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Hannah: Travelling Banana

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Madrid, etc.

My name’s Hannah and from the United States (Ohio, Virginia, and California, to be exact)! I moved to Madrid in May of 2014 and have been exploring the world nonstop ever since.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started blogging in February of 2014 when I first decided to move. My first posts were about my home in Los Angeles and my moving experience. I started blogging to have an easy place to put all my photos and so that my family and friends could follow along if they were interested.  I had no idea it was going to be this much fun or that I would get so into blogging!

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I love my 2014 wrap up that shows all the places I went to this year. It was fun creating it by going through all my pictures and I think it’s fun to see everywhere I went in one post!

My post called “Traveling Imperfectly and Loving It” is a popular one too and I like it because it explains my take on travel and life.

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?

Of course things are different here than back home but I’ve transitioned pretty smoothly by just going with the flow and being open to the differences!

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 think I was pretty prepared because this wasn’t the first time I moved somewhere new but I little things like getting my phone unlocked before I left the States or maybe bringing extras of my favorite US products would have been smart.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Probably one of my silliest anecdotes was right when I moved to Madrid. I was trying to meet someone across town. I knew that I needed to exit the train station where there was a large exhibit of turtles. I ended up getting really, really lost and was asking everyone, “Dónde están las tortugas??” which means “Where are the turtles??”. Everyone thought I was crazy until someone finally realized what I meant and took me to the turtles where I almost starting crying with relief!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Madrid?

  • Try to speak Spanish! The people here are incredible and if you TRY they will always try to help you.
  • Go with it! I’ve had the best times when I threw my schedule out the window and just went with the locals somewhere amazing that I would never have found on my own.
  • Appreciate everything! You are incredibly lucky to get to see the world and Madrid is SUCH a special place. Count your blessings and look for the good everywhere!

How is the expat community in Madrid? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

Most of my friends that are expats I met either through my teaching school or at my work. For the most part it’s been very easy to find fellow expats. We all came here for the same reason, to explore the world and enjoy Madrid!

How would you summarize your expat life in Madrid in a single, catchy sentence?

My Madrid life is about teaching, learning, and experiencing every delicious bite of this special, sunny city! 

Jacques Paillard

"At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends. "

Katharina Berbner

"Thanks to InterNations, I found a good language school for expats to take intensive classes in Spanish and socialize a bit more. "

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