DATELINE VALENCIA – In the last 36 hours, I have hired a lawyer, a Personal Assistant, opened a bank account, secured a second round of insurance that covers pre-existing conditions – because the first one didn’t, and toured 7 apartments. I’m a little bushed. But I have learned a lot about how things work. The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to dance. And not the Flamenco. There is a cadence to how things work here and I am starting to appreciate the pace and elegance of it. But it requires stamina.
ME: ‘I need a xyz – elephant, rental car, health insurance. Can you help me get any of these things?’
OTHER GUY: ‘No No No – this is impossible. There is no way we can do that. No way.’
ME: I look dismayed but am undaunted. I need this guy.
We talk a little. I explain who I am and that I have kids – this is real grease in Spain. I found this to be true in Greece and Lebanon too – so I pulled it out and used it liberally. I asked about his children or grand children, and thanked him profusely for even agreeing to meet me; expressing how sad I am that I won’t be able to do business with them. But I appreciate him taking the time.
THE OTHER GUY: ‘Well, maybe we could do something – but I don’t know.’
ME: ‘No, I don’t want to put you out. I totally understand you don’t want to take the risk with Americans. Even though we must prove financial stability to get a visa to live here, but of course, you have to protect yourself and your family.’
THE OTHER GUY: ‘No, I think I know someone who can help you. He has a xyz- elephant, rents cars and sells health insurance. I will call him.’
He gets on the phone. I recognize some of the words ‘Elefante’ and ‘coche’. Lots of rapid long conversation. He hangs up.
THE OTHER GUY: ‘He can’t come for 3 hours. Can you wait?’
ME: ‘Of course I can wait. You’re doing me a huge favor in helping me. I’ll stand right here. I won’t move.’
THE OTHER GUY: He frowns and sighs heavily. ‘Let me call him again.’
More rapid Spanish. Some walking around while gesturing. He hangs up.
THE OTHER GUY: ‘He is coming now.’
OK, maybe I don’t need to rent a car, and the elephant is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea. Everything in the world is done based on relationships. But I have never lived anywhere that is as important as it is in Spain. Building a network, not just of other expats, but of Spaniards from every walk of life, will be key to living here and being happy. Good thing I like to dance.
2 thoughts on “Shall we Dance?”
What did you think of the flats you toured?? Any keepers?
There are two possibles so far. One I adore – but the location isn’t my fav. The other has a great view and is very modern but the neighborhood lacks, well, that feeling of neighborhoodiness. I saw one today that was in the perfect neighborhood but the flat was a dollhouse. Jeff couldn’t have fit under the shower head. There is another one I can’t see until Monday that looks amazing in pics and the nieghborhood looks right. Some landlords dont appreciate that I’m from out of town but so far I’ve been able to get past that. 😉