It’s true… for some reason, here in Spain, people share a common trait which has guaranteed, and continues to do so… that I will always have a job.

I’ll give you a hint:  Among other things, I’m an English teacher.

The common trait (you might be asking yourself)?

El sentido del ridículo

This may work against me (if you were to adhere to my words, English may commence to open doors for you instead of creating barriers… meaning that I would eventually be out of a job), but I am going to share a personal anecdote with you.

I am from the outskirts of a small city, rural Canada.  For some reason I had always wanted to come to Spain.  Of course, my parents said “no”.  I started asking and stating my intentions when I was around 11 years old.  By the time I was 13 or 14 – they were fed up with my petitions, and told me, ok… as long as you pay for it, you can go.  So… I worked however I could (mostly baby-sitting and odd jobs).  At 15 I started my own company – so to say.  I had a lot of help, but, it still was a big deal.  The youth job co-op.  It worked!  I came to Spain for the first time when I was 16 on a student exchange.

The story doesn’t stop there.  Before I arrived – I thought to myself.  “How can I decide that I want to move to Spain for the rest of my life if I haven’t seen the rest of the world?”.  So – I devised a plan to study in Germany for a year.  This was actually more difficult than what it seemed.  One thing was to study in Spain for three months – quite another to finance a year of studies in Germany.  So what did I do?  I did my research – and created a scholarship.  I went door to door to the local businesses, pitched my speech at the local Rotary Club – did whatever I could (at 15 – 16 years of age), created interest, and got the local club involved.  Simple, right?  WRONG… once they became involved, they had to do things the “right” way… so, after all of that previous work – I had to compete to get accepted into the program!    UFFFFFF.  What more, the decision was made at a higher level – not in my city.  I had to prove that I had been studying German for three years (which I had not) – have good grades, etc.  Well – in the end – I got in.  Once I had been accepted, they told me, it was to go to Brasil, not Germany.  Only at the last minute (a week before departure) did I find out that yes, after all, I could go to Germany.

So—all those years of saving, creating a business, creating a scholarship, etc. etc. etc.  Do you know what happened?


I got to Germany – and everybody there, I mean, everybody who I encountered – wanted to practice their English with me!

I couldn’t believe it.  Yah – right.  My response was simple, and quite obvious:  “YOU go to Canada to learn English – I’m here to learn German.”.  I had gone through all of that effort to get to where I was, all those extra hours, sleepless nights, dreams and hopes – to come and help you with your English? No way was I going to let this opportunity escape.

Moral of the story:

Does this sound familiar?  I mean – the way I see it – any person with a professional career – especially here in Spain (with all that we have been through over the past x years) – has put so much into their careers-  Studies, overtime, personal sacrifices, family sacrifices, etc.  Are you really willing to give that up because you have “un sentido del ridículo”?  Now – THAT is ridiculous.

So – please – get over it.  English should be an OPEN door – not a barrier.  Don’t risk all of your efforts over some contagious mentality that doesn’t even fit in with what the world thinks of the Spaniards anyways.  But that is a topic for a different day.


TIDBITS from me to you –