What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Mijas?
I am Lisa Sadleir, I´m 41 years old. I have been living in Mijas for almost 3 years.
Why did you decide to move there?
We have been living and working in different parts of Spain and the islands for almost 20 years. Just over 4 years ago we left Fuerteventura to move to France ( a decision strongly influenced by my in laws). After a depressing 9 months we abandoned our newly bought home in France to return to our beloved Spain. Not wanting to live in the hustle and bustle of the coast we fell in love with Mijas pueblo and the surrounding area.
What nationality are you and your partner?
My husband and myself are British born although we have both been abroad for almost 20 years.
How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
Joshua, our son is 7 this month and Francesca, our daughter, was 4 in July. They were both born in Fuerteventura.
Do you work and if so what do you do?
I have my own business, Costa Consulting Bureau, offering Expat & Relocation Services. Our website provides important information for people living and working in Spain. We make living in, and moving to Spain, easy and stress free.
How do you find juggling work and looking after your children?
I am lucky to have a very supportive husband who also works from home and so is able to help with household duties. I am however very careful not to let my passion for my work result in neglect of my children. They grow up so quickly and I do not want to miss any part of it. I chose Mijas pueblo as the location for my office as it is close to the children´s school so, every day at 2pm, we all go home for lunch together and they are able to come to my office on a regular basis.
What was your experience of having a baby/babies in Mijas?
Both my children were born via emergency caesarian section in Fuerteventura. Facilities were pretty limited (any complication would result in the need for a flight to Gran Canaria), and I was made to lie flat on my back during the whole process of being induced–no alternative methods, position changes or birthing balls. Though both children were overdue and weighed 4.5 kg each, and my water had broken, the doctors did not find it necessary to inspect me until 6 hours after being admitted. Because of that the attending nurse made an error that was not discovered for a long time. I was induced for 5 hours before the doctor discovered the cord was wrapped around the baby and so induction was futile. Both children were and still are very healthy so I have no regrets. My only criticism would be of the lack of communication. At no point was anything explained to me. I had to listen to the conversation and translate for my husband. The birth was complicated and my discomfort could easily have been avoided. Had the gynecologist/obstetrician visited me sooner they would have discovered the attending nurse’s error sooner, but I still have two beautiful and health children so no need to complain. It would not be fair to criticize the system for one person’s mistake.
What was your experience of relocating to Mijas with children?
Mijas pueblo is a perfect place for our children to grow up. There is always something happening. The ferias are small enough that we do not worry about losing them (unlike when we venture down to the larger ferias on the coast). Anytime we wander around the village their friends call out to them … it is a lovely, safe, family environment. Imagine going to school in a village where you can get stuck behind horse and carriages anddonkey taxis … it´s almost a fairy tale for a child!
How well integrated would you say you and your child(ren) are?
We are lucky as our children are very well integrated as they attend the local state school. I assist with school activities whenever possible so and so am also accepted by the parents. It does take time though. I think this is due to the transient nature of foreigners here.
What language do you speak to your child(ren)?
At home we always speak English to the children as they speak Spanish all day at school. Except in recreo, when they sometimes have English children to play with. When we are doing homework , we speak in Spanish.
Do you rent or own a property and how did you find the renting/buying process?
We were renting a house up until April this year when we bought our own home. Due to speaking the language fluently and understanding the legal system and Spanish people, neither renting nor buying was a difficult process for us. After so many years in spain and having made our mistake in France, we were very clear on what we wanted and how to go about getting it.
How welcoming have the the locals have been towards you and your family?
We are now fully integrated in the village amongst the Spanish community. It has however taken a couple of years, despite being completely fluent in the language. Again, this is due to the locals seeing so many foreigners come and go. Our integration has also been thanks to our amazing children.
What is your impression of childcare and education in Mijas?
In Mijas pueblo, nursery facilities are limited. There is only one state nursery. All the private nurseries are located further down towards the coast. The primary school is great. The school was our main reason for relocating to this area. As we never intended for our children to attend international schools, we researched schools before deciding where to live. We are very happy with the standard of education and support given to the children. There is also an Instituto in the village which means the children can be educated here for the next ten years. After that, we will see!
What school(s)/nursery(ies) do your children go to?
Both children are at CEIP San Sebastian in Mijas pueblo.
Why did you choose this school/these schools and are you happy with your choice?
Are there any services, activities for kids, day-trips for kids, family-friendly restaurants or kids’ shops you’d like to recommend?
All the restaurants in the village are family friendly. There are after school activities offered every day at CEIP San Sebastian, and the town hall also offer activities for all ages. I am actually in the process of developing a new website on Mijas that will have all kinds of information about life in the village and surrounding areas.
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Mijas?
Disadvantage: We do not have our own family around us to share the fun and ferias with (although they often come to visit). Advantage: We are broadening our children´s horizons, giving them so many opportunities to choose the life they want to live when they are older.
Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
We have chosen to live here as we believe it is the best place for our children to grow up. Up until now we have had no reason to question our decision. We love our family life in Mijas, and the more we learn about it, the more we realize what a good decision we have made.
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Mijas with children?
Moving to another country with children can be difficult, particularly if you do not speak the language. Before you move, do plenty of research and do not believe everything you hear on the grapevine. I have helped families with very young children and people with teenagers who have moved to this area and are very happy. However, I have met families that rushed over and have lived to regret it. My website www.familylifeinspain.com is a true family diary of our life here. www.ccbspain.com is a factual website giving the correct answers to people’s questions about procedures and bureaucracy in Spain. Have a look through them and do not hesitate to send me any questions, however trivial they may seem.
Would you ever consider moving back to the UK?
We never say never but, at this moment in time, it is extremely unlikely. Our home is in Spain.
What couldn´t you live without in Mijas?
I couldn´t live here without my home, my family, the clean clear air and the “mañana” sleepy feeling first thing in the morning as the village gets ready for the working day and the coach loads of tourists that visit.
What could you live without in Mijas?
At the moment … nothing! We are so happy here. Long may it last.