It all seems a bit one-sided so far. I keep getting presents from the Spanish Government, and I barely seem to have contributed anything to them yet. My latest gift from them was €2.000 off my new car.
The sad part was saying goodbye to the ancient old SEAT Ibiza I’d bought on arrival, which now turned out to be worth double what I’d paid thanks to the government’s scrappage scheme known here as Plan PIVE, whereby if it was destroyed and traded in for a new or nearly-new car, I got €2.000 discount. So when the clutch went last week it seemed like providence and I headed for the showrooms to see what deal I could negotiate.
After some heavy negotiation sessions (fantastic for practicing Spanish – I should have paid them for the lessons!), I settled on a 5-month old SEAT Mii with just 150km on the clock. I got the guarantee extended, a further price reduction, and a sat-nav thrown in. It’s sweet, small, and shiny and red!
In addition the Diputación de Málaga (province-wide government) has given me a shiny new red pavement to match the car. When I moved into the house in July the road was pretty dire. It’s been chaotic for two months but we now have
red pavements, grey paving in the road, a new staircase up the steep bit, and new flat areas for the neighbours to sit out on in summer. Although inevitably noisy and dirty, the workmen have remained polite and helpful throughout, never leaving me without a bridge across the mud to get in and out, and patiently stopping work whenever one of the residents needed to squeeze out past the digger. See Blog 31 and 32.
In terms of presents I should include the town trip to Málaga, paid for by Colmenar Ayuntamiento (town hall). A fascinating day out in November for 50 residents including several museum visits and an excellent lunch, all paid for out of council funds. Plus of course, for me, a 12-hour Spanish intensive course and some new friends made amongst my Spanish neighbours.
The final present from the government was last night’s superb free concert in Málaga Cathedral. El Jóven Orquesta Barroca de Andalucía and el Coro de Ópera de Málaga (the Andalucían Baroque Youth Orchestra and the Málaga Opera Chorus) performed “The Messiah” in the stunning cathedral setting – a wonderful Christmas experience.
So the scales are at the moment definitely tipping in my favour. Okay there was a chunk of purchase tax on my house, and IVA (the Spanish equivalent of VAT) on absolutely everything, but I’m pretty sure that the score so far is Tamara 1: Spanish Government 0. But in 2013 I shall spend more time here, will become fiscally resident and at last begin to contribute something more back to the country that has already given me so much.
© Tamara Essex 2012