Madrid, Spain and Expat Life – Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions about Madrid, Spain and expat life that I get with some regularity…

Q: So who the hell are you?

A: Oh, just some American guy. A redneck, really. But I’ve been living in Madrid since 2004, so I know quite a bit about it. (Oh, by the way, I’m also a best-selling author.)

Q: How did you end up in Madrid?

A: It’s a long story, involving two girls, a few international flights, and a healthy dose of youthful stupidity. Why I stayed here so long is a more interesting question (at least to me) but unfortunately it’s one I still don’t have an answer to.

Q: Why is this blog called The Chorizo Chronicles? Couldn’t you have called it something more poetic, like Daniel’s Über Profound Musings on the Expat Experience?

A: Coulda woulda shoulda. I chose The Chorizo Chronicles because it’s the opposite of poetic. Also, because the original version of this blog, over on Tumblr, was called Lard Hat (only 7 letters!) and I wanted to keep the pork thing going.

madrid, spain and expat life

Me, freezing and wet after underestimating the amount of snow I’d find at the top of this mountain.

Q: What’s up with the profanity?

A: I love the expressiveness of the English language, and when I say the English language, I mean our Anglo-Saxon monosyllables. If you want to talk like a medical textbook, good for you. Hopefully someone will give a speech at your funeral about how you never dropped an f-bomb, and everybody can applaud you for being such a good person.

Q: Can I write a guest post for your blog?

A: Sure, if I like you. Hit me up on the contact form here. I have several posts on here that are written by friends or random people from the internet. And as long as it’s fun and / or interesting – and Spain-related– I’m probably willing to publish it.

Q: I’m moving to Madrid with no job and no visa… Any recommendations?

A: Well, first off, you could check out a program called Auxiliares de Conversación. Google it. They might get you a job and a visa, at least for 9 months or so.

And while it is technically possible to find work without a visa, you might have some trouble. I’m not really sure how it works these days… I’m out of the game.

Q: Can I really make a living teaching English in Madrid?

A: Sure. Just don’t expect to get rich. If you want to know my (very biased) opinion about working for language schools, check out Pimping for Fun and Profit or The TEFL Job Interview.

Q: I’m coming to Madrid in four months. Wanna hang out?

A: Yeah, why not? But it’d be better to talk about it when you’re actually here.

Q: I’m thinking about starting a blog, and I want to be just like you someday. 

A: That’s not a question. But read The Zen of Blogging. If you want some specific help getting started, I’d be happy to do some consulting – but it’s not going to be free. Contact me here.

Q: I have a bar / restaurant / event / etc and I’d like you to take two hours to write an article about it, because someone in your audience might be interested and because…

A: Well, here’s the thing. This blog is mostly for my entertainment and I don’t particularly want to make it about your new vegan deli or whatever. Especially for free. And especially if it’s going to take up my valuable time. You can sponsor a post if you’d like. Get in touch.

Q: How could you possibly have confused Jamón Serrano with Jamón Ibérico in that one article? You ignoramus! You’re an embarrassment to fine cuisine and have no right to be talking about food. Also, how dare you leave my favorite food off the list?

A: Yeah, well, start your own blog and make it better than this one. That’ll show me. Also, if I left your favorite food off the list, it’s probably because I don’t like it or I’ve never had it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been everywhere in Spain, and I haven’t tried all the different typical dishes. You’re welcome to buy me dinner if you think there’s something I should try.

Q: Why are you critical of Spanish people? Isn’t it your job as a foreigner to talk about how great Spain is all the time?

A: Well, if you want to hire me to talk about how great Spain is all the time, then get in touch. If the price is right, I’ll talk about whatever you want me to.

But to answer your question, I don’t want to be the typical guiri blogger who just repeats the same theme of “OMG SPAIN IS SO FUN!” over and over again. I’ve been around way too long to idealize it.

I’ve had unscrupulous bosses who refused to pay me for work I had already done, and exploitative landlords who threatened to sue me for money they had no right to. I’ve seen this country go from rising star of Europe to… well, whatever. And I’ve had a long etc of other ridiculous experiences.

I’m not exactly an objective observer, but who really is?

Anyway, fun is sort of overrated. Life is full of things that are less than fun, like paying taxes, going to Aluche, and having a boss.

And by the way, the most popular post I’ve ever published is a love letter to Spain. So there.

A: You’re generalizing! I know at least half a dozen Spaniards who are nothing like what you describe!

A: Yes, I’m generalizing. You probably know half a dozen Americans who aren’t overweight or obese, either, but that doesn’t mean the statistics aren’t true. You try writing about a nation of 46 million people (more or less) without generalizing. Anyway, one of the top posts on here is from one of my students refuting some of my arguments. I’m happy to engage in dialogue, as long as it’s intelligent.

Q: You might call this humor, but I don’t think you’re funny at all!

A: I appreciate your concern. Whenever somebody comes up with something that’s universally funny, let me know.

Q: You’re such an ignorant American and you’re only writing these things because all Americans are ignorant and I saw this video on YouTube about how Americans don’t know geography and…

A: Whoa, stop right there and chill out… Ignorance is one thing I’m pretty sure is nearly universal, actually. Americans don’t have any sort of monopoly. Check out American Ignorance or Conversation in the Language School #2 for more of my thoughts.

I’ll write more FAQs soon, so subscribe or check back soon!

Yours,

Mr Chorizo.

P.S. If you want to follow the Chorizo Chronicles on Facebook, I’m over here: facebook.com/chorizochronicles. And by all means, pop your email into the sidebar to get updates.