Today was an absolutely horrible day, with almost 5 hours of my life wasted at the Foreigners’ Office in some godforsaken backwood of Madrid. But I’ll leave a full description of what transpired for another occasion, as I don’t have the fortitude to give a blow-by-blow account of my bureaucratic nightmare…
So today, I have decided to write about something more positive- the people who I’ve met since I’ve arrived. One of my biggest worries in moving to Spain was that I would be very lonely, and miss my friends and family incredibly. And I do.
But I have also met some very kind people since I’ve been here, so I thought I would write a list 🙂 (in order of meeting).
I met Maria on a conversation exchange site. She’s in her early 30s, and has her PhD in the history of law, with a special interest in the freedom of the press in Spain. She is really smart, friendly, and outgoing, and loves to walk! We went on a stroll through the Retiro Park and the centre of Madrid, which was heaps of fun.
I met Kerly on the same conversation exchange site. She’s 34, and originally from Ecuador. She lived in Sligo, Ireland, and learnt English there. Kerly is another lovely person, with a great sense of style, and a really warm personality. We went for dinner at a fantastic restaurant in the San Anton Market, then to a lookout in the centre of Madrid.
3. Anita and Cristian
Anita is Venezuelan, Cristian Chilean, and I was introduced to them by a mutual friend. They are in their 30s, and live in a suburb a bit outside Madrid. They took me to the bull running festivities in their village, then to tapas, and we spoke Spanish the whole day, which was a real challenge for me!
I met Oscar through the conversation exchange site. He’s in his early 30s, and wants to learn English to improve his job prospects. We went to a bar where you could buy 5 beers for 4 Euros, because Oscar likes to drink beer. A lot. After we met, he then went to have more beers. Still, he was good company!
I met Aina through the conversation exchange site, too. She is 23, and from Malaysia, and although she speaks perfect English, she contacted me because she was very lonely when she first came to Madrid, and she wanted to offer her friendship. I thought this was a really kind gesture. Aina is doing an internship in software engineering as part of her degree. We went to a Coeliac bakery, and had coffee and cakes 🙂
6. Blanca, Maria, and Brett
I was introduced to Blanca by a mutual friend, Juan Carlos, who met her in Colombia. She is a film critic, which is a pretty amazing job. I went to her house for a delicious lunch, which was cooked by her friend, Brett. He is Australian, and a professional chef. I also met Blanca’s colleague, Maria, who is a voice actor, her mum, Mathilde, and her cat, Ines.
I met Jan on the conversation site (seriously, this is the place to go to meet people!). He is (I’m guessing) in his late 30s, and originally from a small town near the Basque Country. He moved to Madrid two weeks ago to take up a new job as a chef instructor at a college in the south of the city, and joined the conversation site to try and meet other people who are new in town. He has a really sharp and cynical sense of humour, and a good line in self-deprecation.
Again, a person I met on the conversation site. Carlos is 50, and has recently been appointed sales director of a large company, which wants him to improve his spoken English so he can better interact with global business partners. Carlos is married, with three children, and his wife is a yoga instructor. He is very charming, and I can imagine he would be an excellent salesperson. We went to the top of El Corte Ingles, in Callao, which has a great view over the city.
Ulysses is the doorman or concierge of my apartment building, and he is just lovely. I’m going to write a special post about him one day. He is 34, and originally from The Philippines. I’m not entirely sure what he does all day, but whenever I see him, he is always happy and friendly and says hello. Today was the first time I had the chance to talk to him properly, and he was very kind and encouraging. He’s a good person.
Making this list has actually made me feel A LOT better about the day. Although I’m not sure if the people I’ve met will become good friends (I hope they do!), I’ve found it encouraging to remember that I have not been alone 🙂
5 thoughts on “People I’ve met”
What an amazing memory you have Helen. So glad you have met so many people. Am loving your blog. I really admire your bravery and sense of adventure in moving to a new country on your own – especially one which does not speak your native tongue.
Thanks Dawn! I am so glad you’re enjoying the blog. To be honest, I have found it really, really hard here some days. Yesterday was pretty awful- almost everything went wrong, and I ended up in tears at the bank, when the teller told me that I could only pay in cash from 8:30am-10:30am, and it was 1:45pm. It was just too much!
But I met up with Carlos yesterday afternoon, and I realised how much I had enjoyed meeting new people, so I thought I should write about that.
But let me assure you, sometimes I desperately want to come home, and speak English without worrying.
Helen, your blog is fantastic and I’m really enjoying reading your posts!! Please keep the posts coming. You are incredibly brave and I’m sure there have been challenging days, but remember you got through them! I admire your sense of adventure! Natalie
I’m so glad that you’re enjoying reading the blog, and thank you for commenting 🙂 A lot of the time, I don’t feel very brace at all, and I definitely underestimated how hard it would be to speak Spanish so much. But it’s been interesting, that’s for sure!
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