Six trades, cultural barrier and somatization: an Argentinian in Madrid recounts the “B side” of emigration


María Eugenia Ferreras is 32 years old and has lived in Madrid since January 2020

I didn’t leak anything. It’s not that he was bad in Argentina or that he wanted another future. I wanted to live something else, to test myself“, He says Maria Eugenia Ferreras on your decision to emigrate to Spain.

Eña, as she calls herself, is 32 years old and the younger of two sisters. From Nelson, a small town north of Santa Fe, when he finished high school, he moved to Buenos Aires to study advertising at the Association of Agencies. It was precisely while working in an agency, already a little tired of the job, that she began to fantasize about the possibility of going to live abroad.

He first thought of Italy, but ultimately his destination was Madrid. From there, sitting in the bedroom of the apartment she shares with three other people, Eña connects to the Zoom with Infobae. The idea of Tell your experience without “watering down” the subject excites him. A few months ago he even gave his testimony for the “Club de Emigrados”, a community created by two Argentines (Laura Otero and Juliana Bereny), which seeks to create a space of belonging among those who emigrate to Madrid.

In this post, Eña recounted her experience, quite far from the social imagination that circulates around emigration, and described it as an “anti success story”. “I did not live this migratory ideal of traveling every weekend and saving a thousand euros a month; but I lived, and I still live, the years when I learned the most about myself and about life. If you are reading this from Argentina and considering emigrating, a word of advice: don’t plan too much. As Mike Tyson says, “We all have a plan, until we take the first punch to the face”“wrote the young woman.

Eña (right) with her sister and father in Nelson, the town in Santa Fe where she was born and lived until she was 18
Eña (right) with her sister and father in Nelson, the town in Santa Fe where she was born and lived until she was 18

That first “blow” that Eña referred to was the pandemic: two and a half months after arriving in Spain, she was confined. When she wanted to get back on her feet, a pair of fists she didn’t see coming left her “in the ropes.” “I came as a couple and, after a year and a half, I separated; I changed jobs six times; I was on vacation locked down with COVID-19 and had gastritis that lasted six months. Only now, almost three years after emigrating, am I at peace with my decision“, he counted.

Infobae contacted her to deepen her experience and break some myths about life abroad. From expectation to reality; to continue in the “known” to take the plunge and to feel guilty to be at peace. Then, his story in the first person, and his apprenticeship.

waiting vs. reality

“I arrived in Madrid with a lot of momentum. I thought I could eat the world. I thought, ‘I once went to live in a small town in Buenos Aires and banked. I had also traveled alone to other countries and got along well with other cultures. Before traveling, I planned everything I could. I searched blogs and Facebook groups testimonials other people who had emigrated to Madrid. I also discovered the formalities what he had to do once there: from managing the NIE (foreigner’s identity number), to opening a bank account, looking for work and obtaining an apartment to live. In March, when she was already settled and working, something happened that she was not prepared for: a pandemic. I was very surprised at how I reacted. I thought I was better prepared and, over time, All that overwhelming force that I arrived with started to fade. That’s why I always say beyond papers and savings, it is important to prepare internally to emigrate because emigrating will always hit you”.

Eña is currently a member of a consulting firm where she works as a beer sommelier
Eña is currently a member of a consulting firm where she works as a beer sommelier

Stick to the “known” vs. Skip

“I studied advertising and devoted myself to it for ten years. In the meantime, however, I began to take an interest in the field of craft beer. I created an Instagram account (@the_beerbaby), I took courses and certifications, I met the community of women brewers, but I was not going to leave everything to devote myself to this. At least not in Argentina. ‘Able to change the scenery gives me that boost,’ I thought. Well, in the end, that’s how it was. After having held five positions (I worked as a waitress in two bars, in two call centers and in an advertising agency), for a few months, I join a consulting firm where I dedicate myself to being a beer sommelier. I do tastings, communications and dissemination of beer culture. In a way, it has a lot to do with what I’ve done all my life, only instead of doing it for different clients, now I’m doing it with a particular product. I’m grateful for each of the jobs I’ve been through here in Madrid, because I got them at the right time. We think that, since the same language is spoken in Spain, things will look the same, but there is a cultural barrier. I felt this a lot in the job search process: It’s one thing to be rejected in your ‘specialty’, but when it happens to you in a position that anyone could do, you look bad”.

On August 9, Eña celebrated her birthday with the friends she made in Madrid and also held a reunion with her Argentinian family and friends via zoom
On August 9, Eña celebrated her birthday with the friends she made in Madrid and also held a reunion with her Argentinian family and friends via zoom

feelings of guilt vs. be in peace

“When you emigrate, everything takes on another dimension. Anything wrong weighs double. Because? Because what you had to console yourself in your country, in your new place you do not have. Or you don’t have it the same way. You have to have a lot of energy not to “go down”. I arrived in Madrid as a couple and, after a year and a half, I separated. Later, the friends I shared an apartment with left and, as during the lockdown I couldn’t make many connections, I was left on my own. I think the fact that ‘it all didn’t work out’ at first discouraged me and for a long time I blamed myself. He said: “I would solve this in Argentina by going to have a coffee with my friend Matías and now I don’t have it”. Later, I realized that my Argentine affections were still there and so was I for them. In this process, I was in very poor health because, obviously, everything that happened to me had repercussions on my body. For it, I spent almost all of 2021 “re-arming” myself after all these unforeseen events. I went step by step. On this path, doing therapy was fundamental. Another thing that did me a lot of good was meeting people who were in the same situation as me. Forming a community with other Argentinians who migrated to Madrid helped me feel less alone and reduced my anxiety. That’s why I say that now, almost three years after emigrating, things have started to calm down a bit and that gives me a lot of peace.

With the group of Argentinian friends she met in Madrid
With the group of Argentinian friends she met in Madrid

learning

“Before emigrating, I thought I could do anything. Later I realized that no matter what plan you make, your world can fall apart due to an outside circumstance, as happened to all of us in 2020. Overcoming the unexpected is the real success”.

The opportunities are. Logically, it depends on the energy you have to find them and take advantage of them. In this sense, I am proud of how I have succeeded in many situations. Since I arrived, I have never lacked work, I have never lacked home and I have never been alone.. Even when I thought I was alone, I managed to make new connections or get closer to my connections in Argentina”.

“You have to be careful what you wish for. When I arrived in Madrid I wanted to experience something different, to “test myself”, as I said at the start. And boy, I put myself to the test! The pandemic has taken me to unexpected places, it has knocked me out. and in this fight I ended up finding myself. I don’t know if I’ll stay here forever. Nothing binds me and I continue to venture. Perhaps now with more certainty, but since so many unforeseen events have occurred, I do not deny that new ones may appear.

KEEP READING:

She is Argentinian, emigrated to Spain and was about to stay on the street: “I invested money to come and live like a marginal”
‘No matter what they have been sold, living here is not easy and takes years of work’, warning from Argentinian emigrant to Barcelona

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