Expat Voices: Siew Seng Yeow on living in Madrid

Expat Voices: Siew Seng Yeow on living in Madrid

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This Singaporean expat loves life in Spain and advises all newcomers to befriend a few locals and see the country through their eyes.

Name: Siew Seng Yeow
Nationality: Singaporean
City of Residence: Madrid
Date of Birth: 1 March
Civil Status: Single
Occupation: Engineer
Reason for moving to Spain: Work
Lived in Spain since: Aug 2008

What was your first impression of Spain?
Before coming to Spain, I thought all that was to Spain was just bull fighting, flamenco dance and tapas. That was also my first impression upon arriving here. Now I realised these elements form the culture and the reason they are Spanish. Why would anyone want to challenge a bull?... hmm..

What do you think of Spanish food?
Tapas is typical Spanish. No countries in the world have more small dishes to go with the beer as compared to the Spanish.  They are simple, very few spices, and go supremely well with the beer. As opposed to Chinese dishes, they are seldom served hot. The dishes may not look or smell delicious, but they sure are good. Try everything and each one of them would bring out the taste of the beer in a different way.

What do you think of the shopping in Spain?
Do not waste your time shopping; modern brands and commercialised retailing have more or less made shopping very similar to anywhere else. Spend more time going through the events, the festival, and the party. That will be a better way to spend your money.

What do you appreciate most about living in Spain?
The work-life balance. Enjoy the most you can and work the least you can. Everyone is doing that.

What do you find most frustrating about living in Spain?
The smoking in the restaurant and bar is irritating. In fact if I would to remember Spain by a smell, that would definitely be tobacco.

What puzzles you about Spanish culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Why are they talking so much? I miss going straight to the point.

How does the quality of life in Spain compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
Undoubtedly, money can bring quality of life to a certain level. However, the Spanish are showing you can enjoy your life and live it well even without much money.

If you could change anything about Spain, what would it be?
Nothing. It is impossible.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Befriend a few Spanish friends, let them introduce Spain to you through their lifestyle. You will realise its characteristics, its culture and you will admire it deeply.

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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