Category Archives: Expat

Love Letter: Madrid’s Pedestrian Streets

Puerta del Sol facing north to Preciados on Constitution Day

Madrid’s heart — her epicenter, undisputed city nucleus — is the plaza at Puerta del Sol. Couriers once traveled Europe to deliver the world’s news here at the Casa de Correos. A sidewalk plaque marks the plaza as the nation’s kilometer zero. City addresses begin here, as do measurements for Spain’s grid of radial roads. […]

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Ximena of Barquisimeto, Venezuela

Lucky ol’ me meets many people in Madrid: moved-to-the-big-city Spaniards from Extremadura, Andalucia, Asturias; EU-wandering Erasmus students; watchful-eye-on-Brexit Brits; young Auxiliares de Conversación, often from the States; expats for hauls long and short, from Australia, China, Bulgaria, hither, yon, beyond. They talk to me. (The fools!) Some chats are guarded, surface-y. Others far less so. […]

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Madrid Impressions: Round Six

Two years in Spain! I roam Madrid in my geezerly way, drift obliviously into the photo frames of selfie-snapping newlyweds, scour farmacia shelves for good ol’ American Geritol. Locals chat with me, especially when I suffer senior moments in big metro stations. I notice stuff, despite dotage, post these occasional comminiqués. HEALTH CARE ¡Muy bien […]

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Transit vs Car: Four More Points

Yet another post! Despite an implied battening-down-of-hatches in 2015. I’m sorry. I still lived stateside in 2015. My perspective has changed. For now, four more bright red subheads: LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO TRANSIT VS MADRID TRANSIT: NO COMPARISON My ’14/’15 tourist treks showed me the chasm between transit West Coast and transit West Europe. […]

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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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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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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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