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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

398: The trials and tribulations (of living in a foreign land)

Living in a foreign land can pose enormous challenges, not all of which are immediately apparent. As I try to get a little more comfortable in my little flat then 'tiny' problems crop up which require resolution. One of my bosses, many years ago, said that there are no problems in life, only solutions that haven't been found yet. Well, today I've been looking for four, as yet undiscovered, solutions. 1) I wanted to join the library - they have a good selection of foreign language (including English) books and until I get up to speed on learning Spanish then books in English will do very nicely. 2) Computer and internet problems - never an easy problem to resolve, even for an I.T. literate geek (retired) like me. 3) shelving & cupboards - shall I do it myself? or pay somebody who knows what they're doing?  4) Residence status - need to get it sorted before Brexit comes into play in case they decide to kick out British non-residents
Here's how the day went:
1.  The library
I went prepared, not quite fully prepared as it turned out, but well enough. I took my passport, my N.I.E (a bit like a Spanish National Insurance Number), and an electricity bill as proof of address. Then the nice librarian asked for a photograph, which took me by surprise. Thank goodness I had the foresight to suggest she photocopied the photo on my Russian visa. That was acceptable, for the nugatory cost of 10 cents. She helped me with the paperwork and, hey presto, I became the newest member of Salou's public library. Except they couldn't give me a membership card because their machine wasn't working.
2a.  Computer
I took my desktop PC in for repair a few weeks ago and for the not so nugatory charge of 72 Euros they fixed it for me. Or, as I've since discovered, partially fixed it for me. I can't open the windows store. I went back today to point this out to the man and he said it's probably because it's an unlicensed version of Windows 8.1. and there's nothing he can do about it. This is news to me. It was licensed when I bought it, of course  and I assume it was still licensed when it came out of the Polish repair shop in Warsaw. Now it's going to take time and effort to find a workaround.
2b.  The internet
The most frustrating problem of them all. I'm currently accessing the internet through a SIM card in my mobile wireless router. I thought this would save the cost of renting a landline. I pay 26 Euros for 26 GB. I've had it for a few months now and come to the conclusion that 26GB per month isn't enough. Giving English lessons over Skype soon knocks that into a cocked hat. I will have to bite the bullet and pay extra for a landline and ADSL/Fibre. I found a nice comparison site with different prices for the different providers in Spain. I would love to write and email and ask for what I want. Is there an email address for any of them? Nary a one. They all want you to phone. The last thing I want is a Spaniard talking to me over the phone - I have enough trouble understanding them face-to-face. It is really puzzling and frustrating. There are many thousands of Brits living here. Don't they want our custom? (and our money). I know that living in Spain I should speak Spanish. I'm getting there - slowly but I'm still only at a very basic level - if I want two beers I have to ask for one twice.
3 & 4.
Another time - I wouldn't want to be accused of boring anybody.
I think part of my frustration with life today is that it's been raining almost non-stop for the last 2 days. The rain in Spain falls mainly in the drain, or it would if the drains weren't bunged up with the thousands of tons of confetti thrown during the carnival two days ago. 
Two pictures today - the first shows a 'sludge gulper' which we happened across on the drive from Scotland down to England last week. Take a look at the site address on the door of the vehicle! The second shows the water running down the street - I never thought to bring wellies! N.B. Excuse the unusual angle - I am actually sober.

For a video clip I've decided to show the Goombay Dance Band (I remember them) with their 1981 hit "Rain, Rain, Rain".

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