About me and why I decided to work from home in Tenerife.

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Me Gabriele MuellenbergMe Gabriele

It took me a long time to start writing about me.

I am not famous but I created one of the most beautiful gardens in my family home in Durban South Africa. But, that's all in the past and I don't own it any more.

My name is Gabriele which was spelled Gabrielle when I lived in Paris for 2 years and Gabriela during my 3 year stay in Lisbon Portugal. I am German by birth and upbringing.

What is my homepage for?

Writing my homepage Tenerife holiday home insider.com is for my kids to show them what the island where I am living, now, is like. An extra bonus for it is that it also helps to supplement my income.

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Why did I settle in Tenerife?

Well, I had not intended to do so. Ideas about me and my future were very undecided in 2001 when I came to Tenerife.

We had bought a little atico (penthouse) in the north of the island in 1997. I went there in 2001 to sell it but, encountered problems. They were not only of a financial inheritance related nature because, I had to clear the 50% still in my late husband's name who died at age 51 in 2001.

Several experts told me to rather wait out 4 and a half years, as this is the time in Spain, when inheritance tax elapses, which made lots of sense, as I had a half share already.

I opted to learn Spanish for free.

Little did I know that such tramites (errands with documents of official nature) for inheritance are no easy matter to deal with. I stayed on. I tried to learn Spanish well. I only watched Spanish TV and almost only read Spanish newspapers. I had some dictionaries and grammar books to consult but, took no language classes. I became a member of the public library in Puerto Cruz and taught myself reading Spanish books. It was free to join. Talking to locals as much as possible also helped to improve Spanish skills.

I ought to mention about me that it helps much to know other Latin languages to start with, I admit.

The work situation in Tenerife

Thinking about me of a person with not only language but, also PR talents wasn't good enough.

Tenerife which is part of Spain has its own laws.

Firstly, at least, one local needs employing by a company. The fact to be past 50 didn't help me at all. Some, even told me straight into my face, they were only employing 'blondes' below 35.

Needless to say is that age related Tenerife work discrimination made me often feel older than I was. More so, foreign companies told me that they would get into trouble if they employed somebody without a residence permit. Unfortunately, this issue with me only disappeared when employment had become virtually impossible when I was close to retirement age.

Tenerife government unemployment agency

A positive Tenerife event about me

I was granted an IT course in Spanish by my local unemployment agency INEM la Orotava for classes paid by Brussels.
That, now, is kind of luck worth mentioning about me.

During the 8 months of 5 hour morning classes I learned more Spanish than IT. The school was called Centro de Estudios Tecnológicos ARBOL in Los Realejos Avendida de Canarias,14, Los Realejos.

This episode about me is still something I am proud of but, also, feel some regrets for at the same time.

I am sorry, I couldn't get more out of it because of inferior language skills at the time and no previous IT skills.

What didn't help me with my studies was the fact, I had no PC at home in those days, either.

I didn't know how to use a mouse

Mind you, I didn't even know how to use a mouse well when I started off. I feel a little ashamed to have to tell this about me. I got my diploma to entitle me to manage a small company in Spain anyway, though, thanks to much perseverance. However, I was far from being skilled to managing my own company. Theory is not good enough but, practice in real life is what counts. This is all I can say about me.

Diplomas and good company testimonial didn't help

Perhaps, the best part about me is, office work was not strange to me. I had worked a few years for Central German bank head office in their foreign department for their international contact service acquisitions. I managed an international, small forwarding/shipping/export company in Johannesburg for and on behalf of my late husband. I last, was a director in an Import/consultancy agency in Durban South Africa, mainly, employed for public relations, interpreting and translations. Computer work wasn't part of it.

Nobody in my family was allowed to meddle with the company PC, except my husband. My son and daughter could use it on occasion, much later, however. My company still exists but, is dormant.

The struggle about me to make money

My life was circling around family, support for my husband's business ventures, my garden and a few friends, I found time for. Many were also business friends.

Everything related about me or you is normally not a priority in a marriage, you know...

Just figure, how I was feeling in Tenerife, when I didn't find work. After I had lost much weight until the scale showed 47 kg with a size of 1,65 m, this became a handicap. Grief and worries were something, which didn't hit me instantly after my husband's passing away.

I, suddenly, had so many problems which didn't only include a 2nd inheritance a while later but, queries for clinic payments in Malaysia, where my husband stayed before his death. This situation was a hard nut to crack also because, Spain insisted on apostille (spell: uposteej) a document Malaysia was not using.

That era about me is not one I would like to go through again.

Controversial information Internet and off line

Real estate agents rather confused me than helped me. Internet information was often controversial.

The Honorary German Consulate Santa Cruz as well as a Spanish Public Notary and a Spanish Social Work lawyer called Macarena in Los Realejos town hall helped most.

Succeed I did despite limited financial means but, with the ambition to tackle everything myself.

You get tired of odd jobs

I had some odd jobs which I abandoned soon.

Soon I realized, the best for me would be being my own boss, especially, as I could never find work with a proper contract for social security. This has become a wide spread norm today in Tenerife.

All the jobs, I had, were temporary work including public surveys called encuestas where I walked for miles knocking on doors to have Spanish and foreigners answer my questions. I had to fill in sheets of paper, where people had to sign.

A way to get to know Tenerife people

I was invited into people's houses during those inquiries. That way I learned a lot about Tenerife people and how they live.

I got some insight into their social conditions, into their life and culture. The inquiries were of a social and not of commercial nature.

Oh yeas, what a way to learn Spanish by doing surveys...

My pal César Francisco Real Real

In a later Internet course at Audiostudio Puerto de la Cruz I also made friends with my study body Cesar Francisco Real Real who now lives temporarily in Majorca, where he found a well paid job. We stay in contact.

An uncommon way to learn Spanish for free

Here, I ought to mention about me that doing Spanish Internet courses in Tenerife is a tough way of learning Spanish.

After my family's 2nd inheritance incident we decided to purchase a holiday home in Tenerife for the kids to have a place to stay when visiting as the little atico penthouse has limited space. I tried my luck to rent out to tourists but, gave up quickly. This is a long story.

Honorary president

By the way, I have been the elected honorary president for three consecutive years now for Edificio Kristal where I live. There, I represent the home and business owners of this building.

This beautiful studio or Tenerife apartment is similar to a condo, as it is known in the USA. Of course, friends and family can stay there for short periods while it's available for so called long term rental for others. I use a limited contract of just a little over 6 months which gives me the chance to decide to sell, when the time is right.

Why I bought a holiday home in Tenerife with Usofruct

The studio was bought in the name of my children with usofruct and a full power of attorney for myself called in Spanish an Apoderamiento largo. I suggested this to my children above all to spare them the agony of perhaps having to deal one day with inheritance in a country, where a language is spoken, they hardly know. The procedure to buy property with all those criteria was a nightmare for us in those days. The fact that we all lived on different continents with different cultures far away from each other did not help.

Rent this Tenerife property, a Tenerife apartment, a studio in Los Realejos, 5 minutes by car from Beach Playa Jardin Puerto de la Cruz... It is up for long term rental. My last renter, who, finally, enjoyed living there for more than 2 years, lost his job due to the 2009 recession. He moved in with his parents in Tenerife South by Adeje.

Living in a Spanish community

Living in a vibrant Spanish suburb mixed with many foreign settlers or visitors, who spend extended Tenerife holidays, I made many casual friends over the years. A few of them may be called good friends.

What about me and what am I up to now?

Traveling an exciting multi-faceted island in company is what I enjoy greatly. Writing about it gives me great pleasure and fills my days.

About me and how proud I am of my son and daughter

My daughter Trish used to work for a big software producer in IT Web design and then also in IT Web Usability. She went back to university in Durban in 2008. After having worked as an English professor in the Netherlands she is now married near Oxford in the UK. She does voluntary work for a couple of charity organizations.

My son Marc made himself a name as ENG Cameraman for News for the South African national TV channel. He won first prize for best South African TV documentary for 2014 together with another Cameraman. He also worked as editor.
Many of his shoots are sold to CNN and BBC. He is artistic as well and a great handyman.

Obviously I wish, my kids were not living so far away from me. However, working online makes me feel less alone and keeps me going.

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