This next expat interview features Matthew Hirtes. We first met Matthew through Facebook, and have become firm friends. We are also happy to welcome him as one of our regular writers, providing our “Moving to Spain” series of articles
When did you move to Spain, and where from?
I moved to Spain back in 2004, relocating from Loughton, Essex.
Who came with you?
My wife, Cristina and our then youngest son, Alex. Our oldest son Dani had already made the move. He was living with his aunt as Alex contracted leukaemia at just eight months old. He then spent half a year in Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Where in Spain do you live now?
I live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, capital of Gran Canaria. As well as being an island, Gran Canaria is a province which takes in the eastern Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
Do you work? As what?
I run an English language academy, http://www.play-school.es with my wife, a qualified teacher whose last post in the UK had been at David Beckham’s old school in Chingford. As well as teaching, I write for titles such as The Huffington Post, Metro, and The Independent. I’m also a blogger for Spain-Holiday.com and, as from this month, SpainBuddy too.
How are you with speaking Spanish?
I still struggle with the grammar. But I can now hold a conversation. Which is some development from the sign language employed in my first few years here.
If you could change one thing about Spain… what would that be?
I’d love it to be less conservative and more understanding of other cultures. Currently, there’s a big problem with racism here.
What is the best thing about living in Spain?
Living in the city with the best climate of any metropolis worldwide, I can’t really complain about the weather.
What is your favourite Spanish dish?
Although I’m a big fan of local favourite papas arrugadas con mojo, boiled salty new potatoes served with a piquant sauce, I just about prefer patatas bravas, the mainland equivalent. It just packs more of a punch on the taste front.
What is the predominant nationality of your friends in Spain?
Spanish. I’ve been the only guiri in football teams here. And I’ve met a lot of locals through my wife’s presidency of Pequeño Valiente, a charity for sick children and their families.
If you won the Euromilliones – would you still live where you currently are?
No. I’d love to move out to my beloved north coast or into the interior of the island.
If a movie was made about your life – who would play you?
Jason Statham. In a rate non-action role, although I did have a near-death experience hiking to a remote beach at night. We share a hairstyle.
If you had to describe yourself as a sandwich filling… what would you be?
Cheese and onion. Mature but with a bit of bite still.
Right – now is the chance to tell us all about your business/website/blog if you have one (or more of course). Go for your life!
On Matthewhirtes.com you can follow my adventures on Gran Canaria, whether they be a visit to the beach, countryside, or town.
Next time we welcome Lisa Sadleir to the hotseat – check back on 2nd April!