It is with pleasure that we bring Lynn Cobb to you today. Elle has been chatting to Lynn online for almost a decade and recently engaged her teaching services via Skype to bring her Spanish to a reasonable level rather than waffling nonsense. Anyway – over to Lynn. PS: If you’d like to be featured, scroll down and click the interview link under the article.
When did you move to Spain, and where from?
We moved here in November 2003 from Bedfordshire in the UK
Who came with you?
I came with my husband (who died in 2012) & our daughters who were then 4 & 7.
Not forgetting the 11 year old cat!
We originally planned to retire here, but during yet another holiday in the Jávea area in the summer of 2003 we decided not to wait, but to move here to ‘suck it & see’ for a year while the girls were still young.
Where in Spain do you live now?
Jávea / Xàbia which is the bit that sticks out on the right, about half way between Alicante & Valencia.
What things (apart from loved ones) do you miss from your country of birth?
Do you work? As what?
I have several strings to my bow. Mostly I work as a teacher of Spanish, to English speaking adults – & I’ve agreed to teach English to a small group of Spanish adults from September. I haven’t taught English for years, & much prefer to teach Spanish – but they nagged….
I also do written translations in English/Spanish/Valenciano.
A year ago I was appointed to the board of directors of the ayuntamiento run water company here in Xàbia. I’m told that I was the first non-Spanish national to ever be appointed, though I’m not the only one now.
How are you with speaking Spanish?
Better than good I hope! I wouldn’t claim to be totally fluent in that I couldn’t discuss anything which doesn’t interest me – such as football. That said, although I probably have the vocabulary to do so in English, I probably couldn’t discuss it in English, either!
I couldn’t speak any Spanish at all when we moved here, beyond being able to order in a restaurant, & while I agree that it’s harder to learn as you get older, I was in my 40s when I started learning & wouldn’t claim to be a ‘natural linguist’. I’m a firm believer that everyone can learn some Spanish. We can’t all be fluent, but everyone can learn something! If I can do it, anyone can!
I’m currently trying to learn to SPEAK Valenciano. I read it & understand just about everything said to me…. pero no sale de la boca. When I join in conversations with Valenciano speakers it just leaves my mouth in Spanish… The similarities between the two languages are making it difficult for me.
I WILL do it though!
If you could change one thing about Spain… what would that be?
Not a whole lot. Most of the things I would like to change are slowly changing already.
Government corruption at (my) local level has been stamped out & lots of former mayors in other areas are finding themselves in jail. As are many famous people for tax evasion. Corruption on a national level has a way to go though.
I’m not keen on bull fighting. Again though, slowly but surely, ayuntamientos are beginning to stop giving licences for some bull events. It might not stop in my lifetime. But I feel sure that eventually it will.
What are the best things about living in Spain?
For me, although I’m not a beach lover, it’s having the opportunity to spend more of my leisure time out of doors – even if sometimes that’s just on my balcony.
Also I love to eat, and it’s possible to eat out, eat well, & eat healthily, pretty inexpensively.
I love taking my coffee in a bar every morning & reading the newspaper there, chatting with anyone who happens to walk in, rather than having it delivered & reading it alone at home.
I love the openness of the Spanish people, & the way they work to live rather than live to work & have such gusto for life!
What are your favourite Spanish dishes?
Living in the Valencia region I can’t ignore paella. Many people don’t realise that there are many versions & at the moment my favourites are ‘senyoret’ & ‘arroz negro’.
I love chopitos fritos, pescaditos, mejillones, various kinds of croquetas. The asador in the next street to my apartment roasts incredible chickens. I don’t eat tomatoes, so that cuts quite a few ‘tipicos’ out.
A couple of the restaurants in the town do amazing cochinillo.
On the sweet side I could eat leche merengada all day, or tortas de aceite con semillas de sésamo
What is the predominant nationality of your friends in Spain?
Jávea is an incredibly international town. Nearly half the residents are non-Spanish & we have something like 80 nationalities living here.
My friends are a mixture of various nationalities. I don’t think any one nationality predominates.
If you won the Euromillones – would you still live where you currently are? Why? Why not?
I’d stay in Jávea. I’d even stay in the same part of the town. But I’d buy a top floor apartment with a full sea view & a roof terrace.
I’d also buy a small house somewhere in the campo within a couple of hours drive, to head for at the weekend.
I suppose I’d have to learn to drive first – but if I was that rich I could pay someone to drive me!
If a movie was made about your life – who would play you? Why?
I’d love Julia Roberts – but she’d have to gain quite a lot of weight….
If you had to describe yourself as a cocktail… what would you be, and why?
I’m not much of a cocktail drinker – but if I described myself as a drink, it would be a café solo del tiempo con un trocito de limón.
Straightforward, strong, cool when necessary, with a bit of a twist.
Right – now is the chance to tell us all about your business/website/blog if you have one (or more of course).
My website is mostly for my students so that they can keep up with what their group is doing if they miss classes, but I’ve added all kinds of useful ‘learning Spanish’ hints & tips which are available for anyone who cares to read them.
I also write articles about Spanish red tape, & Spanish lessons which are published in the online Jávea Grapevine magazine & are of course on my website as well.
My written translation service is something I enjoy immensely & find really easy. Sometimes I’ll learn something totally new that I would have never known about otherwise, & work with people I might never have met. This was probably my most important translation http://learn-aprender.com/groups/every-drop-counts/
My website is
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Spain Web Design by Gandy-Draper.
Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.