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  • - 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.

  • And one of the things here is that people don't talk

  • about the fact I'm English all