“Make yourself a London” should be an expression considered for the Spanish Language Royal Academy. You take off one day, tired of not finding a job, or wanting an adventure, or just because Brick Lane is cool (because you went there one evening and you know deep down inside that you belong to this place and not to the lost town where you were actually born; you want to fly and to be free, leave your cocoon behind and fly away a butterfly, to blossom), you pack your backs and you go. Flying with Ryanair, of course, because if we’re going on an adventure we do it well, with restrictions even for the size of our ego.
It’s not all an easy road. It’s not like you get there and everything is nice and dandy. I don’t mean to say it in a patronising, “one day you’ll learn little silkworm” way. I say it because it is true. If not, stop by the English capital and order a coffee, a pint (at the price of unicorn’s urine) or a sandwich. Whoever takes your order will have a Spanish/Italian/sunandbeach accent. Almost positive.
The thing is, you’ll arrive and find yourself living in a closet of a bedroom, in an apartment without a living room and a bathroom shared with all kind of flora and (human) fauna, with no friends and without half of your belongings (thanks to Ryanair). And you tell yourself, wow how cool, London is so cool. And yes, it’s cool, ok. But your English doesn’t improve at the same pace that you hoped it would, your Spanish starts to get a bit tangled up too, and you end up sounding like an idiot in multiple languages, something that up until then you didn’t think you were capable of. A step further in the adaptation process.
Thinking back, you begin to find it funny how you used to treat Ecuadorians in Madrid; because the move around in ghettos, they don’t want to integrate, they live together in packs. Ignorant nonsense: you also end up hanging out with people whose most exotic aspect has to do with having a grandfather from Logroño. And you also see yourself living with 9 others in the same situation. And you can only rarely go visit your town because living in London is more expensive then being Rockefeller’s godfather. Your brain begins to accommodate to previously unbelievable limits of stinginess, especially when it comes to what England seems to ignore the most: food. It comes to the point where you find out that the FAO has begun to recommend eating bugs to fight global hunger, and, well, that doesn’t seem that farfetched to you anymore either.
It’s the life of the modern emigrant, that of the one who isn’t able to better his or her situation, but to actually only… umm… suffer a slight mutation. Unemployed as always, but now unemployed in English. Poor, but now poor in Pounds Sterling. You though this could never happen to you. And here you are. At least, let’s laugh about it. Into our arms you go, emigrant!
Text: Ane Guerra