Moving to Madrid has made me realise how much my expectations of this period of my life are based on all the unattainable lives of the characters in the TV shows I watch.
When in Edinburgh, working in hospitality was painful and unfulfilling, but at least I could usually come to work and have a laugh with my mates, maybe a pint (or two) after and a day off was the sweetest reward for all the awful hours put in. That was just the routine of myself and nearly everyone I knew.
However in Madrid, my head is in a form of holiday mode. I do not want to work, and I definitely do not want to teach English. I want to grab a coffee from the bakery under my flat (and maybe a pain au chocolate) and lazily stroll down the beautiful streets, and then go back to bed at 1 in the afternoon, watch some TV, read a book and then go out at night for a drink. Every time I am walking around and I hear a pack full of kids screaming, I cringe at the thought of actually teaching them. And that’s what I’m supposedly here to do.
But of course I have this expectation of a relaxed working life. I mean if the characters of Friends can all afford to live in these lavish apartments in Manhattan while they seemingly go out for food and coffee, and only work part time (if even that), why can’t I? and for christssake, How does Carrie Bradshaw manage a shoe and cocktail addiction while living on the east side by writing a tiny weekly column? Effectively, TV has ruined my motivation and narrowed my view of working life, but yet I am still continuously glued to it either in search of answers or a reassuring comfort.
Why do I have to bust my ass searching for a new job when its so much nicer to just wander about, drink coffee and ponder my life like they do on TV? I think I prefer that idea… until my money runs out.
What makes this even more daunting and unappealing, is this awful revolving door on an endless loop that is part of the experience of attempting to settle down in Madrid. Seemingly, I can’t get a job till I get an NIE number, can’t get an NIE number until I have a job contract, can’t get a flat until I get a job contract and I can’t get a bank account until I get a flat… goodness me. If there was ever a time in my life I felt unwelcome somewhere, it’s certainly now. And this was not helped by the old man at the police department of foreign affairs barking a ‘NO!’ at my all time favourite question; ‘¿Hablas ingles?’
So if there’s anyone out there with the secret to a high paying but a crucial low attendance job, I will be patiently awaiting the answer.