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So, what brought you to Madrid?

This is where a conversation amongst expats (in Madrid) eventually lands.

And the answer is usually love. Someone followed someone else to Spain, or fell in love with a Spaniard while visiting the country and simply never went home. More often than not, that love soon fizzled but the expat stayed on because well, Spain itself is easy to fall for too.

The story can get a bit tired, and so it was with pleasure that I met an Andalusian named Susana who found her way back to Spain by following her heart.

After studying marketing at University, Susana decided seemingly at random to move to Italy, learn the language, and get a job. She did. (People are amazing.) She stayed for a handful of years before moving to the UK to learn English. She mastered that language (which is how she and I could have a conversation) and landed another good marketing job outside of London.

Before I continue, I should disclose that I knew Susana for little more than an hour of my life. I hired her to help me with some specifics of Spanish bureaucracy and this entailed a trip to sign some paperwork donde el viento da vuelta. Let’s just say it’s far away. During the trip, I asked her nosy, American questions and she gave me warmhearted, open Spanish answers.

After living in England for a few years, Susana returned to Spain, to Madrid this time, at which point she was offered a good sports marketing job in NYC. She turned it down.

Lest I remind you that Spain is in crisis, with an unemployment rate hanging around 25% and smart Spaniards leaving the country for jobs elsewhere.

I wondered whether Susana was worried about staying in Madrid and working a job that didn’t push her forward professionally. I asked her about what that would do to her future job prospects. Wouldn’t she have trouble getting back into sports marketing?

No. She wasn’t concerned. Other jobs, she said with a wave of her hand, will come up. Sometimes, you just want to be in Spain with the person you love.



Profile photo of Kerry Parke

An American living and working in Madrid, Spain, Kerry Parke enjoys getting lost at home and in remote locations alike. Writing, reading, eating, and breathing seem to take up much of her time -- oh, and traveling.

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