Dig Deeper…facing challenges as an expat

Dig Deeper…facing challenges as an expat

Yeah, I couldn’t resist using another Shaun T’s quote again. I work out to his videos everyday, and even though it’s about exercising, I can apply it to other aspects of my life.

Sure, being an expat can be different and adventurous, even fun at times, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty parts…a prime and popular example is the language. Just the other day I wished a certain person a great summer and instead of being reciprocated the same thing in the same, warm way, the reaction I got was a writer’s block face. They stood there, with a blank expression on their face, and after what seemed like two minutes, they replied “you too”, but they had rephrased what I said every so slightly, and in a way which they were “correcting” me. All because I hadn’t phrased my “farewell best wishes” the way they’re used to hearing from the exact same people they see every single day. I felt like telling them that they need to open their mind a little (a lot) more and adjust their ear to people who’s first language isn’t Spanish, but who do make every effort to be understood. Heck, I don’t want to leave out the part where the thousands of expats like myself in that city have left their comfort zone and are trying to live a decent life in a place where English isn’t spoken. You must multiply people like them by millions because otherwise that example doesn’t serve any purpose nor have sufficient leverage.

So what I’m trying to say is that the more understanding and compassionate “native” people are to immigrants, refugees, and expats when it comes to speaking and understanding the language, the easier it will be for both sides.

When life gets tough, “dig deeper”. At least you’ll know how to react if a similar situation arises.

But what’s the point of life if we aren’t met with challenges which help us grow? Hmm…

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani

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Renting a bike is as easy as 1, 2, 3

Renting a bike is as easy as 1, 2, 3

The other day I wrote about how to avoid accidents with electric bike rentals in the city of Madrid.

So how does one actually rent out these bikes?

  1. Visit their website, BiciMad 
  2. Register and plug in your credit card information
  3. Receive a code in your phone
  4. Plug in the code into the machine at a physical bike rental station and a physical plastic card pops out for you to keep
  5. To rent a bike, swipe this card at any of the rental stations that has available bikes

You can rent from any station where there´s an availability of bikes as long as you have enough credit in your balance. Download the BiciMad application onto your phone so that you can see a map of the stations. It costs roughly 40-50 cents per half  hour and 1 Euros per hour. If you go over your time limit (2 hours), there´s a 4 Euro fine per hour from that moment onward. As long as you make sure you place the bike back when you´re finished with it into the slot at a station which has an available slot, and it won´t come back out, then you´re good!

Tourists can also rent out bikes but the rules are stricter and they go by a slightly different process.

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani

 

My Story

My Story

Some friends have asked me if I plan on posting some exercise routines in my blog. I can’t stress enough how flattered I was to hear that. As much as I’m into keeping fit, I certainly don’t have expertise on that topic and I don’t consider myself an instructor. I’m not a certified yoga instructor either. However, that’s not to say that ideas of the sort won’t pop up in my blog from time to time (watch out Shaun T, Cassie Ho and Adriene). Tip: These pros offer exercises distinct from one another and they are my main sources of exercise. If you’re seeking intense cardio routines plus toning your muscles, Shaun T’s your man. If you’re looking for something softer (not as intense) but something that will still work your core to death, Cassie Ho’s Blogilates does pilates and cardio and thanks to her colourful, non-stop talking videos, you’ll never get bored! If you want to take a step back and concentrate on breathing and stretching, turn to Yoga with Adriene. All three instructors are awesome in their own way.

In the next few weeks I hope to publish some posts about tips for foreigners residing in Spain, which is where I live. Disclaimer: Don’t be surprised if you see the word “Canada” mentioned more than once. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been mistaken for being American (no offense, Americans). I live in an environment where almost everybody who is an English speaker is presumed to be either British or American. Unless I’ve been misinformed, there are not that many Canadians in Spain. Either that or we Canadians are too busy watching hockey on television indoors while everyone else is outside soaking up the sun.

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

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To believe in yourself, you must accept yourself. To accept yourself, you must trust in your power to believe. – Shaun T

To believe in yourself, you must accept yourself. To accept yourself, you must trust in your power to believe. – Shaun T

Let me start the gregorian new year by introducing my new blog. Happy gregorian new year!

Whenever I say that I exercise, I’m often asked “which gym?”, to which I respond “in my own house.” I get inspired to use Shaun-T´s videos as my regular exercise routine. Not only does it help me keep fit and gives me tons of energy, but Shaun’s words also inspire me. The quote above is an example of that.

Welcome to my world. I believe that we should maximize our awake time. In order to fulfill that, you must do things that make you happy and satisfied. Life is too short to dwell on the crummy things that happen to us. Instead of dwelling, why not change things to make them better?

I use exercise as one of the ways out of feeling down. Exercise has been a constant factor in my life since I was in high school. When my science teacher told my class that exercise helps you study for exams, clearing your mind and all, I went full force into exercising everyday. I had a humongous bedroom in our house back then and we lived a thousand miles from civilization. I was determined to put what my teacher said to the test because I wanted to ace my exams. I needed to ace them so that I could get into the university of my choice (McGill University). I ran around my room like a maniac and did numerous sets and reps of different types of exercises I learned from Seventeen Magazine. Not only I did well on my exams and got to go to McGill, but I felt on top of the world whenever I worked out. Every time I feel unmotivated about something, it doesn´t take much to remember the exhilarated feeling I get from exercising.

This is why exercise maintains a significant part of my life. It goes above “sleep” on my list. Sounds whacky, right? Well, it depends on who you talk to, but I’ve been lead to believe that mainstream people prefer sleep over exercise.

To set the record straight, my aim in this post isn’t to promote Shaun-T (but good for him for getting free publicity here). Let this post be a source of motivation for anyone who is one encouragement short in getting out there and starting their first exercise training. Or for those who are trying to get back into it (I’ve been there several times and it was not easy). Exercise also helps me take my mind off of negative thoughts and situations. It turns my sour day or moment into a positive one.

shamim
This is me last summer in Halifax, NS, taking a much needed rest after vigorously attempting (successfully I might add) to not fall flat on my face, rollerblading 5 meters from where I rented my skates from to that bench you see there. Last time I rollerbladed was a couple of decades ago.

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani