A Recap of 2019
Well, apparently here on the blog, I missed an entire year! Here’s a quick rundown of what happened in 2019.
In April, I had amassed enough extra money to take a Semana Santa trip down south on my own. I hitched a Blablacar ride from Bilbao to Granada, switched on my Couchsurfing Hangouts app, and immediately made plans to meet up with a Swedish-Italian girl, Giusy, who was also traveling alone. We met an Italian guy and all went to see a flamenco show together and then spent the next day taking pictures around town. I attended a Couchsurfing meetup full of wonderfully nice people, then the next day, was on my way to Málaga via Blablacar once again.
Málaga was such a refreshing place to be. I booked an entire apartment for myself for 5 days and walked the beautiful streets of the old town, full of flowers and colors. In Málaga I met Sole, another solo traveler who I spent a couple of days with. When she invited me to visit her in Zaragoza, it was an easy YES!
On the way back from Málaga, I got a call about a job interview at a company in Madrid. I ended up getting the job, finishing up my work at the high school in Castro-Urdiales, and moving down at the end of May. Suffocating, overwhelming and exhausting are the three words that come to mind when I think back to my first months in Madrid. (And to think all my Cantabria friends warned me in advance. Jaja, you were right.) I lived the first 2-3 months in a tiny interior bedroom near Madrid Río, then moved in with a Belgian girl in another tiny apartment, but much closer to work.
The job I had was technically called “junior editor” but involved a lot more marketing than editing. I wrote articles for a pharma focused digital platform and managed the email newsletters and other general marketing. I massively improved my WordPress skills and dove deeper into hand-coding MailChimp emails in HTML & CSS. The office, in a beautiful green building on Calle Alcalá, was close enough to Retiro Park to take my lunch there on warm days and sit under the trees.
Ultimately though, I was offered the chance to teach business English to professionals in the pharma industry, and I jumped at the chance to take it. I missed directly contributing something useful to improve people’s lives. My students are an absolute dream to work with and I’m so glad I took the opportunity. Of course, now that the coronavirus has slammed Madrid, I’m working remotely with both my former company and the new teaching job, as well as some other freelance work.
Looking back, I can say I’m grateful to have had this experience, as well as the chance to live in a good area with a friendly roommate. My experience in Madrid has helped boost my professional skills, not to mention my personal style (a bit). 2019 was a year of huge personal and professional growth!