So, you have bought your property in Mallorca, and the dream is about to become a reality. Exciting stuff! So what should come first?
The best advice is to get this done at the beginning. Use a local 'gestoria' and lawyer to advise you on the process and, if possible, to actually do it for you. The Oficina de Extranjería (Immigration Office) is not the most exciting place in the world - in fact, this is definitely not the Mallorca you were dreaming of - but to get what you need, you have to be there physically. If you are moving here full-time, a residencia card is obligatory, and if you are coming from the UK with Brexit looming, it's best to get it done.
Tax is also something to think about, as a non-resident you are liable to pay a non-resident income tax, if you are renting your property then you need to declare your income. See our Tax Guide here.
At a more local level, signing on to the Padrón at your Town Hall is a happier item on your to-do list. Take your passport, NIE (or Residencia card if you already have it), the deeds to your property and a recent utility bill, and you will receive a 'Certificado de Empadronamiento'. Along with being registered and able to vote in local elections, the best of all is an entitlement to discounted travel around Spain. Flights to the mainland can be reduced by 50%, inter-island travel by 75%. You can get the 'Certificado de Viaje' once you're on the Padrón and it is well worth the bother!
If you're getting mixed up with your "buenos días" and "bon dia", your "gracias" and "gràcies", then you know of the language complexities in your new home. While many live in Mallorca without learning a single word of Spanish or Catalan, those that do can definitely notice a difference in their daily life. Neighbours become friends, shopkeepers know you by name, the people in your preferred coffee bar will know what you want before you've sat down; in general, people open up to you.
There are language schools in the north, and there are private teachers who offer one-to-one sessions and conversation classes. Also, as English is essential to islanders, many are keen to learn from you. Language exchanges are frequent and these involve nothing more than sitting having a coffee and chatting in two languages, picking up vocabulary and phrases along the way.
For children, the younger they are, the easier it will be for them to learn. With sponge-like brains, their capacity to pick up a new language will thrill and astound you. In a local school, the children can receive extra help, but nothing works better than playing with new friends.
Depending on where you are living, you will find it relatively easy to find new friends. Foreign residents tend to converge naturally as they frequent the same bars and restaurants. But once the novelty wears off, there are plenty of ways to integrate and meet people from the whole community.
Sports Centres in the north have swimming classes and regular municipal-run activity for many sports including general fitness. There are also private groups that meet every week including football, rugby, netball, athletics and more. Trail running in the Tramuntana is popular, and many meet at the weekends and compete in local races. Language classes will help you join in fully, but even if your grasp of the language is weak, a willingness to learn is often repaid with patience and help.
If sport is not your thing, there are plenty of local groups and organisations that hold regular meetings and events. Whether it's charity appeals or wine appreciation, bridge or art classes, there's plenty of activity, and a quick look on Facebook or asking around will point you in the right direction.
Life in Mallorca is relaxed, it can be cold and quiet in the winter, lively and bright in the summer, but each season rewards with its stunning landscape and inimitable charm. There's so much more to it than the beach and living here (for long holidays or long-term) means it is all there for the taking.