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A Casual Notebook

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added on 24/08/2011 by: ShawnM
A Casual Notebook is a periodic record of musings from Shawn Moksvold. It is a humble blog in its infancy, concentrated mostly on 1st-person happenings in Spain, with a new entry usually on the weekends, and it has a lot to learn. The plan? To grow up into a wise observer of a healthy and well-lived life. We’ll see…
 tags: Food & Conversation, Madrid, photography, Spain, Travel

 Latest posts on A Casual Notebook

Project Madrid: Old and New  Posted on 09/11/2014
In the constructions of cities, in particular European cities, an interested observer can see the framework and shapes of history.  In …Continue reading →
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Old Wine on a Worthy Promontory  Posted on 08/20/2014
There is something wholly satisfying in opening a bottle of wine classified as one of the Fifth Growths of the Bordeaux …Continue reading →
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Some more photos lately 2  Posted on 04/20/2014
For those of you who remember when I used to write, that person is still trying to claw out of …Continue reading →
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Some of 2013, Part 2: Salud!  Posted on 12/31/2013
Salud! Salute! Prost! Santé! Cheers! Skål! Sláinte! Будем здоровы! Saúde! 2013, a year of small celebrations…
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Some of 2013, Part 1  Posted on 12/28/2013
I’ve had the idea of throwing up a collection of my own photos mixed with the work of professionals that …Continue reading →
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Mi Zona 9, more Madrid  Posted on 10/05/2013
It seems like Madrid has been getting a lot of bad press lately, so I’ve thrown together another batch of …Continue reading »
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Show all posts (10) 


  • ShawnM
    ShawnM 22 March 2012 19:22:11

    To the prior commenter and dispenser of wisdom:

    I would thank you for the travel tips, but they are less advice and more of a list of problems you seem to have had.
    I have lived in Spain for just over two years, and while the visa situation is not easy, it is not impossible. Nor is life impossible. Nor is it even marginally difficult. I work hard everyday and it has paid off for me. I set goals for myself, try to be smart with the money I make, and I have something to offer that benefits this country in general while not taking away from potential local employment.

    And anyone looking to live in a country for longer than a backpack trip and a few hostel stays should be unaware of the necessity of learning the local language; if they are unaware or oblivious if this, then they simply deserve what awaits them.

    Even during my first months living of here, my advice to anyone thinking of coming to Spain went well beyond the common bitching about bureaucracy, slowness of business transactions and the obvious unemployment. And I am the same now. There are more important (and interesting) things to advise the newcomer. Listening to complaints about these things is more cumbersome and trying than the "bureaucracy" itself.

    I wouldn't say that there aren't risks and disadvantages (and pains in the ass) of living here, but if moving to Spain is a "massive gamble," I guess I've won the lottery, as I am happier here than in my prior life in sunny San Diego. And I would attribute that more to Spain than my own virtues.

    I believe that living in a foreign country requires a lot of things, some of which are respect for the culture and language, patience, open-mindedness, reluctance to jump to conclusions and spout small-minded advice, and guts.

    Sometimes, people look to others to help them make decisions about moving to another place. I guess am thankful that I didn't read your advice before I came here.

  • Rohini 15 March 2012 19:32:37

    If you are experienced in this karmet then I guess you will appreciate how competitive it is, that is more so in Spain than in any other country I can think of, short of the USA. What makes it even harder at the moment, a fact that you may be unaware of, is that Spain has the highest unemployment rate in Europe and so it is suffering more in the financial crisis at the moment than the majority of European countries. Your experience in the trade will no doubt help but we aware that Spain has a rightly deserved reputation bureaucracy and red tape. Licences, permits and the like extremely complicated and time consuming to obtain. Allow for this in advance, nothing in Spain gets done in a hurry.It is vital that you can speak and read Spanish, if you can't then learn BEFORE you embark on this exercise. No matter what anyone tells you, English will not get you through, spanish is essential. Anyone that tells you otherwise is a salesman!The tourist trade has severely dropped in Spain, partly because a big large of the tourists were from the UK and the Euro rate has hit the UK very hard recently. If you have the finances to ride out the storm you may be one of the few who can invest now but you need those reserves before even considering this massive gamble. If you could survive the downtrend and then join in the recovery then all well and good. Please tread carefully, Nerja is a fatastic and popular location but it is suffering from the recession like everywhere else in Spain.Good luck.

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