A fun and interactive Saturday in Madrid

A fun and interactive Saturday in Madrid

Living in Madrid certainly is no boring city. There’s always something cool to do any day of the week.

Today, I had the privilege of being invited to my stylist and makeup artist, Shimada’s launch party. He was promoting his new eyelashes straight from Tokyo, Japan. And he also promoted his new Shine Frizz Control Color Protection Argan Oil hair serum. It contains macadamia extract so it smells (and perhaps tastes?) divine, mmm! If you’re interested in the lashes or serum, I’m sure Shimada would love it if you got in touch with him!

If you’ve read my post about being the model of the month, or modelo del mes, then these pictures will look familiar to you.

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The one and only: Shimada! This photo was taken before I was asked to have some lashes put on my face, as well as makeup.

Shimada’s friend and makeup artist gracefully added some eyelashes and makeup on my face and made me look brand new! She used some M.A.C. products. Can you guess what by looking at the photo below?

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Can you tell I’m wearing fake eyelashes?

The balayage in my hair was done by Shimada back in January, so well over 3 months ago. The Spanish sun can do a number on it in terms of brightening it up.

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I couldn’t leave the party without taking a picture with the beautiful makeup artist herself. I didn’t even intend on being worked on when I went to the party. It just happened. If there’s one thing I learned about being a model for a makeup artist, it’s that when they ask me what I want done, “natural?” or “go all out?”, my answer is, “whatever you want”, because it certainly made this one happy! She let free and did her thang. She tousled my hair up and made it look like she did more to it because I looked way different than when I walked into the studio.

Last but not least, I went ahead and bought Shimada’s Macadamia Argan oil hair serum.

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That’s my thumb.

None of these photos, taken with my iPhone SE, have filters. So au natural baby.

Did you like looking at the photos? If yes, what was the most interesting thing about them?

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani

Featured image credit: @sethdoylee

A Canadian’s experience at a Madrid Derby football match, VIP style

A Canadian’s experience at a Madrid Derby football match, VIP style

I always wondered what the point of going to a football match was if you can’t see the players’ faces or even just be able to read their jersey number to make out who they are. It pretty much doesn’t matter where you sit because all you’re going to see is heads with what may be their bodies attached, running after a ball, which looks like a speck in the field. I don’t even know what my eyes are following most of the time when watching a match because it’s all so far. I’ve been to several football matches thus far and this is the experience I get in exchange for big bucks, rather, big Euros, since I live in Spain.

However, yesterday something out of the ordinary happened. My husband and I got to sit not two meters from the main level of the football field and enjoyed seeing larger than life players and actually keep track of the ball. I could clearly see their expressions whenever they came to wards us. Even the press was as clear as the sun sitting right there on the border of the field snapping their cameras away. If I wanted to I could have jumped and made it into the field in one swoop (and then also made it to prison just as quickly). We also had the perk of having food and drinks in the VIP lounge, which, if you’ve ever been on a tour of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium you’d recognize it, because it’s one of the rooms where some of Real Madrid’s trophies are kept.

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We were ever so fortunate to be offered two VIP tickets to see the big Derby match, which doesn’t happen often. A “Derby football match” is referred to two teams that happen to both be from Madrid which play against each other. They’re called Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid. Why these tickets happened to reach our hands is beyond me. Anyway, the real story it that my cousin, Kiyan Sobhani, who is a Canadian sports journalist from Halifax, asked me if we wanted these tix because one of his friends offered them to him because he wouldn’t be able to make use of them. As I’m married to a Real Madrid fan and I pretend to call myself a fan just to be a participant in the fun craze of football, we immediately accepted them. The master behind the tickets is Anton Hakberg. Thank you, Anton, for being such a nice person, for letting us appreciate your star seat tickets for you.

The featured image is courtesy of Shamim Sobhani. I took the photo myself from our seats. We were so close to them I could smell their b.o.

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani

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

 

 

 

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

A Discourse on Coffee Break

A Discourse on Coffee Break

In a follow-up to my latest post From Canada to Europe. Reflections of an expat, I wanted to share an anecdote about a cultural experience. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you weren’t sure how to act? Living in Spain, I’ve witnessed that Spanish people appreciate time spent with friends. It’s appreciated even more when you’re a foreigner and you try to include yourself in social gatherings. It shows that you care about getting to know them. In my case it hasn’t been any different. I work at a job in Spain where my co-workers appreciate it when I spend my coffee break with them, especially if they invite me. It’s almost a rule of thumb to not refuse an offer like that. “Coffee break” isn’t limited to coffee only. It’s more about drinking something or having a snack with them. To me this means that the Spanish value “people” time. Coffee breaks also provide a space for building and strengthening relationships. I’m all for that. However, I’ve come to face a small dilemma: I’m a busy body and have recently been working on several projects simultaneously (and I enjoy all of them), and so I like to take advantage of the little free time I have and work on them during my breaks. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like spending time with my co-workers; it just means that I like to be efficient. This is a difference I’ve noticed between the Canadian/American culture and the Spanish culture. I’m aware that my co-workers may notice when I´m not around during our breaks, so I thought a temporary solution would be to divide my free time or coffee breaks between my co-workers and my projects. I also thought of getting more data so that I could be around my co-workers while working on my cell phone instead of having to use a computer in a separate office. I wouldn’t want to push anyone’s sensitive button! Is there anyone out there who feels like there could be a better solution? Do you agree with me? Your opinions are welcome!

Singing off –

Shamim Sobhani

 

The featured image is courtesy of Daria Nepriakhina.