Ten Years of Spanish Life–Oh God Why?
Tomorrow, 21 October 2014, marks ten years since I arrived in Spain.
Besides the obvious questions this raises–Where exactly did my life go? Why am I still here?–I feel pretty good about it.
The years were going to pass anyway, here or somewhere else. You can’t stop time.
But it’s worth contemplating what I’ve learned in ten years. Spending your twenties-and now thirties– almost entirely in a foreign country is bound to teach you something. Right?
Near the top of El Yelmo, La Pedriza, Comunidad de Madrid.
Well, to celebrate, here are some posts I’ve written about Europe, the USA, and the more complicated aspects of the expat experience.
I believe the first serious attempt I made at writing something about Spanishness was The Unravelling of the Spanish Dream. Good stuff, I must say. That was a loooong time ago, though. I quickly followed up with much more. The Coup Attempt of 1981 is actually semi-historical (what was I thinking?).
Then we’ve got The Most Ambiguous Sentcence in the Spanish Language. Yes, this one sentence can be used to say both “I want to see you naked” and “I hope I never see you again, unless it’s trapped under the wheels of a bus”.
Are Europeans More Civilized than Americans? For some reason, Europeans don’t like this article much. All I do is point out the obvious: that there are also rednecks in Europe. And lots of ’em. Oh well.
American Ignorance: How Much do Americans Know about Spain? Here I talk about the other side of the story. I used to be an ignorant American myself, but aren’t we all pretty ignorant about 99.9% of things?
How Living Abroad Can Mess with your Head — In which I talk about the personality changes that happen if you spend a lot of time out of your “natural” environment.
What do the Spanish Think about Foreign People? — A guest post by my brilliant student Nuria, in which she writes about her opinions regarding foreigners in Spain–with my response to her (very true) allegations that I haven’t really had that much sex with Spanish women.
Who are some famous Spanish people? — Just in case you didn’t know, Spain has famous people, too! Here I talk about Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, as well as my close encounter with Nacho Vidal’s famous wang.
Books to Read about Madrid and Spain — A selection of my favorite books about Madrid and Spain. I’m always surprising people by actually having a decent-sized vocabulary in Spanish… My secret? Reading a lot!
The 10 Best Spanish Foods — Posting this to Reddit a couple years ago was quite a life-changing moment for me. I discovered that no matter what you say, somebody will take offence. Because a certain percentage of people just suck. Yeah, I didn’t put gazpacho on the list, and some Reddit trolls were pretty unhappy. Well, life goes on! If you think I’m wrong, as always, you’re welcome to start your own blog and make it better than this one. That’ll show me.
The Brain Drain in Spain (see also Part 2: Flight to London and Part 3: Flight of the Party Girls) — In which I explore what it’s like to be in a country where not only the best and brightest, but also the worst and most obnoxious are leaving, as well as the experiences of some Spaniards who have moved abroad to escape the crisis.
And finally, Is the Spanish Government Hypnotizing You? — Spaniards are obsessed with football, and in this magnificent piece of investigative journalism I reveal that Cristiano Ronaldo’s abs are nothing more than a tool used by the government to keep people’s mind off more important issues.
Of course, I also write for ¡Vaya Madrid!–which you should definitely read. Over there you can check out such masterpieces as 5 Reasons Why You Should Date a Foreigner, 4 Things I’ve Learned About American Culture While Living in Spain, and 4 More Things Etc.
What’s the conclusion to all this? Absolutely nothing! It’s my life, and like many other people, I’m just making it all up as I go along. Meanwhile, life in Madrid is better than life in a lot of other places.
In any case, according to Death Clock, I’ve got about 44 more years to figure all this out! A gentleman of my age, non smoker and wine enthusiast, living in Spain has a life expectancy of 75 years. Not bad, I guess.
Well, here’s to constant seat-of-the-pants improvisation!
Yours, opening a bottle of wine,