Weirder Than a Green Dog: Struggling to Adjust to a New City

Más raro que un perro verde

Weirder than a green dog – Just another way of saying “strange.”

“¿Qué te pasa? Estás más rara que un perro verde!”

Blog update! So. My old blog format was hand-crafted hand-coded in HTML/CSS, which essentially landed it in the category of Grandma Sue’s embroidered ducks at the Christmas crafts fair – kind of cute, but that’s about it.  Not very functional or reader-friendly. (To be fair, with the advent of Pinterest, I bet Grandma crafts have been taken to a whole new level.)


With my self-coded blog, I learned some interesting things about flexbox and layouts, but ultimately decided to go back to using a content management system to land it back in the 21st century. I’m using WordPress to write for my job, so it makes sense to continue doing so in my personal life. Even though I haven’t blogged in something like eight months.

Of course, not blogging for so long has much to do with the fact that my whole life got rearranged back in the spring and I haven’t bothered to write about it yet: I got a new job in Madrid!

This is good news, of course. It’s always an honor to be chosen and trusted by a company. I was called for an interview while on Semana Santa hired at a company called Focus Reports which has a smaller sub-company called PharmaBoardroom. This set of companies produces pharma reports about emerging market countries – basically anywhere but the US. This is accomplished by a team of young ambitious folks who love to travel, and who essentially go and interview top pharma executives, with the goal of publishing content and selling ad space. My job is to take content from the interviews and spin articles out of them for the website, peppering them with statistics or tying them to recent news developments. I also do email marketing to keep website subscribers up to date, Google Analyze the website, and handle the e-commerce site where legal e-books are sold. Some of my work involves HTML, CSS and JavaScript, so it’s actually a good match for what I’ve learned this past year. I also see improvements in my writing abilities, WordPress has become lightning-fast for me, and as you can see, I’m now really into links in my posts. I even got to go to Austria for the European Health Forum Gastein for free!

In Austria the hotel rooms are bigger than my apartment in Madrid


On the other hand, making such a big move has come with its share of challenges. Adjusting to the pace of a city this size was no walk in the park. (Okay, it literally was though, I spend a lot of time walking in Retiro Park. Bad analogy.) There’s always noise everywhere, whether it’s construction or traffic or the neighbor downstairs who has a psychological disorder that makes her scream and curse uncontrollably at her kid and husband. I’ve also struggled with decision fatigue as to what I should be doing in my non-work hours because there are seemingly thousands of activities going on every single day. I’ve been laying low, with the exception of trying out a batucada group for the first two months. Add to that the insane heat of a Madrid summer, which saw me melt into puddles of zero energy in the 40ºC (over 100ºF) temperatures. I struggled deeply with whether I’d made the right decision moving here and if I could really handle living in such a place. This led to plenty of days of just not feeling like myself at all. Más rara que un perro verde. Part of the problem was needing to change apartments (yes, again) after two months, which made a big difference.

Could my apartment building entrance BE any more Spanish?


Otherwise, things are beginning to change and I’m feeling more like myself again. It’s finally fall and I’ve decided to prioritize health by going to the gym in my neighborhood. In fact, I stay in my neighborhood nearly all the time, saving me metro pass money and time. I don’t even need to forgo nights out, as there’s a great bar downstairs at the corner and plenty of others nearby. Also, I live with a great roommate so there’s less pressure to have a highly active social life. Taking care of my body and working off the stress of the week has done wonders for my mood and productivity. I guess that’s the only “life hack” I can offer, as I still generally don’t know what I’m doing. #adulting

The other thing I’m attempting is WAY less time scrolling around on my phone. I’m always thinking/reading/writing about this and it’s still the case. I still intend to spend more time conversing and less time liking, commenting, and texting!  I’ve joined Conversation Exchange to not forget my Spanish – did I mention my workplace is 100% English speaking? And when time permits, conversation office hours are still a thing!

Literal walk in the park

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