Onl MarianneSyria, xenophobia, Brexit, Trump, populism, net hate… The world is spinning faster than ever before. People feel small, bewildered and scared.

We ask ourselves: How could all this happen? And somehow, to survive, we think that sanity and common sense will prevail and everything will turn out right in the end.

In the middle of the chagrin over the present turmoil in the world, our family got the wonderful news of the birth of a fourth great grandchild. A picture in our email of our granddaughter with the newborn baby in her arms, radiant with happiness, moved us to tears. The world goes on. We have to be confident.

Here in our Spanish Paradise on the Costa Tropical it is easy for us Scandinavian expatriates to shut our ears and eyes to what is going on around us.

The Facebook culture lulls us into some kind of hedonistic stupor. Wine and tapas, sports, culture and all kinds of associations and entertainment fill the days of thousands of tourists and ‘guiris’ (mostly elderly) from all over Europe and other more remote countries.

Our town is starting to look a bit like a miniature Fuengirola. Expats stick together, meeting only compatriots for different events every day of the week, speaking only in their own, safe language, eating their own kind of food at their own type of restaurants.

People from the Scandinavian countries even live close to each other. On
the paseo leading to Cotobro you hear Swedish, Norwegian and Danish more than Spanish.

The tapas bars and restaurants in the area are filled with Scandinavian expats and tourists. I know that this is good for the local economy and I do think that these people, mostly pensioners like me, have earned the right to indulge in this kind of easy living, away from the cold and dark Nordic winters.

But I also think that the development is a bit lopsided, and that foreigners living here for longer periods should get to know the Spanish culture and try to learn Spanish so that they can get along on their own in their everyday life. It is also nice and useful for the local people to know about the culture and way of life in our countries.

The foreign residents should be more curious and have more initiative, go to Spanish restaurants and cultural events, and mix with the local population.

A nice gesture is taken by a group of Swedish ladies called Stickeklubben in Almuñécar. They come together regularly, knitting socks and quilts which they donate to the unit for premature babies at Hospital Santa Ana in Motril.

This has been greatly appreciated, both by the hospital staff and the local community.

December is Christmas month. Preparations will soon be visible on the streets of Almuñécar. In homes, people are getting ready for the festivities. The queues in supermarkets are getting longer and the carts filled with all kinds of Christmas paraphernalia.

Many people from the Nordic countries go home to celebrate Christmas with their families. We who stay here are looking forward to Christmas celebrations where our own traditions mix with those of our Spanish hosts.

In these difficult times we should remember those who need our help and contribute to Caritas or other charity organizations.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

(News/International feature by Mariane Lindahl)

Marianne Lindahl

Born in Helsinki, Finland, many decades ago and a resident in Almuñécar since 2001. I have a M.Sc in Economics and Business Administration and an Authorized Translator´s exam. Prior to this I studied art in Helsinki and Paris. After a career in business I started painting again, (oil, impressionist with a touch of naivism)and have participated in many exhibitions in Spain and Finland. I am active in Asociacion Hispano-Nordica in Almuñécar, a meeting point for people from Sweden, Norway and Finland. I am married, with 3 children and 9 grandchildren. Hobbies: Cats, golf, trecking, jazz. 


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