Welcome to my blog…almost a decade later
When I first moved to Spain from Boston almost nine years ago with a full suitcase and a lot of determination (that was pretty much the extent of what I had), I never imagined that my “aventura” would turn into a life-changing decision. Back in 2006 I started a simple blog about my adventures as an American in Spain to keep in touch with my family and friends and to let everyone know that I was alive and well over here. I decided to share the curiosities of living and working in Madrid: the good, the bad, the interesting and the confusing. The blog kept me entertained for a while, but then I started getting a bit lazy and just stopped writing completely. And the years passed by…
That’s not to say that nothing has happened since I stopped writing. To name a few things: I went through the 9-month process of getting my working papers without a lawyer, became a 17 year old student driver again, had a baby, got married, got laid off to add to the 24% unemployment rate, got robbed (a few times), completed a two-year bilingual MBA, got in a car accident, taught a few English classes (that didn’t last long) … and not at all necessarily in that order.
How is this blog different from the other American in Spain expat blogs out there?
Obviously there are going to be similarities with other Americans who have moved over here to Spain, but there are some big differences:
This blog is NOT about:
– Spanish food and wine. Yes, it’s great, but there are other gastronomy blogs dedicated to this.
– An attempt at gaining money. There are some other blogs that offer “consultancy” services about moving from America and living in Spain and charge for Skype calls. Sorry, but I find that humorous. The only real way to see if things can work for you are to do a lot of research (thanks internet), ask questions (there are plenty of places and people (like me) that don’t charge, and give it a go.
– Teaching English. When I left Boston I left behind a successful career path. I knew that I was taking a risk moving over here, but I decided to give it one year max, and if things didn’t work out (aka finding a legal job) I’d move back. I’m not a good teacher and probably never will be. I taught some English classes when I studied abroad here in 2000 and decided it definitely wasn’t the thing for me.
This blog IS:
– A mix of interesting stories from my experiences over the past 9 years living here. A lot has gone on during this time. My idea is to write entries about any and all interesting tidbits that come to mind and that could be interesting and/or useful to people reading this blog.
-A place to share my customer experience anecdotes. I am passionate about this topic and will be sharing both good and bad experiences. (See Customer Experience or click on the Customer Experience category).
-A mental sketchpad. I love writing. This blog will be my paper and pen.
So why start writing again now?
Over the years I’ve been contacted by people who have been interested to know more about my experiences, or just a part here or there, to help them with their own lives or just out of plain curiosity. Not too long ago an American college student contacted me through LinkedIn saying he had found my profile intriguing because he studied abroad in Madrid and wants to move over here to live. He wanted to get my advice on how I had made the move and made everything seemingly work out so well. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the recent layoff…). He was going to be interning here and would be in touch to meet up. Apparently the Madrid nightlife has gotten the best of him, since I haven’t heard any more since that last message right after moving here…
In another case, not too long ago, a friend of a friend contacted me to find out more about how the whole getting married in Spain thing works. And I was more than happy to try to help her out.
So here are my five reasons why I’m taking out the pen again (aka typing on my computer) and going back to the blogging world:
- I love to talk and write. One of the things I most like to do is meet new people, talk to people, and share stories. What better place to share my experiences over here that could be interesting or useful to others than in an inoffensive blog?
- Customer experience. I’m passionate about customer experience and believe it is fundamental for any business to succeed. Unfortunately over here in Spain that concept is probably close to #15 on companies’ top 10 lists of important items. Customers do not deserve to be treated poorly! Unfortunately, after being here for so long I’ve started to get used to the customer service….but this shouldn’t happen. I think it’s important to share these stories so companies realize the impact of the direct contact they have with customers. More valuable than any marketing plan investment is what the person next to you has to say. On the other hand, it’s important to share the positive experiences as well and to promote these actions that actually leave customers happy! I’ve had quite a few of these as well, although the bad ones tend to stand out more.
- Helpful info I remember when I was thinking about moving over here that I was looking everywhere I could for any sort of information that might be helpful to me. I’ve gone through a lot in almost 9 years and can definitely share some of those experiences and insights.
- Interesting stories. Spain is definitely different than the US, in more ways than one. Sometimes when I’m talking to my family and say something that seems totally normal to me, I realize that it’s not at all normal to them. Of course it makes sense that in the local parade for Three Kings Day on January 6th, the black king is usually a Spanish person with black paint on his face.
- Unemployment leaves you with time on your hands.
So, here it goes. My idea is to write entries about different topics from my experience here, mixed in with customer experience stories, mixed in with any interesting daily occurence. Enjoy!