John Gordon Ross

A Man for All Reasons

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November 10th, 2008 · No Comments

The world has caught up with me. I used to be more or less singular, and now I am… What? Myriad? I have just found this out courtesy of the Elcano Institute, a Spanish thinktank, which has a working paper on the net on immigrants into Spain from the E11 (that’s the E12, the EU countries before the last, large-scale expansion, minus Spain itself). And its current conclusions are that while there are still pockets of traditional British or German immigration, in the Valencia region, the Costa del Sol, the Balearics, etc., North European immigrants, rich, at least compared to the more visible Rumanians, Moroccans and Ecuatorians, are no longer retirees but are workers, and are not looking for their place in the sun, so are just as likely to settle in Madrid or Barcelona as on the costas. And when I say workers, I mean professionals – managers, IT workers, consultants, journalists…


Not that I want to be unique, particularly, but being unusual brings certain advantages. Not least is that it is easier to make a living: as a Spanish-English translator (only one of my occupations), I have a scarcity value in Spain I would not have if I lived in Britain. Or have had.

Socially, too, being unusual confers privileges. People are not entirely sure what to expect of you, and the lack of prejudgement that goes with that gives you a kind of freedom. And you are more interesting, your background is different, your sense of humour is more surprising.

Well that’s the end of that.

Not that this is entirely a surprise, indeed it was only to be expected. After all, if I have always thought, “Why on earth does anyone put up with English weather (or English politicians, food, pub closing times, etc.)?”, others were bound to come round to the same position. I have a vague feeling that if I had been paying attention, I would have noted an increasing number of Brits living in Madrid over the last five or six years, but I wasn’t, perhaps because I don’t have any real point of contact with them. So I am now in the same position as Spaniards who woke up one day and found their world full of Ecuatorians, Rumanians and Moroccans, except my Spain is full of Brits.


Tags: Life