.
5a. If so, how did you learn?
On the streets and integrating, my Spanish and Gallego (our local language) are now better than my English.
6. What do you do for a living?
I sell rustic, rural and coastal properties throughout Galicia North West Spain.
6a. Where do you physically work from?
From my office which is in my home.
6b. Do you work with clients/customers back in your home country or your new one?
I work with people from all over the world and sell both to Spaniards as well as to foreigners through my website: www.galicianrustic.com
7. Do you work online?
I work online every day that I don’t have clients here.
7a. If so, what is the internet connectivity like?
I have 10 megas in my office but 3g coverage is almost complete in this area. There is no problem getting satellite coverage up to 10 megas anywhere in Galicia through the following company: http://www.infoservicios.org/
7b. What software do you commonly use on day to day basis? What would be your top tip for online working from your new country?
There is no trouble working online from anywhere in Galicia since satellite internet came into being.
8. Are you paid in your new home currency or in pounds/dollars/euros? Do you exchange money often? If so, what service do you use?
After 39 years in Spain my currency is the Euro. Personally I don’t exchange money at all but most of my clients use the one that I have found to be most satisfactory which is The Foremost Currency Group.
9. Do you have children? If so, how did they adapt to the move? How are their schools?
I have three children all born in Spain, one of 28 who has done what is regarded as the hardest career in Spain; Engineer in telecommunications; she has an excellent job in an investigation related company and is now independent.
I have another two girls one of 11 and another of 8 both at primary school in our village where the children learn Spanish, English and Gallego from 3 years of age. All three speak all three languages perfectly.
9a. Are they bi-lingual? Are their good future career opportunities within your new country?
Career opportunities are there but with the current crisis there is quite a lot of unemployment.
10. Did you bring any pets with you? Or leave any behind? How did this work out?
No pets came with me (It was 39 years ago) but right now we have two dogs and a cat.
10. Is your life better than it was before?
When I came to Galicia 36 years ago I found an absolutely natural heaven similar to England with 300.000.000 trees a place where it rains but the temperature is on average about 7-8º C higher than England and with the nicest people in the world. Here there are only approximately 1.500 British amongst 3.000.000 gallegos. I work hard as always but have a lovely lifestyle.
11. What are the best things about living in your new country? Has the move been good for the whole family?
I think that I have already answered that one.
12. What are the most challenging things about moving to and living in your new country?
You must decide to integrate in this area, the people here are more worried about body language than what you can speak if you have a smile on your face you are IN if not you will take a long time to get in.
13. Are you here for good? If so, why? If no , why not?
After 39 years in Spain I have no intention of leaving all I have is here.
14. Any partings word to people thinking of moving to your country?
Come and visit Galicia, you won’t want to leave!!
Born Hyde Cheshire 1/3/1952
Educated at schools in Hyde, North Wales and Nottinghamshire. Nottingham University and later Norfolk University agricultural colleges.
Left for Spain at nearly 22 for job experience and loved the life and the people. I worked in Huesca Aragon in animal selection and Genetics.
At 25 I received an offer for employment in Galicia with an American company to run their genetic selection. I got married and moved to Galicia.
Since then I changed companies to the worlds largest selection company and later went onto consulting for them until 15 years ago I set up the world genetic selection centre for them in France, I was there two years, after 18 months a young Spanish vet came over to France for experience … didn’t count on the experience she got and is now my wife. I came back to Galicia and worked with her family until 8 years ago when the doctors diagnosed wear on both hips, I was told that I couldn’t work on farms anymore and I decided to sell rustic houses.
My company is now number one in rustic and rural house sales in Galicia