Author Archives: Tim Adams

USA in the Rear View

“But why did you leave the United States?” Madrileños must ask me that question at least once a week. Some sound mystified. Isn’t the United States richer than Spain? Don’t Americans get to walk the streets they know from all the big American movies, TV shows? Of course, they’ve heard of how terrible Trump is, […]

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EEUU en el Espejo Retrovisor

(¡Mi primera traducción sin ayuda! Espere errores y no se decepcionará. Todos los enlaces son para páginas en inglés.) “¿Pero porque te fuiste de Estados Unidos?” Los madrileños deben hacerme esa pregunta al menos una vez a la semana. Algunos parecen mistificados. ¿No es Estados Unidos más rico de España? ¿Los estadounidenses no pueden caminar […]

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Madrid Impressions: Round Five

The latest installment: VENEZUELAN DIASPORA I meet Ecuadorans and Colombians in Madrid — and should, according to immigration-to-Spain stats — but not as often as I meet Venezuelans: two waiters and a manager in one restaurant; the part-owner of another; students, job seekers, new arrivals. Ties between the two countries are old, run deep. Some […]

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Polyglot Tips N’ Tricks

Language Exchange in Madrid, Spain

¡Buenos días! Adiós. Señora. I recognized those Spanish words at age thirty-five, not many more. I could point to a familiar menu item in a Mexican restaurant — for a quesadilla, chile relleno — regard a server with hopefully arched eyebrows. Today I live in Spain, relied on my Spanish to rent an apartment, arrange […]

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Catalonia Cautiously Contemplated

“So what’s going on in Catalonia?” ask U.S. of A. conocidos. The region declared independence from Spain last month. Friends are curious. I offered my two cents in a July post, will today pitch in another penny. Cautiously. I live in Madrid, hear mostly Madrid’s side of the conflict. (♦)  Separatist front lines are in […]

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How I Renewed my Spain Visa

Please note cagey blog title wording. A title like Spain Visa Renewal Steps or How to Renew Your Spain Visa would suggest an offering of authoritative advice on how to renew your Spain student visa, or au pair visa, or entrepreneur visa, or whatever the hey other type of visa you bagged to permit life-over-the-long-haul […]

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Madrid Impressions: Round Four

… or ‘Spain Impressions’ this time around, and you just might see a “Round Twenty-Five” post in the years to come. So much here is new to me. I grew up and grew gray in California, feel entitled to judge U.S. life from the inside out. In Spain, I grasp at threads of a plot […]

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Bucharest: First Impressions

Traffic. Fifth worst urban traffic on Planet Earth, according to the TomTom global traffic index. Visit and you’ll learn why. Picture Venice Boulevard in L.A., or maybe Wilshire. Grant yourself godlike powers. Add a couple of lanes, dirty it up, kill most of the median landscaping. Plug in guaranteed-to-gridlock traffic circles, antiquated signaling. Hoist this […]

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Rail Day Trips from Madrid

You’re coming to Spain! You want to stroll among the beautiful people on Calle Arenal, ponder Madrazo at the Prado, chug-a-lug calimochos in Latina, black out in a Malasaña patrol car. But, before or after your well-deserved arrest, you’d like to sample the Spanish rail system, too, and book a day trip. Maybe you’ll find an […]

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Explaining the American Accent

Europeans often recognize Yankee tourists for a trait that we Yanks often don’t know we possess: our American accents. I have one. Nearly everyone I knew in the U.S. — in high school, kollidge, beyond — had one. But, many Americans don’t know they’ve got ’em. Regional accents exist, sure: Southern, New England, New York […]

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