Meet our expats: Sarah Hawes

13 October 2017 0 Comments Category: blog, Expats Interviews, Living in Spain



My parents retired in Spain in 1986 after 20 years of holidays here on the Costa del Sol.  My heart was in Spain from the first holiday.

I knew many years before I moved here permanently that I wanted to live here.

Because Mike, my husband and I already had a close network of friends and associates here on the Costa del Sol from my parents living here, we chose Malaga Province.

I remember like it was yesterday the day we left the UK and sailed over to Santander.  My husband and I giggled like children as we sat on the boat and bobbed out into the bay of Plymouth and out to sea towards our new life in Spain, heading towards Santander.

There has never been one single day that I regretted the move.  Our children and family love to visit us here.  We have the best of both worlds in Spain.

I love to work and what I particularly love about Spain is real networking.  People like to meet you face to face.  This builds trust and relationships.  It works and I have the most amazing group of friends and business associates here in Spain, probably more so than I ever had in the UK.

My background is in sales, which has helped me build my business, I genuinely feel blessed.  I Work was one of my biggest concerns moving to Spain, not that it deterred me.  I had a plan and worked at it.

I´m a member of various network groups and we are like extensions of each other’s businesses.

Costa Women is a perfect example of people working together.  When I joined Costa Women and met Ali Meehan, the creator of Costa Women in Spain, I made a fantastic friend.   It´s a great group where we all help each other.  There are members from all nationalities.  And I´m very lucky to have some great Spanish business friends.  I love it when I say the wrong thing in Spanish and they help me.  We learn from each other.   Teamwork at it´s best.

It was Ali who introduced me to Caser and I am so grateful to her for that.

The first image of Spain you had?

That´s easy.  My first image of Spain was in 1966, the year England won the world cup against Germany.  My first holiday here when I was 8 years old.

My family decided to holiday in Spain, having always holidayed in Cornwall.   Following a horrible experience on the beach in Cornwall after my dad pulled some people out of the sea in a rip tide, my parents vowed not to holiday there again.  He was awarded a National Humane Society Award for his bravery.  Sadly the people drowned when the tide turned and we never returned as a family, not until I was in my 40´s with my husband.  That image never left me of my father ploughing through the rough seas in vain to help those people.

Favourite city in Spain?

Ooh that’s a toughie as I love so many cities in Spain, but a very special place in my heart is Pamplona for the food, the fun, the scenery, the special friends I have there, Asier and Laia.

I have had some magical trips to Pamplona and it never disappoints.  Plus the contrast of scenery to the Costa del Sol.  One day rain, one day snow and then sun.  There is such a contract.

Also Malaga.  Who could not fall in love with Malaga, again I have very special friends in Malaga.  It’s beautiful.  I adore Malaga for the culture, the architecture, the food, the people.  It’s got the whole package.

Favourite food?

Well that was a brilliant link.   I’m vegan … it’s so easy to find lovely food to eat.  The fruit and vegetables are fresh and delicious.  And the avocados are just too divine.  The best I have ever tasted.  Basically anything vegetarian and or vegan.  Our local chiringuito even make vegetarian paella … delicious.  What I especially love is the fresh fruit and vegetables available in supermarkets at sensible prices.  The quality of produce is mind blowing.  Yes, my favourite food is … well food to be honest haha.

What word do you have trouble pronouncing or for a time you used to find especially difficult?

Ejercicio …. My teeth get stuck and I dribble when I say it …. Not a good look!

The best thing about Spain?

So many things about Spain are special.  For me, it’s the contrast between each autonomous community.

The scenery changes dramatically from Andalucia to Murcia and again when you go from Alicante south to Alicante north.  The contrast of the south of country to the north and then the magnificent cities.  I holiday in Spain as I never tire of it.  I don´t believe that even if I live to 110, will I get to see every city.

And the worst thing?

Paperwork … this is a common frustration for many people, Spanish included.  But it’s a small price to pay for near paradise.  There has to be a downside … just one doesn´t there?

What didn’t you know about the Spanish?

I had no idea how sophisticated their electronic systems were.  Why don’t all countries have a national IDbnumber? Just the one that links everything to a person.

For immigrants in Spain the NIE number identifies you for everything.

I had no idea the amount of dialects and languages spoken in Spain.  But then I didn´t truly appreciate the size of the country and vast distances between towns and cities.  That was a true eye-opener.  And no hose pipe bans?  UK you could learn a thing or 50 from Spain!  Spain is an evolving country.   People in the UK don´t fully appreciate just how sophisticated Spain is.  But then a walk along the paseo in a beautiful city, with elegant people all around you should tell you something.  Yes the Spanish people are classy … in my humble opinion.

There is so much more to Spain than the Costas, so very much more.

The Spanish health system is awesome.  I had no idea.

Name a typical Spanish expression

Me estás tomando el pelo … you are pulling my leg

Any myths or stereotypes you’ve found to be untrue?

Spanish are always on holiday.

Couldn´t be further from the truth.  On average the Spanish work at least 2 weeks more than British people.  With a basic working week of 40 hours, compared to 36 average in the UK, they work so hard and throughout the summer.

Would you return to your home country?

To see my children, to visit friends, but then return very quick.  Spain is my home.  It´s where my heart is.

I adore Spain.  She´s a beautiful, lady.

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