My family abroad: The beginning
My aunt and uncle were the first people in the family to buy a property in Spain. In the mid 80’s they bought an apartment on the Costa del Sol, a small Spanish fishing town called Fuengirola near Malaga. I didn’t visit there until 2012 and by then it had grown to a huge and very busy town busting with people. Initially they bought the apartment as a holiday home, about 10 minutes’ walk to the marina/port area in a small apartment block overlooking a park. Their neighbours were all Spanish, they had deliberately avoided an ex-pat community.
My aunt and uncle worked hard on learning Spanish as they intended to integrate as much as possible into the local community when they moved there in their retirement. They had a neighbour in the UK whose sister had moved to the town in the 60’s with her daughters and the lady, Doreen, agreed to look after the apartment while they were in England. They had several years of visiting the apartment before their retirement and it was on one such trip that they took my widowed Grandad with them. I was told that when he and Doreen met it was love at first sight! There cannot be many who emigrate at the age of 86 years old but before my aunt and uncle retired my Grandfather packed his bags and moved to Fuengirola to be with Doreen, who was only a couple of years older than my Dad.
Not that long after my aunt and uncle moved permanently to Spain. Grandad stayed after Doreen passed away, spending his last few weeks in a Spanish nursing home at almost 95 years old. My uncle passed away a few years later but my aunt has stayed, still in the same apartment, and now in her early 80‘s is still active and leads a busy life in her adopted country.
Also in the 80’s my parents were visiting various parts of Spain, searching for a place they felt they wanted to call home. And so my family abroad had begun.