What’s it like living in Spain…

What’s it like living in Spain…

I’ve got to follow up on my recent post, Expat Coffee Talk – these are the days of our L.I.V.E.S. mainly because I promised you I would. But you have to read the post above, otherwise you won’t get any of what I’m about to share with you.

So what I can tell you is that the style of life in Spain is pretty much a completely different experience than that of Canada. I’m going to throw in the United States of America just because. I also happen to like the US (minus a few things to obvious to mention); it’s our sister nation so I don’t want to leave it out.

Before I continue, let me just say that I’ve been assumed to be American too many a time because people here me speaking English here. Because of that, too, I’ll be including the US in this post as well.

I’d also like to say that when I’m talking about Spain in this post, it’s always going to be about Madrid the city, unless I say otherwise. I live in Madrid, so I figure it makes sense.

One thing that pretty much differentiates Spain from Canada and most American cities are the beautiful palm trees. Need I continue? I could stop right there because that’s a big difference in alone. I live in a city, a pretty big one, and there are actual palm trees here. It’s so nice to see them. I, as a “cold” Canadian, think it’s pretty cool.

Sun. Say the word out loud, nay, merely think it, and you’ll have the sun at the back of your hands for days on end. You know what the even cooler thing is? That I’m not even talking about summer. In winter there is sun for what seems forever, day after day after day. Why call the season winter even, when my cold Canadian heart knows what real winter means in Canada? You want to talk about sun in the summer in Spain? Please, brace yourself because what I’m about to say is going to make you want to drop everything in North America and come here: The sun is around for weeks, weeks, and weeks on end. What does that look like? Come 8am, say good morning to the sun and expect it to stick around until the wee hours of night. I feel like it’s 5pm, as I’m originally from Halifax, but when I look at my watch it’s actually 10:30pm Spain time. It makes me feel like there’s something wrong with that picture. Let’s give it up for the Spanish dictator “_______” for doing something interesting in a positive way. You know what they about sun: less seasonal depression in Spain because we see the sun all year round. I just made that up, but it’s got to be true.

The list goes on, quite well, I may add. Stay tuned.

Palm trees and sunny days. This is the Spanish craze.

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani

 

 

 

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Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery Blogger Award

Hey all, I have had the great fortune to be nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Abha’s Recipes.

I appreciate Abha’s Recipes for nominating me. I feel happy to be known by her and her friends in the bloggers’ world. Blogger awards are a great way for bloggers to participate in these types of activities because it give us a chance to get to know each other. And it’s fun to do! This way, our ideas can be shared and we can learn from each other. Abba’s south Asian recipes has made my taste buds melt, and because I was born in Sri Lanka, I truly appreciate them. You must view her blog because it’s totally worth it.

This award was originally created by Okoto Enigma of https://okotoenigmasblog.com/my-greatest-creation-yet/.

RULES for the nominees:

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog post.

2. List the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.

5. Tell readers 3 things about yourself.

6. Answer the questions the blogger gave to you .

7. Nominate 10-20 people.

8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

9. Ask nominees 5 questions of your choice (one weird/funny question).

10. Share link to your best post(s).

Three things about me are:

1. I was forced to flee Sri Lanka to Canada in the 80s after I was born. Therefore, I entered Canada as a refugee.

2. I enjoy travelling and meeting people from different countries and have come across many difference cultures. I’ve travelled to over 30 countries.

3. I do exercises from Shaun-T’s videos everyday, currently Max 30, which are very motivating.

For the next mystery blogger award I nominate:

1. Amina of thehooyoblog

2. Claire of https://clairevetica.wordpress.com/about/

3. A Tarnished Soul of tarnishedsoul

4. Ana of https://anaylapassion.com/

5. Rebecca of Travels of a beauty addict

6. Aruna Sharma of aruna3

7.  Tom Schultz of spiritinpolitics.wordpress.com/

8. Chung Wipff of chungwipff.com

9. Eugenia of https://amanpan.com/

10. Dreamspinner of dreamspinnerextraordinaire.wordpress.com/

11. Miaa of pearlspotting.com/

12. Nina of thehappylife101.wordpress.com/

13. Derrick of derrickjknight.com/

14. Ceayr of ceayr.com/

15. Women who hope of womenwhohope.com/

16. Rajiv Chopra of rajivchopra.me/

17. Clara of expatpartnersurvival.com

18. Janaline´s World Journey of janalinesworldjourney.com

19. Halee of 2blueeyes.com

20. Maddy of introvertinkorea.wordpress.com/

All of their blogs are really worth checking out and reading into.

The questions I’ve been asked:

1. Tell me one thing that you love about yourself.

I’ve been told that I’m a good listener. I like to try to help people out if I can.

2. What’s your favourite dessert?

A hot chocolate sundae.

3. What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

At the time it wasn’t funny but in retrospect it is. While I was waiting for the bus in Ecuador, two dogs got into a brawl. They started running towards me with great speed and like a bowling ball they knocked me down like I was a bowling pin. I cried of course after I got over the shock of what had just happened. When I tell this story to friends they burst out laughing.

4. Name the person who inspires you the most. And why?

There’s never just one because everyone’s different in their own special way, but I’d like to highlight my boss because she’s a strong female role model who directs an entire school flawlessly while taking great care of her teacher staff.

5. What’s the most important lesson that life has taught you so far?

Take it easy. Life’s too short. Don’t take things personally because someone’s misery is most likely not because of you.

I’d like my nominees to answer the following questions:

1. What’s one of the most helpful tips you can offer, whether it’s about motivation, living as an expat, or about life in general?

2. What’s one positive thing about my blog and one thing I can improve on?

3. Have you ever been caught in an emergency before? If so, what happened? If not, what’s something funny or awkward that’s happened to you?

4. What motivates you to wake up the hour you wake up and get through the day?

5. If you were given the option to choose one country in the world to live in, which would it be?

One of my best posts is 10 steps to make the process of obtaining a Spanish driver´s licence easier and How I was Stalked by a Man in a Trench Coat.

 

Thank you to everyone who has shown interest in my blog, including my nominator. I’m more enthusiastic and motivated even more now to continue writing about things I take interest in.

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani

 

A shout out about keywords in blogging

I have to write a somewhat unusual post. It’s a shout out. If you’re a blogger that likes to write about living in another country as an expat, or what it’s like working in another country, cultural differences and similarities, or experiences and stories while you’ve been living abroad, please write me a comment so that I can follow you and like your posts. I’m so interested in those types of topics. Even if you don’t write about those keywords, write me anyway so that we can connect!

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

Expat Coffee Talk – these are the days of our L.I.V.E.S.

Expat Coffee Talk – these are the days of our L.I.V.E.S.

This post has been brought to you by the Chronicles of LIVES – Living in Very Entertaining Situations.

I’m a Canadian who lives in Spain. Forget about the “Canadian” part for a moment. I’m an expat who has chosen to live in a land far, far away that isn’t my home country. Are you American, Australian or from another part of the world and have always wondered why people like me leave their country of origin to go live somewhere else?

Maybe you’re that person that only travels to other countries to spend time on the beaches, a.k.a. all inclusive resorts. If you are then perhaps you’ve asked your expat friends when they’re planning on returning to their country of origin, because surely, they don’t plan on being away from “home” forever….right? “What about being close to your family?” “Raising your kids?” No? Ok, ok, well, I hope I’m wrong. One thing is someone growing up with the same friends all their life, getting married in the same town, having kids in the same town, and having the same job in the same town, but another thing is being presumptuous and expecting everyone else to do all that. There are friends who grow up in the same city and travel to places like Punta Cana and Riviera Maya, and believe that they’ve seen the country, or *cough* *cough* the world.

I digress.

It could be that our expat friends who live away from their country of their upbringing call their new residence “home”. Thank goodness for the existence of diversity of thoughts because I’m an expat and do not call my country of residence “home”. I’m fortunate to be able to call both Canada AND Spain my home. What, you think that just because I’ve left my native land I don’t think of it as “home” anymore? Or just because I’m a foreigner in Spain means that I can’t call it “home”? I actually feel comfortable calling two completely different countries “home” because I’ve been lead to feel that way. Plus, it’s a complicated way of life and I like it 🙂

Maybe you have expat friends who believe that there are no such thing as borders along countries, that if they feel like living elsewhere then they will go do it.

I always wondered how expats do it. Do they just wake up one day and say that they feel like picking up their stuff and moving to a foreign country? What if they don’t even speak the language? What then?

Do expats move to be adventurous? Or because they are adventurous? If by adventurous they mean that they’ve been treated differently because they’re not from that country, or misunderstood because it’s not their native language, then I’ve been there! Like I said, my way of living is complicated but I always feel like it was worth the move.

So, what’s it like living in Spain? I’ll have to leave that topic for another time now, so feel free to stay tuned.

Signing off,

Shamim Sobhani

 

Photo courtesy of Utomo Hendra Saputra

 

Chronicles of L.I.V.E.S. – Another day in the life of an expat in Spain

Chronicles of L.I.V.E.S. – Another day in the life of an expat in Spain

This post has been brought to you by the Chronicles of LIVES: Living in Very Entertaining Situations, while living abroad.

I get off the bus at the same stop as I have been the last 5 years, every Monday to Friday. As I enter a green, quaint, residential area, I see parents and children walk in the same direction, some wave at me, others smile and say hello or “Buenos dias”. My face lights up as I see all these people, children and adults alike. “What am I, a Canadian expat, doing in Madrid?” I still ask myself from time to time.

As I walk through the door, I sign my name on the sign in sheet, and make my way to my still-empty classroom. I hang up my coat and paraphernalia, wash my hands (because after taking the subway and the bus, I’ve been in contact secondhand with hundreds of people), touch up with some hand creme, take a gulp of water for a hydration boost, and I enthusiastically go back to the front entrance and start greeting students and parents walking into the school. I say “Hi” and “Hello”, and whatever else that I come up with impulsively. A kid clasps onto my hand and I guide her into her classroom. I go back to the lobby and walk another 2 year old and 3 year old, and more, to their classroom. Every time I leave them with their teacher the other toddlers try to throw themselves at me from excitement of seeing me (and me them). I instantly feel grateful for having this job.

Can you guess what I do?

No, I don’t just greet children and their parents and take the children to their classrooms (although it’s so fun doing it). That’s part of my job. I’m a language teacher for babies, toddlers and children who are short a few months of losing their first tooth. It’s an adventure every day and there’s never a dull moment.

I can’t imagine doing anything else in my life at the moment because I love what I do so much. Sure, I had other plans and ideas of what I’d imagine myself working as when I was in university, but reality doesn’t always reflect our plans. I don’t regret any of the decisions I made leading up to this day, and every day I’ve lived in Spain so far. Am I lucky? Do I deserve it? Is it fate? All I know is that I waking up looking forward to my day and going to work has had a lot to do with it. That and working really hard. But because I’m happy with my job, it makes working hard feel faint.

Sometimes what we plan doesn’t exactly pan out the way we expect, but life isn’t about planning…

…it’s about living.

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

Photo credit: Luca Upper @lucistan

Chronicles of L.I.V.E.S-Living In Very Entertaining Situations

Chronicles of L.I.V.E.S-Living In Very Entertaining Situations

I walk into a bank and request to open an account. I understand half of what the teller’s saying, partly because of the thick Spanish accent along with the lisp and the vocabulary words which are different than from what I’m used to.

I never thought in a million years that Spain Spanish could sound so different than the rest of the Spanish speaking world. My bad. My ignorance. I should have moved to Spain more prepared.

Speaking Spanish as a foreign language, as a second language all day long is a challenge in itself, but I’m also expected to change my accent and use of words to match and accommodate to those of the natives of this land because I happened to learn Spanish in Latin America. It’s not that I think Latin American Spanish is better than Spain Spanish, but after learning a whole new language from scratch over 15 years ago, it doesn’t seem too much to ask to cut me some slack, so please, consider my situation before asking me and the like to re-learn the language when all you have to do is make in a tiny bit of effort on your end.

Back to the bank teller. If I can’t understand her, it makes sense to say that she can´t understand me either. Me, throwing in foreign words into the conversation, coupled with my foreign/Latin American accent, does’t make this employee a happy camper!

If attempting to talk with a bank teller, face to face, is a challenge, then imagine me calling the bank up on the telephone. It’s like speaking to a robot. Hello, Wall-E.

These are the days of my L.I.V.E.S – Living In Very Entertaining Situations.

Featured image photo by nxphotography.uk.

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

How I found a job in Spain in 5 steps

How I found a job in Spain in 5 steps

As an expat, I´ve been asked how I managed to find a permanent job as a teacher in Madrid. It´s tough landing a job if you´re not from any of the countries that belong to the European Union.

Many people come over from North America through an exchange program. Here´s how I did it:

  1. I wanted to move to Spain to receive more education, so I applied to a Master´s program at a University in Spain.
  2. After I was accepted I applied for a student visa (this was mandatory).
  3. I realized I didn´t want to move out of Spain after I would finish my Master´s, so halfway through the program I applied to an exchange program to teach English at a private bilingual school. As I already possessed a student visa, I didn´t need to return to Canada and apply again.
  4. My exchange program was a maximum commitment of two years. Halfway through the year, the school I worked at expressed interest and asked me to work for the them full-time after my two years would be concluded.
  5. My residency status changed from ¨student¨ to ¨married to a Spaniard¨ because I got married at this point, so I was granted a residency permit. If I had not gotten married my school would have sponsored me to get a work visa.

A timeline of the steps goes like this:

Master´s program was 1 year long.

Teaching exchange program was 2 years long.

I was hired by the same school right after that. I´ve been teaching there for a total of 5 years so far.

While it´s usually not difficult to get accepted into an exchange program to teach, you should like teaching or have the desire to teach, otherwise, you´ll be doing something you don´t like doing.

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

Photo courtesy of photo-nic.co.uk nic