Living on Tenerife: Have I Become One of those Ex-pats Who Criticizes Everything?

Posted: June 3, 2010 in Life, Spain, Tenerife
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A comment on Andy’s Real Tenerife blog made me stop and think for a moment. It was a very honest comment about development on the island which concluded with the statement ‘I hate Brits who live here and then just criticize everything.’

I found myself nodding in agreement one second and the next, remembering the blog I’d just written moaning about Spanish TV scheduling, wondered in horror if I’d become one of those Brits.

When we first moved here there was one paper in particular which regularly pissed me off. Most editions usually included a moan about one fiesta or another – they were too loud and too boisterous. Sometimes it was suggested that even the Canarians didn’t like them.
You don’t have to spend much time here to realise that a suggestion like this is nonsense – fiestas are put on by Canarios for Canarios (everybody is welcome of course).
Every time I read these pieces which basically wanted to change the culture, I had an overwhelming urge to shout ‘Why on earth do you live here if you don’t like it?’

I regularly read threads on various forums  from people moaning about aspects of Tenerife, most of which are flavoured by personal experiences of the area that they are familiar with rather than Tenerife as a whole.

When I read ones which say things like ‘Tenerife doesn’t have any decent restaurants’ I think ‘why do you say Tenerife when you obviously don’t really mean Tenerife; you clearly mean in the geographically limited area that you happen to frequent?’ and wonder why they live here or, if they’re a visitor, return for their jollies year after year.

And then I think of this blog – I moan here…a lot. I criticise politics, business practices, roadworks, lack of environmental awareness, insularity and all sorts. Anyone reading it could easily think of me as one of those Brits who criticises everything and wonder why I continue to live here.

But I’m not…honest.  At least I don’t think I am. I love the island and the culture – I’ll be the last to call for fiesta fun to be curtailed. Seventy five percent of the time I write about the things which I believe make Tenerife a very special place to stay and visit.

On the other hand, Tenerife is my home, the place where I live and work and just like I did in Britain, I take an active interest in politics and business practices. And also like living in Britain, there are some aspects of living in Tenerife that I think could be improved. This blog is an outlet to vent my frustrations about those.

But the comment did make me think about perceptions, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to tone down the moaning because I really don’t want to become one of those Brits who criticises everything.

So it’ll be all sweetness and light from now on…until something really winds me up…that’ll probably be tomorrow then.

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Comments
  1. Pamela says:

    It would be unhealthy and downright deluded not to find fault at all and especially with the things that truly are broken, like bad service. There’s a big difference between that and dissing the local customs, for no better reason than those people have nothing better to do. It seems – to me – to be far more intelligent and mature to be able to admit that Tenerife has it’s faults, but on balance, still offers a better life, not to mention scenery that makes you glad to be alive to see it every day.

  2. islandmomma says:

    Hmmm was it I who said that? Sounds like something I would say! I worked for a time in areas where I met a lot of moaners and groaners, so I admit to a bias!

    I think there is a vast difference between say, bemoaning the intention to build the port in Granadilla and whinging because the people in the hardware store don’t speak English; or (my favorite hobby horse) grousing about the lack of care of our communal environment (municipal and insular) and bellyaching that the firework display at the fiesta didn’t start on time and that Canarians can’t organize a you-know-what in a brewery…..it isn’t a tourist attraction, it’s part of a religious event, suck it up, or go to DisneyWorld……AND how much organization, exactly, do you think Carnaval takes? What I really hate is when they start to get racist. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why these types stay here if they dislike it so much!

    I am totally ambivalent about the “mañana syndrome”. There is no doubt it exists, and there are days when it makes me want to scream, like when the banks close early in Carnaval week, and I get there too late, but the other half of me thinks it absolutely marvellous that there is somewhere in the world where people can, officially, take time for pleasure.

    Someone pointed out to me recently that I spend as much time moaning about these people as they do moaning about the island, so I am making an effort to behave better too.

    • dragojac says:

      LOL – it was. But I totally agree, there is a world of difference about complaining about aspects of life on Tenerife which affects everyone (local politics for example) and bitchin’ because things aren’t designed to suit someone’s specific needs – like you say moaning when Canarios don’t speak English.

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