Have you ever tried to apply for benefits in Spain? Me neither. But, fingers crossed our experience may be able to help others in the same situation as us.
We have never claimed a penny (or centimo, if you prefer) from the Spanish government. And now with the work situation the way it is, we have no choice, like many, many others.
We have a list as long as the street of bills to pay, schoolbooks to buy, etc and let me tell you it is NOT an easy life as an expat here in Spain. It can be daunting when you don't have a clue where to go or who to talk to, but I'm sure we'll get there in the end.
My hubby is off work at the moment, we're waiting for word from the hospital to have his hernia removed. He had two before, but the silly hospital only took one away. Now the other one has woken up and realised it's lonely, so hubby has to go to the Mutua once a month to be assessed while we're awaiting that all important call from the hospital. As well as this he's at the doctor's every week for a 'baja' (sicknote?) So that part of it we have sorted. We make a weekly appointment and off he goes. But sick pay doesn't pay the rent. And, of course all the time he's signed off he can't work. So he's been in front of the telly ALL summer. Flick, flick, flick....
I'm told that the 'crisis' is almost over and fingers crossed things will get better for everyone here who's struggling, now we need to wait for a piece of paper (always need lots of those...) the 'certificado de empresa' and see where we go from there...
"Poco a poco", eh?
Sunday, 20 September 2015
Blast from the Past!
My mum recently found this, on the back it has "Marriott 2002". I think I remember that night. Vaguely. I was working for a booking agency back in the day and I think in this photo I am wearing the famous "DISCO DIVA" T shirt. It was definitely taken in London, I know that much. There was a dinner and disco for agency staff at one of the Marriott Hotels. We may have visited a few more hotels on that particular trip. We went on trips like this quite regularly. Well, I went on trips like this quite regularly, with my mate. Some were organised by the company, and sometimes we just went because we wanted to and because we loved it. Bed and Breakfast in central London for 25 pounds! Yes, I know! And we're not talking shabby little backstreet hostels, either!
"Yeah, we've got a train to catch! See ya Monday!"
It's not what you know, eh? In a job like that you get talking to the lovely folks in reservations and promise them that you will personally recommend the hotel to your substantial database of clients, so free upgrades, breakfasts thrown in, use of the gym and spa...if it paid a bit more I may have enjoyed it. Most of the time I was listening to the radio keeping an ear out for new tunes to buy. Yes, buy, I had no idea about downloading back then. Vinyl all the way for this bedroom DJ. Oh, yeah.
Ok, we went to London as often as we could for the weekend, blagging "agency rates" at most of the hotels in the capital. This was an excuse to go clubbing. We'd buy the DJ, Ministry, and whatever other clubbing magazines were about back then and scoured the listings for London. If Tiesto or Armin Van Buuren were in town, we were usually there. It was a great excuse to leave work early on a Friday with our little holdalls. And I always took my little blue stereo with a couple of CDs to play while we got ready to go out. The atmosphere was always AMAZING in London, Everywhere we went, there didn't seem to be any attitude in any of the 'big' clubs. We went to Heaven, Ministry of Sound, The Cross, Turnmills (sadly no longer there, I recently found out). There was something special about being amongst that many people, all feeling the love, man. And leaving after an amazing night to dawn breaking as we walked back to the hotel, or maybe even straight to the train station if we hadn't bothered to book a hotel for the night.
Anyway, back to the Marriott. Beautiful hotels, beautiful food. I think there were lots of companies there, similar to ours.
After the dinner, the disco kicked off and I remember the music being naff. As I have always appreciated my tunes I was quick to let the DJ know that I didn't really like his style, let's say. There were people of all ages there, so I think he could have played more of a variety. So I requested "the biggest tune in his box" and he gave me a shout out and played...
Are you sure?
I was DISCO DIVA, I certainly wasn't going to be seen throwing shapes to Abba, thank you very much.
Not quite what I had in mind, so I found my way to the bar and found myself saying "another vodka, barman!" quite a lot.
Saturday, 12 September 2015
As a parent we all want what's best for our kids, right? We try to teach them to be tolerant of others at all times, right?
Take the other day, for example, we were in the local Burger King when my daughter spotted a kid not much older than her, on a scooter, with a false leg. Not a flesh coloured one either. A metal one. She thought it was fascinating, and couldn't stop staring. The boy carried on scooting past us not seeming to care. Which is good, you are what you are, right? I told her not to keep staring as this is considered rude.
There's a black girl in her class at school. She's picked on non stop by certain classmates, her mother is always at the school having words with the teachers and told me that (thankfully) my daughter wasn't one of the culprits. I taught her better, I like to think. This girl is one of her friends. But she has asked me in the past;
"Why is her skin a different colour to mine?"
"Why is she always getting into trouble for sticking up for herself?"
I told her that this particular girl will probably grow up to be another Beyonce and the haters will be kicking themselves. People who suffer at the hands of others often remember those who are nice to them in their dark hours.
Then there's my husband's friend with the missing finger. She spotted that before I did! We all have our little quirks and differences, that's what I'm trying to say. I just take people at 'face value' myself, if you are nice to me, then I will be nice back. I don't care if you're black, white, yellow, brown, pink or purple. It's your attitude towards others that counts.
I don't understand bullies. What's the point? If you're a bad person Karma will eventually come knocking on your door to have a word.
I reminded my kid that she has a scar on her head from her operation as a toddler but you can barely see that because her hairline hides it pretty well, and if she doesn't mention it, no one would even know it's there. But that's what makes her unique. She doesn't have to explain herself to anyone if she chooses not to do. Every scar tells a story, and this scar is hers. If she wants to tell it to her friends she can, but nobody gives her any nonsense about it.
See? We all have our little quirks and differences and one minute I'm telling her that we're all "different" in our own special way, but at the same time we're "all the same".
No wonder she's confused!
"We all bleed the same colour" is what I've settled on saying now, and I hope my girls will grow up to be tolerant and understanding to all.