Expat Voices: Nicklas Gummesson on living in Madrid
After two years, this Swedish expat still finds it amazing to wake up to a bright sun and blue sky on an almost daily basis but thinks the city would be a much better place without smokers.
Name: Nicklas Gummesson
City of residence: Madrid
Date of birth: 1984/06/12
Civil status: Single
Occupation: IT Engineer
Reason for moving to Spain: A mix of long-term goals and coincidences. I always had the goal of moving abroad (or at least give it a try) to learn more languages and cultures as well as be part of the global community. After finishing my bachelor degree in computer science I wanted a change in my life and started looking for alternatives. It happened to be Spain as I stumbled upon a job opportunity I just could not decline.
Lived in Spain since: August 2008
What was your first impression of Spain?
My first impression of Spain -- as a child on family vacations -- was that it was a warm country with friendly people, although I could not understand their weird language.
What do you think of Spanish food?
Both the food and the culture around it are very different from Sweden. The tapas are a great thing, both for eating a little of everything and for sharing a meal with friends but the three-course lunches and late dinners are a bit strange for me.
One can really tell that the food is a big part of the Spanish life and that is probably why there is such a great variety and good food. Although, I must say the Spaniards like French fries and other unhealthy food a little too much. And why oh why aren't there any real dark bread?
What do you think of the shopping in Spain?
I love the small shops and fresh markets! There is a wide variety of everything; clothes, food and everything else you might want.
What do you appreciate most about living in Spain?
The weather. Being used to have every other day filled with dark clouds and rain, it is really amazing to wake up to a bright sun and blue sky on an almost daily basis!
What do you find most frustrating about living in Spain?
The smoking. Almost everyone smokes and doesn’t seem to reflect over why that is.
The slow and somewhat dysfunctional bureaucracy also frustrates me. Luckily the staff at my company has helped me a lot with the paper work.
What puzzles you about Spanish culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
The late nights out - they never seem to end! You start the night with dinner and end with breakfast, if not lunch even. The Spaniards sure like their bars and nightlife.
The only things I really miss are friends and family.
How does the quality of life in Spain compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
In general I would say the Spaniards seem just as happy as any other and enjoy a good quality of life. Although the quality of life considering materialistic stuff is not as good here as in many other countries.
If you could change anything about Spain, what would it be?
Prohibit smoking in restaurants and night clubs. Both the people and society would benefit from it.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Make an effort to learn the language, culture and people. That way you will surely enjoy the life here!
If you would like to share your perspective about life in Spain and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorES@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire on life in Spain' in the subject line.
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