Quick Stop


This is going to be a quick post, as I’m using my iPad, and it tends to get a little crazy whenever I need to make edits!

I just wanted to stop by my blog, catch up and let everyone know I’m still here, well, not in Madrid, but in the UK.

Yes, I have returned to the UK so I can  do some volunteer work with a political party!!

This isn’t my first stint with a political party. Many moons ago I did something similar, and being given another opportunity to get involved with this type of work once again has made me happy!

If you didn’t know…………….I LOVE politics.

So, if I am a little quiet and don’t get to peruse WordPress as much I would usually, you’ll understand why.

I hope you lot out there are well and being as productive as always?!

Hasta luego and muchos besos!

 

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Top Ten Things That Shock Brits In Spain


This post has come as a response to a feature article from an online newspaper/magazine, which reports Spanish news in English. The publication is called ‘The Local’.

The article by reporter Alex Dunham; ‘Top Ten Things That Shock Spaniards In The UK’, made me immediately have a response with the opposite opinion.

What is shocking for us ex-pat Brits in Spain?

Well ponder no longer as I have constructed a list for you all to peruse!!!

Here are the top ten I have come across; not just me though, I am not that biased folks! Others I know have raised these points too, and they definitely make a worthy top ten.

Manners: Let us forget Spain as the traditional, quaint and quiet little idle, full of flamenco and sangria. This is not the Spain of today! The people in Madrid can be grumpy, rude, ignorant, pushy and annoying like any other nation’s inhabitants can be!! It is a shock to realise they say ‘speak to me’ upon answering a telephone or greeting a customer. People will normally reply with ‘I want’ and ‘give me’, which are demands many from the UK might be uncomfortable with! Yet, odd manners are replicated out on the street, metro and in general too. People will quite happily barge you out of way, won’t think twice about hogging the isles in supermarkets, and of course jump queues; all of which is quite normal in most countries though! They may not be Spain specific, but are still annoying!

Time: Lateness is normal in Spain. Meet friends and expect to wait at least 30 minutes for them to arrive. OK, the relaxed atmosphere surrounding social gatherings encourages this, but in business, not a good idea. Most nations respect and expect punctuality, otherwise how would any deal get done, and any work get completed? It is just common sense, be on time to the office!

Vacations: Some companies apply a summer timetable. In effect people begin work early and finish early. Great, and yet I don’t know anyone in the UK who finishes work at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, just because it is summertime. Not to forget the long lunch hours! Oh, and that some places close for the entire of August!

Binge Drinking V’s Drinking Everyday: Spaniards drink daily. They are allowed to have a drink during their lunch break, even on company premises! They can buy alcohol in the cinema! Drinking is encouraged; a sherry after dinner, followed by beer and wine and then finish off with cocktails after 1.00 AM. Alcohol is sold in any cafe, bar, restaurant and club until the small hours, but you won’t be able to purchase it at the supermarkets after 10.00 PM. That rule makes ALL the difference!

Shopping: Certain shops run on a repeat loop; every street you walk down seems to have the usual suspects – Tiger, Starbucks, H&M, Zara, Lefties, Cafe & Te, Bijou Brigitte, Bershka, and so on. Also, Pharmacies are BIG in Madrid. You cannot purchase a little pack of paracetamol from Carrefour (Supermarket), ONLY from a Pharmacy. Yet, from that same Pharmacy you can be sold a pack of highly addictive Codeine based painkillers without a prescription.

Skimpy Outfits: Now Spain has ample excellent weather for the women of the country to parade around in skimpy outfits, so just because they have to wear a coat in winter to cover up on the streets, doesn’t mean their dress sense has suddenly become demure. No-one is that easily fooled!

Home Design: Home decoration tends to favour flounce and frills, brown and pinks, flowers and dark wood. It is quite traditional, and dare I say, a little 1980’s! The other odd thing I have noticed is that wherever there is a bathroom, the make of the suite is always ROCA! A little weird!

Food: Wholesome and healthy, well, I suppose in some places it can be. Yet, a favoured Madrid dish, fried Calamari on baguettes, doesn’t constitute as such! Olives, processed pork, tortilla, chips and fries don’t fit that bill either!!

Make Under: Women in Madrid ARE tan fanatics. They sunbathe in local parks, and break the cardinal rule by not applying sun-cream! Women don’t often dress up (as in going out on the town) or differently. Let me explain; I see plenty of plain clothes such as jeans, shorts, little skirts and tee shirts. These are all over Madrid, they are the norm for summer and winter. Fashion seems to be quite regimented in many parts of Madrid, and for those who like to embrace expressing themselves via fashion, they will find people staring at them oddly! Britain’s urban chic is however slowly catching on in certain areas within Madrid, which is good news!

Tea: great if you happen to favour the green variety or flavoured fruit teas, not if you want milk and sugar! Oh, and they aren’t fan of kettles here in Madrid; microwaves are used to heat up drinking water. Their coffee, well, it is the same as ordering a coffee in any other bar (etc.) in any other country, it is just coffee!

OK, I had to add in another point for good measure, hehe!!

Personal Space: Now the Spanish air kissing or facial kisses are fine with me, well, ordinarily. Yet, meeting people for the first time, and them expecting to get up, close and personal, is a little off putting. I like close contact and am not afraid of hugging people, but I do love my personal space too. On the Metro people will come and sit right next to you, even if there are ample seats available elsewhere. They are there up and close to you; talking loudly, snogging their boyfriend/girlfriend, allowing their children to stamp all over your feet, or applying their make-up. Oh, and in the parks, expect to see extreme make out sessions in full swing!!

Don’t get me wrong here, I do enjoy living in Madrid. It is just that NO country is perfect!!! I would be THE first to stand up and say that UK has it’s own issues too!

Hope you like the list? Please let me know what are your top ten shocks from the countries you have visited or lived in. I would be interested to know your experiences and of course, opinions!

The Real Deal


A few weeks prior I decided to join a meet-up group by the name of ‘Positive Thinking’. I was particularly drawn to this group, to the ethos of being positive, and what wonders awaited upon adopting such an affirmative outlook on life, self and the world.

I suppose with feeling that I myself had been, and was going through many changes, that this group came about at the right moment. It had something to offer me.

Coincidence, well it could be described as such, yet, I don’t think so. I don’t believe in such things, as for me, everything happens for a reason within your life.

Now learning that such things as ‘coincidences’ (not quite worded as such), actually have a place within the theory of positive thinking, added extra weight to the notion that everything does happen for a reason. This group perhaps had made itself known to me, because it had something that I was looking for.

‘The Laws Of Attraction’, ideas currently being utilised by Abraham Hicks, AKA Esther Hicks (the motivational speaker and author); explained such ‘coincidences’. Although, the actual ideas, and terminology had been conceived of long before Mrs Hicks began talking about them.

Now, until the Positve Thinking group, I knew nothing of Mrs Hicks or any of the theories surrounding being positive! Yet, having read, listened and watched more about the topic, I realise what they ‘preach’ are things I always suspected to be the truth about us and life. It seemed therefore, Hicks et al had hit the nail on the head, it was the real deal so to speak.

Perhaps what they are selling is merely a sort of sense? A sense we all have about us, our lives and our place in the world. It is perhaps a sort of order to the universe or us as energy.

Allowing ourselves, our perceptions, minds, hearts and whatever else to be open to ideas; to make decisions, to choose to know what it is we want from ourselves, and from others and our lives. This all helps to obviously point us in some direction. Yet, what makes things come to us just when we seem to need them the most?

Basically; like attracts like. We get what we give, or put out into the ‘vortex’ of energies surrounding us all. Our energy effects all energy around us.

I feel this is true.

What you expect will be confirmed; in a way it is similar to a self fulfilling prophecy (a sociological theory).

Now I see that Mrs Hicks has a real good, and dependable money spinner going on here. They never deviate from the message (like preaching), they repeat the same things (like indocrination), they never offer an exact solution (like therapists), it could be a placebo effect (like some medicines), and basically – it has all the whisltes and bows of any good self help mantra.

Yet in stating all of these things, if it works for some people then why not consider it? Why dismiss it all as hokum until you try it?

As I have mentioned already, most of it makes sense! The stuff being discussed are things you will indetify with, you will no doubt have thought about already.

The topics Mrs Hicks discusses actually pull some things together. For me it helped, as I reconsidered things in life from a different perspective. Or, more precisely, from a perspective I had all along (in some form – don’t necessarily buy into it all). Hearing the seminars, it gave some of what I had already been thinking credibility/acknowledgment. Don’t get me wrong here I am no new age guru follower, or converted disciple or trying to sell any one idea! I just find the concepts of positive thinking, and laws of attraction to be interesting, appealing and useful.

However, the BIG question surrounding all of these ideas/theories still remains unanswered. If everything we need is there for us, out there in the universe, and all we have to do is in effect ‘will’ it to us, why aren’t we all happy, healthy and wealthy?

I can’t provide one air tight, logical or rational explanation for this disparity in life. The best I can do is suggest that we, and our lives are all different; and as with any feel good therapy, I don’t have to explain myself more than that!

What I do know, from my own experience is; like or need attracts like or need, your connections in life are with those who connect to you, mind can win over matter, positive can help you overcome the worst situation, being open to new experience is far more rewarding than hiding away, being clear on your own desires helps you find ways to make those desires a reality, and knowing yourself is the best way to help yourself. All of this wisdom courtesy of little ol’ me, ummm, perhaps self help or life coaching should be my new life goal!

Seriously though, positive thinking is my new way forward. Of course I can’t be; doped up with a silly grin, not a care in the world and never angry, positive ALL of the time, every hour of day! Now that would be silly to expect. Yet, I am trying to increase the positive injections and decrease the negative ones! I hope this change in my internal balance will help readjust some stuff, and steer me clearer on a clearer path.

How about you give it a go too? Go on and do it, and see what, if anything, changes for you.

Oh Dear, I’m In Trouble.


Just want to follow up on my last post.

What can I say, sorry perhaps for concerning and worrying family members who read it, and thought it pertained to my current relationship with my boyfriend.

It didn’t.

I don’t want to excuse my writing the post though, as it is my blog and it is where I commit feelings, thoughts, concerns, ideas and so on and so on. Also, I often include generic scenarios, and ‘Devil Advocate’ posts too. Not everything I write is personal or indeed about one person I know or about my family, friends or boyfriend.

I would never write about anything as personal on my blog anyway! Reason being, well, people do get the wrong end of the stick, that is natural!

The reason for writing my last post, was merely for it to be read, and to receive comments. Also it was a chance for me to perhaps clear some long languishing emotional cobwebs. As those who read regularly know I am on a mission to change, and also progress. I write every post as a kind of therapy, for me, and not necessarily for the reader to like or even identify with. Writing is after all a personal pursuit.

I feel a little upset that the post was interpreted wrongly, as this could have caused me some trouble, and upset. Yet, I hope this explanation will clarify, what my previous post did not.

The post wasn’t intended to discuss one person, but things that have occurred to me or been said to me from time to time, in varied situations.

For reference, my boyfriend and I are not perfect, then what couple are?! We do have our share of problems, arguments and general ‘argh’ moments, but after many, many years I deem that quite acceptable.

Thanks all for reading, and hopefully this now makes sense.

Two Steps Forward


Two steps forward, and hopefully, this time there will be NO steps back!!!!!!!!!!!

Why, well I have made POSITIVE progress!!! YEH for me (happy face included)!!!!!

I am now a volunteer for a NGO here in Madrid, and I am feeling mightily proud of myself!!!!!! Today was my first day, and I have been busy completing some research for them; which is a task I love doing.

At the moment I am not ready to relate all the gory details of what I am exactly doing, not yet anyway. It is after all early days. Needless to say I have begun positively, and hope to remain that way too; fingers and toes crossed please!!

Since discovering the volunteer options available here in Madrid, I have noticed there has been a subtle change within myself. This little new spark of, positivity perhaps, has made everything seem a little ‘rosier’. OK, the change isn’t so dramatic that I could take on the world, and conquer it single handedly; BUT, I feel I am moving forwards instead of stagnating in that rotten rut. I have, I think and HOPE, taken a sledge hammer to that rut and demolished it!!! Hehe!!

For the next few days though, I will be away. We have booked a short holiday to Valencia, which we are looking forward to!!!

Upon my return, I look forward to recommencing my progress through this exciting new chapter of possibilities in my life!! I also have ‘Madrid Meet Up’ groups to attend, which should be interesting!!!!!!!! Who knows what new wonders will await 🙂

ONE LAST THING – I just want to THANK everyone who has been so kind in providing me with support during my ‘ranting and raving’ and negative moments. I have appreciated each and everyone of your kind wishes, advice and comments left as response to my posts. You are all truly wonderful, and kind people, who I feel privileged to have bumped into within the WordPress blogshere!!!

THANKS TO YOU ALL, and have a wonderful weekend!!!

This Is Frustrating


I found a great little job site for applying for work here in Madrid, yet, the application process SUCKS!!!

I can’t upload my own CV, which far surpasses the useless and limited electronic version the site has for every candidate to use. It is OK if every candidate is Spanish, but I am not, and the jobs being advertised on the site aren’t all for Spanish speakers or Spanish companies!!!

The CV on the site didn’t even have the ‘pull down’ option on there for MY degree, what the Hell!!! It couldn’t get my age correct either!! It also required either NIE (certificate of residency) or passport number – which is highly confidential information to part with, and leave lying around on an online job site, which could be hacked any time, and my complete identity then stolen!! In the UK such personal identification would NEVER be required until the interview stage or, until an actual job offer has been made.

The site also required me to input a Spanish telephone number, which I haven’t got. I don’t want one either!!!! I didn’t see the need to transfer my contract over to a Spanish contract, especially as mobile contracts are expensive here. I use texts more than calls, here, Spanish people use calls more than texts – who the Hell am I gonna call and chat to?? I don’t have an endless contact list!!!

The other down side – everything on the site’s CV was in Spanish. Yet, the jobs I wanted to apply for are not advertised in Spanish, are not for Spanish speakers, but Native English speakers. Therefore, as a non-fluent Spanish speaker – the whole site was a tad frustrating to navigate – and most of it wasn’t applicable to me!!!!

It was a classic catch 22. I need to be in a Spanish working environment to learn more Spanish, and yet getting a job to help me do that – is a nightmare! So, I rely on applying for English speaking only positions to help me get somewhere; but this is no better, as the application process is in Spanish!

Barriers, and then some!!!!!

The etiquette for interviews, and for meting people in a business capacity is completely wrong too! There is no follow up, the only option is; come at this time, this date, to this venue – there is NO, can you make this? Is this OK for you? Let us confirm this 100%. There is NO response to confirm or responses to answer questions – its just – this, that and nothing more. If that is no good for you, well, tough – and DON’T contact us again! How is that conducive for business or organisations to run?? Why can’t they clarify what is required?? Why can’t they communicate and decide what is best for all parties concerned?? How does anything ever get done if there is no negotiation and communication, just orders?!

As a candidate or enquirer about volunteering, info on jobs, organising meetings and so on, you have to do all the chasing too. Without two way communication you are often left hanging with no real answers, clarification or a way to progress. Basically, it is a one time only offer; unless you comply to what they want, when they want it and how they want it, you as a candidate or enquirer are up the creak without a paddle.

No wonder so many people here in Spain are unemployed!!!!!!!

I am at least, seemingly, making headway with volunteering. I am trying once more to arrange a meeting to discuss what I can do, and they can do – and so on and so on. Fingers crossed this will all be done and dusted by next week!!!!! Fingers crossed!!!!

I Have Returned, Or Have I?!


Hello one and all!!!

I have returned from my travels and will soon be updating my blog with a post about Rome!

Yipppeeee, you may be saying – or not!

I have just been trying to organise my thoughts, as well as my laundry! So, bear with me please people!

I also have so many photos to sift through, I now quite literally sick of seeing Rome!

Anyway, I shall be back blogging within the next couple of days. Right now I admit I am still reluctant to re-enter the world of online chatter, as I STILL have my holiday head on!

Love to you all 🙂

Bex

Quick teaser photo; prizes for anyone who can guess where this was taken!!!!

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