Making the transition from being a tourist to living on Lanzarote can often be a daunting experience, given that for British immigrants there is a whole new language and culture to adjust to. But it needn’t be a daunting prospect as there are many positive aspects to moving abroad that can enrich your life in ways that would never have been possible if you stayed at home.
The most obvious place to start is to learn some Spanish. You don’t have to be fluent as there are plenty of people who can help you with paperwork and any formal requirements you need to undertake when you move here. However, learning enough to pass the time of day with your neighbours and local residents is important and will help to make you feel part of your local community.
There is a good range of ways to learn as well – from enrolling in a local language school to taking the classes offered through your Ayuntamiento, or simply finding an on-line course of study that allows you to practice pronunciation and build a vocabulary. It has never been easier to pick up the local lingo.
Once you have a smattering of words, try using them on your neighbours and don’t worry about making mistakes. Most Canarians will be delighted to find that their foreign vecinos are trying to acquire their language and will be happy to forgive any mistakes you make. The more you try, the more it will be appreciated.
And once you are able to say a few phrases or pick up the odd topic of conversation amongst Spanish speakers, it will make an enormous difference to passing the time of day in your local tapas bar or restaurant. It will also help you to absorb more about the culture of the Canary Islands, as you start to recognize words and customs.
Understanding the annual calendar of events, such as the fiesta of San Juan, for example, when bonfires are lit to mark midsummer, will ensure you are more in tune with your neighbours traditions and way of life. And these events, over time, will begin to shape your experience of living in the Canaries as well.
Making these kinds of adjustments helps to combat the feeling of isolation and boredom that can come to typify the expat experience, as moving abroad is not simply a question of sunbathing all day and drinking all night. Absorbing part of the local language and culture will assist you in feeling much more at home in Lanzarote.