Living in Spain

Earning the Right to Complain

Yesterday I linked to an article in the Telegraph by a young woman who didn’t like all the smoke she had to put up with while pregnant in Spain. The article mirrored sentiments of my own and, importantly, those of my wife Marina when she was pregnant here in Madrid.

What I found shocking, was the ferocity of the comments left on the Telegraph website, after the above-mentioned article (they were almost Daily Mail bad!) Most were along the lines of ‘stop complaining – if you don’t like it, leave Madrid – it’s not your country, so deal with it’.

But here’s the point. If the expat who wrote the article complains about the smoking in Madrid, she is lambasted as a moaning foreigner with no right to do so… no matter how long she’s been here…

If Marina, a Spaniard, moans about exactly the same thing, no-one would doubt that it’s her right to do so.

So the question is, how long do you have to live somewhere, be it Madrid, Sydney, or Bangkok, before you really do form part of the framework of your new home country, before you really can call it your own, and thus have the right to make the exact same complaints as the locals?

Just thinking out loud, but it’s a tricky one…