What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Jacarilla?
Hi my name is Naomi and I am 33. I have lived in Jacarilla just over 4 years.
Why did you decide to move there?
Well we started off on the cost in a golf resort called Villamartin. We stayed there for 6 months but found that we wanted to intergrate more and we couldn't do this in that area. We then found Jacarilla and fell in love with the fact that it is only 1/2 an hour from the coast but feels a lot more Spanish. It has mountain views, beautiful countryside and local schools.
What nationality are you and your partner?
How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
I have Bethanie who is 14 and Erin who is 11.
Do you work and if so what do you do?
I am a freelance nail specialist and I work in a busy salon nearby and also from home. I work 4 days in the salon and 2 from home so it's pretty busy. I love my job and feel very lucky to be doing what I love whilst living in Spain. My husband is an art tutor and works full time teaching from a studio at out house.
What was your experience of having a baby/babies in Jacarilla?
Both my children were born in the UK so unfortunately I can't comment on this.
What was your experience of relocating to Jacarilla with children?
The first few months we just felt like we were on holiday plus the girls couldn't start school until the September and we arrived in February. We spent a lot of time exploring and making the most of the time so that we could find the kind of lifestyle we wanted to achieve. I really wanted the girls to go to a Spanish school as we hope to stay for a very long time and I thought this would give them the best chance of being accepted and also to be able to go on to study and work in Spain in the future. Of course they may not choose to do this but it gives them the option. My eldest daughter has recently gone back to live in the UK with her father but has the language now so hopefully that will be of use to her in the future.
How well integrated would you say you and your child(ren) are?
I think due to working so much we are not as intergrated as we would like. If I am absolutely honest because my husband and I both have a mainly English speaking client base we have not pushed ourselves as we had intended to. We attend fiestas in our village and mix with local people when there are local things going on. My youngest daughter however is completely immersed in Spanish life and 90% of her friends are Spanish. We are lucky that there are not many English children at the school as otherwise it would have been easy for her to latch on to them instead.
What language do you speak to your child(ren)?
Do you rent or own a property and how did you find the renting/buying process?
We rent. It is very easy to find lovely places to rent and since we have been in Spain the prices have lowered quite a bit due to the financial crisis. We definately get a lot for our money in terms of space and location. Inland tends to be cheaper I think. The only downside to renting is that we have had to move to different properties on more than one occasion because of owners selling or the bank repossessing the property.
How welcoming have the the locals have been towards you and your family?
For us they have been very welcoming and friendly. I think it must be hard for a traditional village to accept newcomers from afar plus the various holidaymakers that have bought property here. We are very respectful of the Spanish culture and traditions and do feel privileged to be here.
What is your impression of childcare and education in Jacarilla?
I don't really have experience of chilcare as I haven't had the need to use it. The education is different and I guess some children may find it too much. I like the way that there is a mutual respect with the children and teachers and that they let them experience life how it i,s rather than mollycoddle them. There is a fair bit of homework and we have had to speak with the teacher as sometimes it can take up the whole evening barely leaving time to eat but recently this has been better.
What school(s)/nursery(ies) do your children go to?
My youngest daughter goes to the village school and my eldest went to the IES in Benejuzar which is the next village to us.
Why did you choose this school/these schools and are you happy with your choice?
It is the only school in the village so the only choice for us and we have been really happy with it. The IES school however is very different. I think a lot of secondary schools are the same and if you have a child that wants to work and do well then they probably will. However there is a lack of support and encouragement for children that need it. My youngest is set to start the IES this September so we will see how it goes..........I have told her that we would look for an alternative if need be!
Are there any services, activities for kids, day-trips for kids, family-friendly restaurants or kids’ shops you’d like to recommend?
We are quite near to the big attractions in Benidrorm which are Terra Mitica, Mundomar and Terra Natura which is our favorite as the enclosures are big and it's fun plus educational. If you like horses then the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre is a must. The isle of Tabarca is a great day out and boats go from Torrevieja and Santa Pola and the beaches there are fab. More locally my daughter attends Footwork Dance School in Montesinos and this is really her extra curricular activity. She has made many friends there of differing nationalities and gets to perform locally and afar in shows and fiestas. We have 1 restaurant in our village called Meson Pedro which is very friendly and offers traditional Spanish food.
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Jacarilla?
The advantage for me is just pace of life and my children gaining a few more years of childhood and freedom. The only disadvantage is my own and that is the language and the having the desire to push forward and learn more. I have never worked so hard as I have living in Spain just to make ends meet. The way of life is great but be under no illusions that it's an easy life as the stress of lack of money is tough. We have just had our best Winter so far so I am hoping that the worst is over now and we can continue to build our business.
Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
Maybe some village activities where mums and children could do things together, like sports day or a summer fayre to raise money for the school.
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Jacarilla with children?
Use the the wonderful tool that is the internet to research as it really is invaluable. There are many forums where you can be in touch with other people already living in Spain that will have been though the experience of childbirth here. Take a holiday and visit areas that you think you may like.
What couldn´t you live without in Jacarilla?
What could you live without in Jacarilla?