Almost five years ago, in a Madrid bar, I made small talk with some tall Spanish guy for 15 minutes. Only in town (country?) for three days, I thought nothing of it – I didn’t even remember the conversation the next morning. A couple of days later, however, I was reminded of the encounter when I received an email from a fellow named Jacobo. Apparently I’d given the stranger my email address – not usually my style, so I’m going to blame it on the sangría and chupitos.
Many, many emails and three months later, I returned to Spain from San Francisco to scope out the Spaniard. Potentially a very foolish move on my part, but I took my chances. And I suppose it went well because I made EIGHT trips to Spain that year and several more to meet up in the US. A year and half later, I finally made the big move to Madrid.
I’ve lived in the Spanish capital for over three years now. At first I dedicated myself solely to my previous career (marketing for tech companies) learning quickly that there was no shortage of interest in Americans from Silicon Valley who’ve worked for big tech companies. Soon enough, however, I discovered my real passion was for travel and writing. So while I continue to keep one foot in the tech world, I relish in developing my own site (La Tortuga Viajera), as well as focusing on travel writing.
A year ago, Jacobo and I got married (translation: finally ended the residency/visa debacle that made our lives H.E. double hockey sticks for two years). We said our “I do’s” and “sí’s” in a 700-year-old monastery in Guadalajara, celebrating with some 120 Spaniards and 40 Americans.
I also can now happily say that Madrid very much feels like home. For the first year or so I missed the US terribly, grumbling at every turn over Spanish inefficiencies – the gym is closed on a random, unimportant holiday? My birth certificate isn’t valid if it wasn’t issued within the last six months?? The bank isn’t even open on Saturdays????? But now, my heart hurts whenever I leave the Iberian Peninsula – I’m literally incapable of surviving without a daily dose of manchego cheese or weekly intake of tortilla española and croquetas (troubling, I know). Now if only my Spanish husband wanted to stay in Spain – he wants to move to San Francisco. Fíjate.