¿What is this When in Spain…?
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to live, work and play in Spain? Yes? Well, click on the play button above and I’ll tell you…Or better still, subscribe to the podcast! When in Spain is a weekly podcast series, recorded in Madrid (and other parts of Spain) accompanied by this blog, where I’ll talk about my ‘warts and all’ observations and insights on life and culture on the Iberian peninsular. But wait there’s more! Throughout the series I’ll be sharing regular practical advice on how to move here, live, survive and thrive in this country of countries.
Yeah, I know, just what the world needs right?! Another ex-pat (immigrant) telling other ex-pats how to live the dream! There are a ‘mogollón’ or shitload of blogs about living in Spain, Gap Year guides about where to meet other ‘guiris’ (Northern Europeans), hipster* handbooks waxing on about where to find the best flat white coffee and sourdough bread in Barcelona, lone traveller journals on how to ‘find yourself’ in Cádiz and Tarifa and how to get there for just €2.50 and of course the ubiquitous ‘Top 5 places to…’ buy vegan chorizo in Madrid or find oversized vintage denim and original aviator glasses (I’d suggest The Rasto market)
The When in Spain podcast and blog – not to be confused with, by the way, Cliff Richard and the Shadows’ 1963 album of Spanish standards – will not be romanticising life in Spain. And with the help of some of my Spanish and not-so-Spanish friends I’ll aim to ‘tell it like it is’, for want of a better maxim. I’ll be casting an eye on everyday life, people, places, politics, culture and history and attempt to give an honest opinion from a Brit who has a love-hate relationship (hate is far too strong a word), a love-frustration relationship with Spain. I shall attempt to dispel or indeed confirm Spanish stereotypes through my ramblings and see if I can break into the Spanish psyche – and ask, why do they SHOUT so much?
When in Spain podcast and blog – not to be confused with, by the way, Cliff Richard’s 1963 album of Spanish standards.
Who is When in Spain for?
Anybody who’s thinking about coming to live and work in Spain short or long-term. Anybody who’s already living in Spain or has recently arrived. Anybody who is planning to visit Spain on holiday or travel the country. Anybody who simply has a passing interest in Spain and Spanish life, culture etc…
Who is When in Spain probably not suitable for?
Anybody looking for recommendations about where to get a ‘full English’. Anybody who is looking for recommendations about Irish Pubs.
What you can expect from the series…
Enough rambling. When in Spain is a podcast first and blog second. The blog will act as the podcast show notes and give additional info such as photos and links. Occasionally I’ll endeavour to write some longer pieces on the blog.
The weekly podcast episodes will cover, as I’ve said, observations and insights on Spain and Spanish life – which I hope will be entertaining. I’ll also publish regular ‘How to’ guides that will cover all practicalities (Think dreaded nightmare Spanish bureaucracy) about moving here, living here, working here, making friends, learning t’ lingo and everything in between.
Who am I and what the hell do I know anyway?
I’m Paul Burge, born and grew up in Oxford, UK and have been living in Spain for around four years in total. I spent around 10 years working as a journalist in London and Oxford for various news outlets, including BBC, ITV, CNN and The Telegraph newspaper before moving into corporate communications. Fascinating! Since living in Spain I’ve worked in Marketing and Communications for a number of Spanish companies and last year decided I wanted to escape the office environment and spend less time staring at a computer screen. I trained as an EFL/ESL teacher after studying a CELTA course and now inflict English on Spanish uni students and adults while freelancing as a corporate content writer and PR wanker in Madrid.
Por qué Spain? I’ve had a fairly long fascination with Spain, the beautiful women, how loud people talk, the heat blah blah. Some of this was also bound-up in the mystique of childhood memories of holidays to Spain with my parents. Really, as a bit of a language geek I’d always wanted to learn Spanish, always liked how it sounded (I’ve since modified my opinion on that slightly) and so through learning Spanish back in the UK I made lots of Spanish friends which subsequently led them to inviting me to Spain to meet their families and friends.
After numerous trips to wild sherry-fuelled ferias (festivals) around Spain and getting the inside track I gradually fell for the place. Like most people who come to Spain, yes I was fed up of the grey skies and drizzle of the British summer. But really, I was just at a point in my life where I was tired of the ‘rat-race’ and wanted something new, exciting and challenging. It has been challenging and continues to be in many ways. But that’s what keeps me hooked.
I have a Spanish, well Ecuadorian girlfriend, more Spanish-speaking friends than English-speaking friends and feel very much part of a big latin family and circle of Spanish friends. So yes, I feel pretty embedded in the Spanish way of life and all the frustrations it presents. Still can’t get used to eating dinner at the un-human hour of 11pm!
A note on my inspiration…?
Back in the dark and dismal London days, I was looking for a podcast to listen to on the daily commute to transport me from the Northern Line to somewhere sunny. I stumbled across a podcast called Notes from Spain by Ben Curtis. His podcast series looked at life in Madrid and Spain and clicking on the episode link was like opening a sunny window. I loved listening to his thoughts on and travels around Spain. Ben and his podcast series definitely influenced to some extent my decision to come to Spain and to start making my own podcast. Check it out. Ben stopped making new episodes many years ago but all of the episodes are still available. Ben if you’re reading this, I’d love to meet you one day for a caña in Madrid one day. Also, if you’re looking for a great free podcast for learning Spanish check out his Notes in Spanish podcast which helped me a lot. No, he hasn’t paid me to plug him.
*I heard we’ve reached post-hipster now, or is it just peak?