For years, Arnhem Maike (33) and Mike (32) have dreamed of taking a beautiful trip. Ideas were exchanged about a long trip through America, then settling in Spain. However, the plan did not materialize immediately. As of October 2020, they decided to skip the US trip and go to Spain.
“The decision was made quickly. Within six months we were living in Spain with our two daughters.
Ecological mango plantation
“After four weeks of traveling around Spain to look at properties, we found the house we live in now: on top of a hill in Andalusia.” A big change for the couple, because where you would normally buy a house with a garden, Maike and Mike bought a villa with a garden of no less than 700 mango trees.
“Thanks to this garden, we were able to start our business immediately, but neither of us had green fingers.” Mackay says. “Initially we studied a lot about organic farming. In Spain, farmers use a lot of chemicals when growing their products, and they are completely unaware of sustainable and ecological cultivation. That’s what we stand for, we want to live as naturally as possible.
‘Back to Basics’
“We have an outbuilding at our house that we’ve converted into a holiday apartment. We’ve also built a family home and are working on an ecological dome tent for guests to stay in. It runs entirely on solar panels, has a composting toilet and you can choose to unplug it. Absolutely. Back to basics.” The couple’s goal is to create ecological awareness among their guests. “We want to inspire people to live differently and show them what it means to be close to nature.”
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Although the family has lived in Spain for less than two years, they feel completely at home. “Our daughters (3 and 6) go to Spanish school and already speak the language well. We have nature and we have a lot of time for our family. The kids are involved in everything and you can take them everywhere. We recently attended a neighborhood party where all the kids were allowed. We left early at midnight! The pace of life here is so different than in the Netherlands.
Home to Arnhem
However, the couple sometimes miss life in Arnhem. “I sometimes miss going to a cafe with friends to watch football or going to the Gelredome to support Vitesse.” Mike says with a laugh. “It’s hard to explain, but sometimes I miss the old, familiar, feeling of Arnhem.”
Maayke recognizes herself in this. “I’ve lived around Steenstraat all my life.” she says. “When I spend some time in the Netherlands, cycling through my old neighborhood, it feels like it did back then: used and good. It’s still your city!”
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Christmas cards in March
Both had to get used to the lack of structure in their new homeland. “In the Netherlands you always know where you need to be and most things are arranged within a day. In Spain everything takes longer and we would be happy if we had a quarter. to doYou can check from the list. For example, I still don’t have a health insurance card, and for the first 9 months we don’t know where our mail went. After a long search, waiting for some postmen and hoping they would help us, we found a post office where some of our mail was. We finally got our Christmas cards in March.
They are now used to this new, slower way of life and Maayke and Mike have no desire to move back to Arnhem. “Should we ever leave here, it’s going to start another environmental project in a hot country. We won’t miss the pace of the Netherlands anymore. We now enjoy a peaceful village life with our nearest neighbors 150 meters away. I always said I didn’t want to live in a village, but I’ve come full circle: I don’t have a city anymore!
Indebuurt is looking for fellow citizens living in other countries to produce more articles in the ‘Arnhemmers Abroad’ section. If so, are you or a long-term traveler or do you know someone who has left Arnhem to live in another country? Let us know, because we’re curious about the story! Send email to [email protected] Who knows, you might be on the site soon.
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