1. Hi, Tony! Please quickly introduce yourself. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, where you moved to and when/why you moved.
I’m Tony Poisquet, 62 years old and I’ve been living at the Costa Blanca for 18 years now. The first few years I spent in Albir and the past 15 I’ve lived in Alter, 15 km further. I was born and raised in Tongeren and was a teacher there for many years. After an unexpected divorce, I moved to Spain, first on a career break.
2. What did you expect from Spain and life there before moving? Did those expectations hold up?
I’d always planned on retiring at 55 and moving to Spain. That had been decided a long time ago. Because of my divorce, things went much faster than planned and the decision to migrate wasn’t as hard anymore. I didn’t have anything else to lose.
Once here, I turned my hobby into my profession and opened up a small restaurant, which I ran with a lot of pleasure for a couple of years. At the end it got a bit too much and after doing a lot of hours for little money, I ended that. I also turned my previous profession into a hobby and started teaching private classes to kids of Belgian and Dutch parents.
3. What’s the biggest difference between life in Spain and life in Belgium?
The biggest difference is the absence of pressure here. You can do everything here, but you don’t have TO do anything. No more social obligations, no more professional obligations, no more family obligations… You’re kind of reborn here.
4. What’s the best part about living in Spain?
Like I said above: having no more obligations. Being and feeling free every day, without comments and musts that are put onto you.
Also the climate.
And last but not least, the fact that people here are much more positive. They don’t complain and nag about everything like they do in Belgium. I have no more political worries here, there’s no “Thuis” or “Familie” (Sofie: Flemish soaps) on television (poor Flanders).
The best part is, of course, the Spanish cuisine and definitely the Spanish wines.
5. What do you like least about living in Spain?
Difficult question. The long lines at the “Seguridad Social” and the Spanish hospitals. You’re already dead and buried before you can get an appointment with a specialist here. I called for an appointment in May and got one in October. For the eye specialist, I have to wait about nine months.
6. What do you miss most about Belgium?
My delicious Watneys Scotch from the barrel.
7. Is there something about Belgium that you don’t miss at all?
The bullshit and lies from the “Wetstraat” (Sofie: where the politicians work) and the accompanying one-directional reporting from the social media.
8. Do you think you’ll stay in Spain? Or is there a chance you’ll move abroad again someday?
It depends on my health. I don’t exclude returning, but for now I’m still having a great time here! I’m hoping to stay here for at least 10 more years.
9. Do you have any tips or advice for other Belgians who consider moving to Spain
Think before you do. I knew I was going to move for 20 years already. Don’t hurry.
If you ever plan on moving, learn Spanish in Belgium before coming here. With a proper basic knowledge of the language a lot more doors will open. I started learning Spanish 15 years before I moved, which was a very good decision. It benefited me a lot.
Are you a Belgian who moved abroad, or do you know someone who is? I’m always looking for new Belgian Expats to talk to. Check out the X-pat Files for more information on who exactly I’m looking for and drop me a line!