Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - Hello, everybody. This is Jack from tofluency.com, along with my wife Kate. And if you have seen one of our lessons before, then you'll know that we have natural conversations about a variety of different topics. And that's what this video is about. So if you are new, then welcome to you. Please like this video and also subscribe. And check out the description, because I'm going to leave key vocabulary there so you can learn some new words and phrases. Okay, that was a long introduction. What are we going to talk about? - (laughs) Okay. So today, I'd like to talk about the experience of living in a foreign country. - Yeah, the experience of living in a foreign country, which is what I am doing right now, what we both did when we lived in Spain. - And if you're learning English, you're probably wondering, you know, what it would be like to live in America or the UK. Maybe you've had an experience living or visiting one of these countries, so. - Yeah. And I know a lot of people who follow us here live in the UK and live in America. We get a lot of emails from people, so it's kind of interesting to think about it in that way. So we moved to Spain in 2008. - Wow. - 10 years ago. - Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's been 10 years. - It's been 10 years. - Okay. - And we first, we lived in Bilbao for a year and then we lived in Valencia, in Spain. How can we start this? What do you think is a good place to start? - Yeah. So I was thinking we could talk a little bit about what it's like to be in a foreign country and some of the things that we missed. - While living there. - Yes. - Right, yeah. And some of the things that we miss about not being in Spain now. - Yeah, yeah. Like some of the things that were the hardest at the time, and some of the best things that we took away from that experience. - Okay, perfect. So one of the biggest challenges we faced when we got there was finding somewhere to live. And I do know that some people didn't want us because we were foreign. They heard the accent, you know. Shockingly, they didn't think I was Spanish when I was speaking to them over the phone (laughs). So it was quite difficult to find a place but not just because of that but because also we didn't know the regulations, we didn't know how things worked. - Yeah, I think that's a really big part of living in a foreign country that people can find challenging is like there's so much that you just don't know exactly how to do things. - Exactly. - And little things. Like big things, like finding an apartment, but also little things like getting food at the supermarket. - Yeah. Or one thing about Bilbao was when you are at a bar or a restaurant, you just throw napkins, you throw the little toothpicks, the pinchos. - Oh, pinchos. I miss pinchos, and the food in Spain. - Yes. So pinchos are like these little snacks, usually bread and then something on top. - Yes. - But when you are finished with whatever you're using, you throw it on the floor. - In Bilbao. - In Bilbao. Yeah. The other thing about Bilbao, people drove really well compared to Valencia. - (laughs) We love Valencia though too, so yeah. - Oh yeah, I'm just saying in Valencia, people were crazy on the roads. - True. - True. And you had to, when the green man came on to cross the road, you had to be very quick. - Yeah, you had to run. - (laughs) Yeah. Because it gave you like five seconds to cross six lanes of traffic. - True. - But going back to Bilbao, it took us a long time to find a place. And one of the things I remember was having to pay the realtor a month's rent because they helped us find this apartment. - This apartment. - We didn't know that. - Nope. - That was something new to us. - It was a surprise. - It was a surprise. So it took us a long time to find a place. We also found it difficult to know when there was a holiday and the fact that everything is closed. Everything is closed. - Everything is closed. Which is amazing, because people take that time to go back to their villages, to really close up stores and businesses and take that break. But when you're foreign and you don't know how those kind of cultural things work, it can be difficult. - Yes. And just a note on that, it helps protect family businesses, doesn't it, because they can take that time off knowing that everything else is closed. One thing as well, when we had to get furniture, where did we go? - We went to Ikea. - What happened at Ikea? - We didn't know that the subway had closed and we bought an entire apartment worth of furniture. - Yeah. - We had a bed and a table and some chairs already, but we got everything else. And so we just rolled out of Ikea with our shopping carts full, (laughs) no idea how to get it home. - Yeah, so I remember standing there after going through the checkout and just looking at the delivery service as well, which was closed. Subway had closed. And people were starting to look at us and talk. - And talk about us. - They thought that we were from... - I don't remember. - Finland. - From Finland. That's amazing. That's really cool. - So what happened? - Well, I think that all of these little experiences are really what was hardest for me about living in a foreign country, which is just trying to be, you know, just trying to live and have people see me as a person. - Right. - Who, you know. And so many little things, like it's hard to have a sense of humor when you don't speak the language, and probably you're finding this if you're learning English, that your sense of humor may not translate. - Exactly. - So jokes and things like that. And then just trying to have a, you know, conversation and take care of business is challenging. - Take care of business. - Yeah. - And just to finish the story, okay, in case people are wondering. - Yes. It has a happy ending. - Yeah, at Ikea there was a guy who worked there and he saw that we were having problems and he took us with all our stuff back to our apartment. - Yes. - Which was very nice. - It was amazing. We're very thankful still. - Still, definitely. - 10 years later. - So yeah. What are two or three, you've got a question? - Yeah, I was just gonna say. So we talked about some things that were challenging at first. But I almost forgot those now, it's been so long. What are some of the amazing things about living in Spain that have really stuck with you? - That's the question I was gonna ask. - Oh. - Yeah, so we had the same idea. Well, I think a big part of it for me was it was the first time that I was working and living on my own. So I went to university and I was living on my own then, but when I was working in my hometown, I was living with my parents. So it was the first time that I was living and working on my own. And I remember getting to Bilbao and just being so excited. And we were really open to trying new things and really experiencing Spain. But some of the things I really enjoyed, part of it is the bar hopping and going out with people and the culture of having a little bit of alcohol and a little bit of food, going to the next place. And the friends that we made there was part of that experience too. The people were great. - So amazing. - Really good fun. And when we talk about a sense of humor, where we could laugh and joke about things if, if they spoke English. - (laughs) Yes. And by the end of the experience too, we could understand more about the sense of humor and... - Yeah, and have the context for that too. Because a lot of the time you're learning about the current political situation, you have to learn about the local football team and the history of it and why that's important. You have to learn all these different things. The audio's still going. To like really get that context and to understand what is going on there. - Yeah, absolutely. - We worked as English teachers, didn't we? - We did, uh huh, both of us. - I also just enjoyed being in a big city with lots of public transport. - Yes. You know, some countries are a little bit harder to kind of live a casual young life in and I think that the United States in places can be challenging if you don't have a car, if you don't have, you know, I guess savings for health insurance and things like that. Yes, so there were so many good things too. And now you've started this whole other chapter of your life where you're living in a foreign country and I forget that sometimes. - Yeah, you do forget that. - Yeah, do you forget it too? - Yeah. I see where I live now as home.