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12 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

This is the telling point: no one at the government’s Immigration Office speaks anything but Spanish. Does that make sense to any of you?

Yes, it makes sense of sorts. I had an episode where the guy at the Ausländeramt couldn't speak a word of Englisch, whereas some of the people working ordinary jobs in local shops and such were fluent. As with some of the traffic rules, I came to realize that it only has to make European sense.

Edited by DDoug
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8 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

John, I was only in Mexico for two months and didn’t have to deal with the bureaucracy. 

 

Jools, the reason I’m not in Ireland or Italy is that they cost a lot more ... and I speak Italian. 

 

I’ll remind all of my considerations: cost, climate, cuisine, culture, walkability and stock subjects. 

 

Maybe some ideas for you Ed: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/index/europe

 

Or you could just become a digital nomad. There are a number of YouTubers who do this. Go somewhere for three months. Get an AirBnB so you don't have to worry about local taxes; setting up internet etc.

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I have 476 links about living in Spain. The research and suggestions part of this is over. I have my feet on the ground, my situation is unique, and I’ve found much of the preps useless. Airbnb? You can’t be serious. You’re talking about a younger person than me with money. 

 

I’m going to stop posting about my situation now. 

 

Thank you

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1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

 

I’m going to stop posting about my situation now. 

 

Thank you

Ed, please don't, we're concerned. You're getting a few suggestions you don't need but they're from people who weren't in on the original threads. A bit like the farmer asked for directions who says, well, I wouldn't start from here, but they're well meant.

Some of the meetup ideas seem sound if you can chase them down.

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GOT IT, PAUL ÷÷ delete away

 

And Mark, you're right.  I won't stop posting here. I just won't respond or comment on things I consider irrelative. 

 

Eduardo

Edited by Ed Rooney
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I'm glad you are reaching out for help. I have found that there are a lot of people in the world who really like helping people. I always smile at the button in elevators here that says "Help Is On The Way".

 

Paulette

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Edo,

 

Perhaps you could ask at a language school if anyone would be willing to come with you to translate for you when you are visiting government offices, hospital etc.

 

John.

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 Here's a suggestion FWIW.

 

How about hiring an English-speaking, freelance tour guide to help you negotiate with the people at government offices? IME guides are quite often hungry for a little extra cash. They can be pretty knowledgeable about matters other than tourist sights/sites as well.

Edited by John Mitchell
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19 hours ago, Stokie said:

Edo,

 

Perhaps you could ask at a language school if anyone would be willing to come with you to translate for you when you are visiting government offices, hospital etc.

 

John.

Very similar is to interchange conversation with Spanish people wishing to learn English. One hour Spanish and the second English.

BTW, if you know Italian you should learn Spanish very quickly.

Edited by Abiyoyo
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One of the best sources both in Nicaragua and Mexico City for bilingual English/Spanish speakers are computer stores :).  Also, expat groups tend to know people who are helpful.  I have one Nicaraguan friend who goes with me to doctor's offices.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the Spanish language empire is as large (in terms of native speakers) as the English language empire and often has the same attitude to those who didn't master Spanish in a month or two that English-only US citizens have, only they're more polite about.  The best connection you can make now is with a bilingual Spanish person or a genuinely bilingual foreigner who is close to near native fluent in Spanish.   The bureaucracy here won't admit to speaking any English, mostly, I think, to not risk sounding incompletely fluent.  If you risk your bad Spanish with them, often they'll risk their bad English with you and you will be able to work the meaning you need between the two languages.  

 

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That hopeless, helpless feeling is mind and body numbing.  Ed’s in real trouble. I’ve just recently crawled out of my hole.

Frankly, it’s hard to think straight when in these circumstances. It’s harder yet for some of us independent types to ask for help. Ed, if you can force that barrier aside, ask your ex-pat friend how you can solve your problem. Let her know of your desperation. 

Paulette is right that most people love to help.  I had a phone number to call and it took me two weeks to make the call for help. Then I bawled on the phone.  

I was so glad I made the call, and questioned my bull-headed, independent self why I didn’t do it sooner. I wasn’t out of my situation, but it was made better.

If there is a school, higher or lower, that teaches English, go there and speak to a teacher. Tell him/her your problem and ask them what you can do to get help with the red tape. Ed, the biggest and hardest thing you can do is to show your vulnerability to a stranger. Yet it is that vulnerability that makes people want to help. Let them see it.

And yes, ignore this if I’ve overstepped.

Betty

edited to add, I just googled “learning English in Seville, Spain” and got a map with a lot of red spots showing where English is taught.  Try making contact.

Edited by Betty LaRue
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6 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

That hopeless, helpless feeling is mind and body numbing.  Ed’s in real trouble. I’ve just recently crawled out of my hole.

Frankly, it’s hard to think straight when in these circumstances. It’s harder yet for some of us independent types to ask for help. Ed, if you can force that barrier aside, ask your ex-pat friend how you can solve your problem. Let her know of your desperation. 

Paulette is right that most people love to help.  I had a phone number to call and it took me two weeks to make the call for help. Then I bawled on the phone.  

I was so glad I made the call, and questioned my bull-headed, independent self why I didn’t do it sooner. I wasn’t out of my situation, but it was made better.

If there is a school, higher or lower, that teaches English, go there and speak to a teacher. Tell him/her your problem and ask them what you can do to get help with the red tape. Ed, the biggest and hardest thing you can do is to show your vulnerability to a stranger. Yet it is that vulnerability that makes people want to help. Let them see it.

And yes, ignore this if I’ve overstepped.

Betty

edited to add, I just googled “learning English in Seville, Spain” and got a map with a lot of red spots showing where English is taught.  Try making contact.

 

Edo,

My daughter worked for ELI language school in Sevilla and they were great people so she stayed longer than intended. As Betty and John suggest  perhaps they can help.

 

She also used the language exchange (inter cambio) to help learn Spanish, but that is for down the road the important thing is to get yourself settled.

 

Martin

 

BTW: When we complain about the bureaucracy of countries as an ex-pat we forget that we have usually spent a lifetime establishing all the bureaucratic credentials in our native country, so it is not surprising that our new home looks to be excessively bureaucratic. I am sure new immigrants to any country will have similar challenges, but perhaps not always the language issues

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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38 minutes ago, Martin P Wilson said:

 

BTW: When we complain about the bureaucracy of countries as an ex-pat we forget that we have usually spent a lifetime establishing all the bureaucratic credentials in our native country, so it is not surprising that our new home looks to be excessively bureaucratic. I am sure new immigrants to any country will have similar challenges, but perhaps not always the language issues

 

Curiosity, have you been an ex-pat? I can absolutely feel the pain that Ed does as living here in France their bureaucracy is a nightmare! The French know it but will do nothing about it.

 

A few years ago I was told by a French worker to read Asterix in Rome. It takes the mickey out of the French administration in the 50s. And it has not changed!!!

 

I'm very sure that the pain and frustration that Ed talks of in Spain is pretty the same as it is here in France. You are often faced with the "it's not my department" line as well as taking a form to an office and it needing about 3 different people to actually get it all signed off. And no, I am not kidding.

 

A couple of years ago I was given a car to use. Great! You go the office in the centre of town to sort out the change of ownership. But it takes one person to make sure you have filled out the form correctly then you are told to wait in another queue to pay the fee.

 

The one good thing the French have is that if you need something like a copy of your birth certificate then it's free unlike the UK.

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2 hours ago, Jools Elliott said:

 

Curiosity, have you been an ex-pat? I can absolutely feel the pain that Ed does as living here in France their bureaucracy is a nightmare! The French know it but will do nothing about it.

 

A few years ago I was told by a French worker to read Asterix in Rome. It takes the mickey out of the French administration in the 50s. And it has not changed!!!

 

I'm very sure that the pain and frustration that Ed talks of in Spain is pretty the same as it is here in France. You are often faced with the "it's not my department" line as well as taking a form to an office and it needing about 3 different people to actually get it all signed off. And no, I am not kidding.

 

A couple of years ago I was given a car to use. Great! You go the office in the centre of town to sort out the change of ownership. But it takes one person to make sure you have filled out the form correctly then you are told to wait in another queue to pay the fee.

 

The one good thing the French have is that if you need something like a copy of your birth certificate then it's free unlike the UK.

 

I too have enormous sympathy with Ed's predicament and especially facing such stress as one gets older. I am not downplaying the hassle by any stretch of the imagination, our children and friends have faced it. It is just that ex-pats can make the same complaint about our own countries (as even I can of the UK) because they do not have the history that residents have established over a lifetime, and it can still be difficult :( . And of course the ex-pat numbers are such that the process has never been optimised.

 

Not a full blown ex-pat but I rented a flat and lived in Amsterdam for 18 months (commuted most weeks), at least everybody spoke English but dealing with banks etc was difficult, as indeed it is in the UK even as a long-term resident (multiple contact points etc to complete a single task, inflexibility, producing multiple ids etc). Bureaucracies everywhere seemed to be designed to create jobs and work; I have seen it from both sides :( I have some ex-pat international student colleagues here in the UK and they are seeing some of the same frustrations about bureaucracy. One (from USA) had to have a weekend in Spain so her new visa could be issued!

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From what I remember of Britain's places where you need to go such as town halls; doctors etc there are a number of leaflets etc in different languages to help people. The UK is very well equipped to deal with ex-pats from other countries.

 

Again, France is pretty diverse with a number of people from a number of countries but you rarely see leaflets etc in any other language apart from at tourist attractions.

 

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Good news at last in 2 parts: my very kind and helpful America expat lady took charge and got my iPhone back. I had dropped it in the taxi. 

 

All’s well that ends well. 

 

Edo

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I hear you guys and gals. 

 

I was an an expat in Rome for 7 years in the ‘60s and an expat in Oxfordshire for 7 years in the ‘80s. I was younger with more energy but I’ve never experienced anything like I’ve faced here. 

 

My very limited ( forgotten ) Vietnamese is as understood as Italian here. 

 

I’m not sure I can learn another language at my ripe old age. And I can not navigate under the heavy load of detail that is dropped on me daily. 

 

But ... Getting my lost iphone back today has lifted my spirits, no question. 

 

Edo, somewhat south of Jools

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8 hours ago, Martin P Wilson said:

 

BTW: When we complain about the bureaucracy of countries as an ex-pat we forget that we have usually spent a lifetime establishing all the bureaucratic credentials in our native country, so it is not surprising that our new home looks to be excessively bureaucratic. I am sure new immigrants to any country will have similar challenges, but perhaps not always the language issues

 

Good point. No country has a monopoly on mindless bureaucracy.

 

But perhaps some are more mindless than others...

Edited by John Mitchell
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Here in the states, a lot depends on the state you’re in. In Oklahoma, to get a car tag it was a matter of going to a nearby tag agency to get a new car tag or renew my driver’s license. In and out in 5 minutes.

Moved to Kansas, 60 miles north of Oklahoma, and had to go to one huge place that served a big area just to get a Kansas driver’s license. Took a number, went to lunch, came back and still waited an hour and a half before our number was called. And paid way too much.

Then had to go to another place and wait again. They wouldn’t give a Kansas auto tag without charging $20 for an auto inspection that was no more than a glance under the hood. Probably checking the VIN number.  Simply a way to get another fee. It was a joke. Then the tag cost nearly $200....$80 in Oklahoma.

I will say that Kansas roads are better than Oklahoma’s, so I guess the money is put to good use. Especially the toll I have to pay in Kansas to get to Oklahoma. Which they just raised.  And pay again to reach my home here.  Pfffft.

Betty

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Yes, finding a way to charge yet another fee seems the various States ways.  In nyc I had to go down and get a non-drivers ID. My passport was not considered valid ID anymore. But at least we didn’t have to do it in Spanish. 

 

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4 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

Here in the states, a lot depends on the state you’re in. In Oklahoma, to get a car tag it was a matter of going to a nearby tag agency to get a new car tag or renew my driver’s license. In and out in 5 minutes.

Moved to Kansas, 60 miles north of Oklahoma, and had to go to one huge place that served a big area just to get a Kansas driver’s license. Took a number, went to lunch, came back and still waited an hour and a half before our number was called. And paid way too much.

Then had to go to another place and wait again. They wouldn’t give a Kansas auto tag without charging $20 for an auto inspection that was no more than a glance under the hood. Probably checking the VIN number.  Simply a way to get another fee. It was a joke. Then the tag cost nearly $200....$80 in Oklahoma.

I will say that Kansas roads are better than Oklahoma’s, so I guess the money is put to good use. Especially the toll I have to pay in Kansas to get to Oklahoma. Which they just raised.  And pay again to reach my home here.  Pfffft.

Betty

You mean the states don't even recognise each others' registrations? Sheesh.

We have common recognition across the EU. I can drive to the Russian border and not have to pay a penny........for now. In this case the bureaucracy has been devoted to removing itself.

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