Amy: Restless Fork
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Madrid, etc.
I’m Amy Bingham, a food-obsessed traveler who has finally met her match in the foodie heaven of Madrid. The Spanish capital is the eighth city that I’ve called home (the third in Spain). After teaching for a year in a rainy pueblo in the Galician interior, I opted for the sunnier big city in 2013.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I first started blogging while studying abroad in Seville in 2010 as a way to keep my family updated on my travels. Two URLs and two cities later my blog has morphed into a space to connect with fellow food lovers and share the (mis)adventures of living abroad.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
For me a huge part of being an expat is learning what not to do. Thus, one of my favorite posts is My 6 Most Epic Fails of Living Abroad .
I also love writing about the amazing food and wine of Spain. Discovering a new restaurant or a new wine region is even sweeter when I can share it! My post on the tapas of León is one of my favorites because every time I read it I want to book a bus back to the North! León: The Best City in Spain for Tapas
Tell us about the ways your new life in Madrid differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Because I had been living in Spain for a year prior to moving to Madrid, the transition was a much smoother one than it would have been otherwise. That being said, living in Spain has come with a definite learning curve. From the language to the eating schedules to the bureaucracy, I feel like even two years isn’t enough to get it all right!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Madrid? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t think I was prepared for the amount of time I was going to spend on the metro. Between the hour-long commute to and from my school to traversing the city for private classes I was spending upwards of three hours a day underground.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
The dread-inducing Subjunctive verb tense aside, my biggest fail in learning Spanish has been correctly using reflexive verbs. Case in point: the verb correr. It’s one of the first words you learn in beginner Spanish classes: correr, “to run.” But add that pesky little “me” to that innocent word for exercise and the meaning changes completely. Correrse means to have an orgasm. In my inability to properly place reflexive pronouns, I’m pretty sure I told our housekeeper a few weeks ago “I’m going to orgasm, see you in an hour.” Oh the verguenza…
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Madrid?
- Learn Spanish!! I can’t tell you how much richer (and less stressful) my experience abroad has been since I’ve improved my Spanish.
- Be patient. Nothing in Spain works like it does in the States. And that usually means it moves a bit slower over here!
- Taste everything. I have learned to taste first, ask later. In Spain it is not uncommon to find everything from pig intestine to ocean barnacles on the menu. More often then not they are delicious!
How is the expat community in Madrid? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I’ve found Madrid’s expat community to be fantastic. There are tons of foreigners living in Madrid, many of which are extremely active on social media and more than willing to lend a hand.
How would you summarize your expat life in Madrid in a single, catchy sentence?
Life in Madrid is scrumptious blur of stellar food, amazing wine, fantastic people and everyday adventures.