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 ‘ Jorge was born a year later. By then, Santi had decided that working for BA did not combine well with motherhood and so she returned to teaching Spanish, both at West Suffolk College and as a private tutor. Five years later, and after the birth of their daughter Gema, the family moved to Ashfield Green, in a house adjacent to Roger’s parent’s farm.
Santi recalls the early years: “It was such a big change for me,” she says. “I had always lived in towns and cities and this was a very rural environment so I had a big adjustment to make.
“When I left Spain, I had assumed that it would be a temporary move but then I wasn’t planning on falling in love with an Englishman!”.
Since then, Santi has built up her business teaching Spanish to students of all ages and abilities. Of course, she misses her Spanish family but (pre- Covid) she had returned with the children for all school holidays plus the occasional long weekend. It was always very important for her that the children should grow up knowing their Spanish family. Santi’s three sisters and her brother have all remained in Murcia and, between them, have provided Jorge and Gema with a good number of cousins.
How difficult has the last year been – particularly as Santi has not been able to visit her family? “Actually,” she said, “it has been very interesting. To start with, all of my teaching has been online and although some of my students found it strange to start with they have adapted really well and most of them now find it more convenient than travelling for a lesson. Of course, I miss visiting the family but at least with today’s technology I can see them and speak to them regularly. We are very close and once a week we all sit around our phones and computers to chat. An unexpected consequence is that I’ve come to appreciate the surrounding countryside so much more; and take a greater interest
Walking partner . . . Santi Torrecillas with her spaniel Basil
Santi with her husband Roger enjoying a pre- Covid visit to Suffolk’s Helmingham Hall
in my in-laws’ farm, and nature generally. We acquired a dog last year, a gorgeous spaniel named Basil, and I walk him every day – even when it’s pouring with rain. That’s something I could never have imagined doing”.
With her son at Newcastle University and her daughter about to start A levels, might Santi be thinking of returning to live in Spain? “I have lived in England for longer than anywhere else,” she replied. “My roots here are just as strong as those in Spain and I love living in Suffolk.
“I would like to think that when Roger and I retire we can divide our time between the two countries but, in the meantime, I count myself very lucky to have the luxury of living and working here”.

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