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Bienvenid@! You’ve found Sunshine and Siestas, a blog about living and working in Southern Spain. After a stint studying Spanish in Valladolid, in northern Spain, I moved to Seville to teach American English to teenagers.

Suddenly finding myself in a new job, in a new country and forced to go about my business, I began Sunshine and Siestas. Actually, it was then called Olivares Bound for the village I was assigned to teach in as a North American Language and Culture Assistant through the Spanish government.

Sunshine and Siestas, as a name, came along when I made the decision to live here, paying homage to two constants in my life as a sevillamericana.

Un poco about this blog

Here, you’ll find information on expat life in Seville, on teaching English abroad, on Spanish food and customs, on festivals and travel around the Iberian peninsula and beyond. It’s all taken with a grain of salt (and usually a caña or two), because living abroad is never easy, and there are plenty of things I don’t like about living in Seville.

If you’re interested in moving to Spain and unsure of how to do it, be sure to check out COMO Consulting Bureau, my other page dedicated to cutting through Spanish red tape (and believe me, there’s a lot of it).

Un poco about la Sevillamericana, Cat Gaa

I am a Chicagoan, not born, but bred. My first stop back home is always for a Chicago style dog and deli pickle.

I studied journalism at the University of Iowa, so blogging was a natural creative release when I first came here. Then I started gaining readers, so this blog has expanded just as rapidly as my readership. I also completed a master’s at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.

I am a die-hard fan of Real Betis Balompié, one of Seville’s fútbol teams. Yes, I like to suffer when it comes to sports (I am also a Chicago Cubs fan, so no further explanation is needed).

I could subside off of beer and lentejas, my favorite Spanish eats and drink.

If I could live anywhere else in Spain, I’d be hard pressed to chose between Granada for its beauty and Madrid for its cultural options. Andalusia and Galicia are my favorite regions.

I walked 325 kilometers on the Camino de Santiago in the summer of 2013 for charity and the challenge. It changed me in a lot of ways, and I recommend doing it, no matter what your religious beliefs or level of fitness.

I’ve always had itchy feet, and buying plane or train tickets gives me more of a rush than Betis actually winning a match. I’ve been to more than 30 countries and every region of Spain.

I name inanimate objects. If you come across the name ‘Camarón’ on this blog, I’m referring to my camera and not the gypsy flamenco singer. Peuqeño Monty is my car and traveling companion.


Are you a full-time blogger?

No. The only thing I do full-time is live in Spain.

Apart from running this page and conributing to others like The Spain Scoop and Around the World in 80 Jobs, I run a language academy in Seville. My mornings are reserved for blogging and Spanish red tape, and my afternoons and evenings are spent at the school.

How did you end up in Spain originally?

Spain’s Ministry of Education, be it as turmoiled as it is, employs native English speakers as Language and Culture Assistants. I applied right out of college and was placed in a village near Seville. The program is great because it gives you a visa, health insurance, stipend and guaranteed placement for eight or nine months in Spain – even if it is unorganized and you spend half the time unsure of what your job role actually is. You can find more information about applying here.

How have you legally stayed in Spain so long?

I came originally for a year, maybe two, on a student visa, to teach English with the North American Language Assistants program. When that permission was about ready to expire, I panicked before realizing that I’d applied and been accepted to a masters program in Madrid. I lied right through my teeth to the woman who handles my case, but it bought me some time.

Shortly after, a lawyer informed me that my idea to do pareja de hecho, a type of civil union, with the Novio, was a good one – a new law as of 2010 means that non-EU partners of citizens are able to live and work under the doctrine. Thus, I pay social security and taxes, will eventually have a right to my pension and can move about Europe freely. You can read about pareja de hecho in my new ebook, which I co-wrote with Hayley Salvo.

In August 2015, my longterm Spanish boyfriend and I tied the know in my hometown. Pereza’s break out song, Princesas, was the first played at our wedding. The last was Paquito el Chocolatero.

What’s the the Novio’s real name?

For the sake of his privacy (and because he asked me nicely), I said I would change his name on my blog to Francisco. He didn’t like that so much, so I began calling him the Novio, despite being the Marido. He has the same name as his father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

I have a million questions about moving to Spain.

I had to laugh when a friend of mine called me the Fairy Godmother of Spain. After years of fighting bureaucracy myself, I’d learned a thing or two about how to cope with long lines, packages stuck at customs, TIE card renewals and visas.

como logo

That’s what prompted me to co-found COMO Consulting Spain, a business dedicated to your Spain-related needs. From obtaining permits to extending your time in Spain, getting set up with services and finding a job, we are your one-stop shop for moving to, living in and working in Spain.

How can I reach you?

I love hearing back from my readers, so email away!

For more on how to work with me, point your browser to my Advertising and Contact page. If you’d like to see more from me on the web and a few of my awards, check out my Publications page.

You can also find me on social media – just click on those black circles on my sidebar. I share tons of Spain-related content, so please join my community!

If you’d like to receive instant updates about Spain and Seville at no cost to you, please consider signing up for my RSS feed, or subscribing to my youtube channel.

Saludos from Sevilla,

Cat Gaa, Publisher


  1. Brooke Russell says:

    I am from Seattle, and planning to come to Spain this fall for a study abroad with my kids (ages 17, 13, 9 & 4). We plan to stay August-Dec. My 17-year old son is an avid soccer player and he would LOVE to play while we are there, either on a team or informally with a group of boys. Do you have any idea how I can find information on youth soccer in Spain? We haven’t yet settled on where we will live – we are keeping our options open. We primarily want a location that will allow us a good Spanish immersion experience (so probably not the Med. coast).

    • Hi Brooke! From what I can gather, most children play either on organized school teams (mostly private and semi-private schools) or in leagues at local sport clubs. Once you know where you’ll be living, I could help better!

  2. Jayni Morris says:

    Hello Cat

    I’m coming to ride and see Spain again. ..I used to dance and need flamenco shoes. Do you know any shops? And how about dating … it would be fun to flirt with the locals after my classes. Thank you for the lovely writing!

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Excellent news! Will you be in Seville? If so, there are loads of shops on Calle Córdoba, right off of Plaza Salvador. Roberto Garrido shoes are basic but great price! As for flirting… no problem at all! Enjoy!

  3. Hi Cat,

    I’m Irish and I’m currently doing my CELTA course. I have 3 weeks left. I’m loving it!

    When would you say is the best time to looj for teaching jobs in Spain? Also, are there any towns/cities which are easier to find a job?

    Warm regards,


    • Hi there! Summer is a strange time for work in most cities, though you may find some intensives for July and summer camp for August. You can begin sending out your CV now with a follow-up in June. Most academies will begin their hiring process between this month and next, though some won’t know their hiring needs until June, once the matriculations are more or less finished.

      As for easiest place to find a job? As an EU citizen, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Big cities have a lot more competition than small towns, so I’d pick a few places you might be willing to live and start from there. You can always expand your search parameters! Best of luck.

  4. Jeff Morgan says:

    Is there a challenge for older English teachers in Spain finding work?

  5. Siobhan Ni Ghuairim says:

    Hi! I’m looking to go to the feria de abril. I want to meet new people and know there must be groups for lets say, backpackers or international students but I just cant find them. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Siobhan, are you staying at a hostel? That’s a great way to meet people, an you can also check, which is quite active. Enjoy the fair – it’s a blast!

  6. Hi Cat,

    Great to meet you — I am a college junior studying Applied Math and Economics. Before college, I spent a semester abroad in Sevilla and fell in love with the city, wanting to return as soon as I could.

    I have loved reading through some of the entries in your blog and it has made me very nostalgic for Sevilla. I am hoping to return to Sevilla for my winter break this upcoming January. Would you by any chance know of any month-long internships or opportunities to work for the month of January? Would appreciate any guidance or suggestions you may have.



  1. […] Sunshine and Siestas chronicles the life of a young English teacher, also in Seville, Spain. […]

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