What kind of ‘expat’ do you want to be?

Will you be a typical expat or guiri in Andalucia? Or are you aiming at total integration?

The first thing many newcomers to Andalusia do is: to subscribe to Expat Groups.

Be it in the nearest shopping mall or on Facebook, you will soon stumble over dozens of notices and groups: Expats in this village, South-Africans in Malaga, Dutch in Monda, bridge for expats, and so on.

At least among the other foreigners around you, and there are a lot, you will not have any issue making friends, and very quickly so.

Expat‘, personally I’ve always found that a strange phenomenon though.
After all, it’s empty, all it refers to is: out of the own country. 

Whereas I moved to Spain with the idea: Spain is my country. The Spanish my compatriots. I’m an ‘inpat‘ – being in the country I belong to.

For sure, such Expat groups are very useful for newcomers, to help them through the first months or year, as first social circle that propels them to a next level. The risk you run though is that you will still not learn Spanish, still not change your time-schedule to the mediterranean one, et cetera – to forever remain an expat. ‘My own nationality and country but then in the sun‘.

A guiri, that not so positive name given to the foreigner/tourist who always seems to be out of touch (the pale tourist with white socks in sandals being the most referred to example).

More examples of ‘guiri’ behavior:

  • Ordering tinto de verano (summer wine) in winter.
  • Going to restaurants at 6PM (3 hours earlier than any Andalusian)
  • Going to a bar at 8PM and to bed at 11PM (when the locals are slowly preparing to go out)
  • Talking during a flamenco performance (an almost religious event)
  • Drinking a lot and fast (instead of enjoying sips all throughout the day)
  • Moving around in big cliques and taking the best table at any local fiesta

Very quickly now: Andalusians are very, very, very hospitable.
Tourism sits in their blood, for generations, and they do not mind any of the above.
But a chuckle here and there, o yes – wouldn’t you?

As you will hear some archetypical Expats sigh “you know what the Spanish are like“, Andalusians can refer to “oh he’s a guiri” and the others will instantly know what is meant.


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