It Could be You – Laurence Careza

21 March 2017 0 Comments Category: Expats Interviews, Living in Spain

My name is Careza Laurence and I’m from Belgium. I bought a house in Mijas, Andalusia one year ago. My project was to open a guesthouse. I’d travelled a lot in the past (Sri Lanka, South Africa, Canada and other countries) always with my project in mind. But when my son turned 20 I thought it was about time to stop dreaming and make the big move. I thought about what would be needed to make my business a successful one and Andalusia turned out to be the best place for us. Easy connexions with Belgium to see the family, a summer season that could last all year long because of the weather … In the cultural field, I remembered that Andalusia had the nicest towns I’d ever seen, such as Granada, Seville, Córdoba, Ronda … not to mention all those white villages. Mijas, although being smaller, benefited from an international reputation that helped it attract tourists.

What I like the most about living in Spain is the Spanish way of life; Spaniards are hard workers but don’t forget to enjoy life. They go out any day of the week. They have traditional festivities all year round and like to live outside, so it’s always lively. Also, you feel safe, the police are respected and people show respect and are helpful and kind to you.

I love the situation of Mijas. We’re only 30 minutes away from the airport, and 35 minutes from Málaga and Marbella. We’re in the heart of Andalusia.

I think Málaga has grown very nicely without losing its personality. The mix between the old town and the marina is an example to other towns. Tapear, as they say, on the roof terrace of the Marriott Hotel is a memorable way of going out … (nearly as nice as our own roof terrace ;-)).

I started to learn Spanish two years ago and really appreciated the fact that Spanish is very accessible to French speakers. I continue to follow courses in the municipality of Mijas now, as they have three institutions where you can go to learn, with up to four different levels. I met other foreigners there with whom we only use Spanish (not English) as they come from Denmark, China, Italy or Ukraine, to mention just a few.

I still have a lot to learn (I’m not studying hard enough ;-)) but I quickly managed to understand and make myself understood. This was especially important as the majority of our guests in July and August used to come from Seville, Barcelona, Madrid and other Spanish cities, but we work with a Dutch travel agency now and most of our guests speak English. I have to switch languages all the time and use French, Spanish and English. That’s my daily gym ;-).

What I’d export to my country is the Spanish way of thinking. You can live with less as long as you have your family and friends. I also appreciate the fact that they’re not pushy when you go to a restaurant. If you want to share a plate or only take a starter, they won’t look at you badly.

My first impression when I arrived here was that everything about the administration was complicated. I met some Belgians who seemed to want to help you but were only after your money. I go to speak to any administration myself now and finally everything has turned out nicely. Paso a paso is a typical expression I had to deal with …

After one year here, I already have lunch as late as they do … never before 14:00. I’m so pleased with what I’ve achieved. I’m now the owner of a running business that allows me to have such an amazing way of life. I meet people from all around the world, people who are here for leisure and to relax. My work involves mainly marketing and public relations, which I love. I’ve created my own job and am proud of what we offer to our guests. The environment is unbelievable.

I’m so lucky to be next to a beautiful equestrian centre (Rancho Acebuchal) and have horses as friends. The magnificent golf course of La Cala is just next door. I’ll have the time to enjoy it myself one day ;-). Meanwhile, it’s our guests who are spoilt at La Careza de Mijas. Don’t hesitate to have a look to our website and share it with your friends or family if they’d like to visit you here in Spain.


If you have some relatives coming over and if you like La Careza please do not hesitate to share …
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