It Could Be You – Robert Nieuwland

27 February 2017 0 Comments Category: blog, Expats Interviews, Living in Spain, Robert Nieuwland

My name is Robert and I’m part of the Typical Non Spanish team. I moved to Spain in September 2005. I drove my fully packed van from Holland to Madrid the same day I officially graduated, passing by my University to pick up my diploma. When they asked me what my plans were for the near future, I told them to look out the window, at the red van parked outside, with a canoe on top.

I love that I’m working on a life project that’s the exact canalization of my personality: with my company, Madrid Outdoor Sports,  I’ve made it possible to professionally do everything I love.

Madrid was an obvious choice at first, because my girlfriend still had to do her last year of University. Afterwards it still was obvious because she started working here.

And, apart from these practical reasons, Madrid is a very special city, because of it’s unique (worldwide) combination of all the cultural and historical interest a big and old metropolis has and the nature at less than an hour driving. Since the summer of 2015 Madrid has a National Park (“Sierra de Guadarrama”) in its backyard.

My first impression was how easy it is to make social contact with the ‘Madrileños’. Every time I went climbing I would end up with new friends. It’s still one of the things I most associate with this city. My first impressions were 100% positive. I’m less naïve now. But I still love them though.

I would be tempted (and almost obliged) to say Madrid, but I might have to be honest and say that Santander is one of my favourite Spanish cities. This city has it all: it’s a stunningly beautiful city with a rich gastronomic and cultural offer, it has mountains in the immediate surroundings and it’s situated by the Cantabrian Sea. Also, it’s not as large as Madrid and therefore more a bit more tranquil.

I had problems with the language, especially in the beginning, my first visits, when my Spanish was tremendously basic. I had to use the little Spanish I knew when I first visited Nuria (my wife) to communicate with her parents, who don’t speak any English. This led to several funny situations during dinners we can still laugh about nowadays. Also, one of the first times I met her friends, I presented myself with “Hola, yo estoy Robert”, which is something like “Hello, I feel like Robert”, instead of “I am Robert” (Yo soy Robert).

Spain is my home now, but if I would still consider The Netherlands my home I would undoubtedly say the sun. But also the mountains. I can’t live without mountains anymore; I would go absolutely crazy!

I am indeed very fond of cooking, including various typically Spanish recipes, such as tortilla. But I also make a nice “cocido”, “arroz con leche” and other things. And yes, I do SOMETIMES sleep the siesta. But I guess that, in case of athletes it’s more usual, also outside Spain. I enjoy Spanish music a lot, of many different types, from “Extremoduro” to “Paco de Lucía”.

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