Age in Spain’s Kelli Field: Keeping it in the family

Age in Spain's Kelli Field: Keeping it in the family

Galician lookout. Shutterstock/jcami

As a foreigner, moving to a village in rural northern Spain means you are a curiosity. Neighbours will begin circling, not unlike sharks. Peeking through your gate like you’re an animal in the local zoo.

Of course, they are curious about your strange ways. How you venture out of the confines of your home in outfits in which they wouldn’t be caught dead, as you sweep your front porch without wearing the requisite apron of all women sweeping front porches. I can hear their thoughts. ‘Has she no shame?’

After two years, we had begun to rack up an impressive stack of social faux pas. Erecting a fence to keep our dog in might impede hunters from crossing our land toting shotguns while chasing a pack of baying dogs. There were many more. We were given a wide berth when we would walk down to the village to order a coffee or a glass of wine. They took our money and handed over the beverages, but they didn’t look happy about it. But then, it all changed.

I needed a housekeeper. I called local businesses and asked everyone I met. No one would respond. So, I cleaned my own home without wearing an apron. Heresy. Then, one day there was a knock at the door. A small woman stood there. She spoke only Gallego but, apparently, was here to clean my house. Her apron was my first clue. Where she had come from, I didn’t know. But I hired her on the spot. And it turns out she’s the cousin of the people who own the café in the village. Suddenly, my lack of an apron doesn’t seem to matter anymore. The hunters totally understand why we have a fence for our dog. And, while we are no longer exotic zoo animals, my house has never been cleaner.

Kelli Field is an American expat writer/blogger living in rural Galicia, and a volunteer for Age in Spain. 

Some of her other writing about moving to and living in Spain can be found at

If you’d like to get in touch with Age In Spain, we can be reached at (+34 932 209 741)

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Kelli Field