These are the things I’ve discovered:
- I really appreciate running water, even more when it’s hot.
- Sucking teeth and shaking heads and complaining about the effort needed are universal traits, it turns out (it took us a week and five engineers to get fibre broadband).
- Boxes will go missing and you will have to chase things. Even if the boxes were labelled and numbered.
- Things will break. You have to make your peace with that.
- If you choose a quiet home in a cul-de-sac, no one, not even the postman, will know how to find it. Get used to giving really good instructions.
- I’m really grateful I speak Spanish but it’s exhausting being the interpreter-translator for the family.
- You gotta keep the window screens down almost all day, especially if you face south. Otherwise, you get a first-hand experience of what it feels like to live in an oven.
- Pay for the delivery and assembly service from WeCargo at IKEA. They come the next day, install everything, and take away the mess.
- Factor in at least 3 trips to IKEA, even if you have a list. You will forget things and realise you need other things.
- Memorise your NIE, also known as your Tarjeta de Trabajo. You will need it for EVERYTHING. Ordering online, signing for parcels, buying a travel card. Everything.
- Carry other photo ID with you, because the NIE does not have your photo on it.
- Learn to live on Madrid time. Lunch is late. The afternoon is slow. Things pick up again at 8pm. It’s perfectly sensible to eat dinner at 9.30pm because that’s when it’s cool enough to contemplate the effort it takes to cut and chew food.
- Also, don’t expect anything to get done in August. Everyone, including their grandma, is away.