Life in Spain through Norwegian Eyes


Last year I started out with my series Life in Spain through People’s Eyes, which I left aside after two articles.

Let’s get back to it!

Today I’m going to share the story that my good friend Sverre Galaaen wrote for me last summer (sorry Sverre it has taken so long to publish it).

I met him teaching Spanish lessons back in September 2010; lovely memories from that period of my life.

It was my very first experience exclusively working on my own, making only a little money, but, no doubt, enjoying the process as if it was a dream come true: the freedom you obtain when you’re not employed by anyone.

Before sharing Sverre’s story I would like to tell you a bit more about my teaching expectations of the past.



For years, I was convinced I had been born to be a teacher. And more accurately a “high school teacher”.

Throughout my college years in the US, something kept telling I had to focus whatever I studied into becoming a teacher.

In those days I was involved in a computer programming degree at Illinois Central College, a community college located in Peoria, Illinois.

Illinois Central College

This degree was a two-year degree. Not enough to work as a high school teacher. When I realised I needed to get a four-year degree to teach, I put the thinking machinery into action.

After months trying to figure out how to do it, one day I came across a leaflet from a place called Franklin University, in Columbus, Ohio. I could not believe what I read, just what I had been looking for… Amazing!

Franklin Universtiy

Franklin offered Bachelor degrees (four year-degree) with a great condition: you would take the third year at your community college (at Illinois Central College, at a reduced price) and then the fourth year online at Franklin University (more expensive).



In December 2005 I came back to Spain for good, after 5 years of living in the US.

I had taken the third year of my Information Technology bachelor degree at Illinois Central College, but had no clue of when I would finish the fourth year online at Franklin University.

For the next five years I worked at programming corporate software and dreaming on becoming a college professor one day in the US.

The high school teacher days were gone. Now, after being a college student, I changed my mind and decided to teach adults instead.

To do that I needed that Bachelor degree from Franklin University. Then I would need to get a Masters degree and a PHD finally.

My opportunity came late 2008. I resumed my studies. And I graduated at Franklin in May 2010. Next month I was laid off from the job I had back then and that led me to work on my own.

Becoming an entrepreneur was a complete accident. No doubt.

I had to make a living somehow, which triggered a lot of creativity and new expectations towards business and the freedom I’d always been looking for.

College professor pen

(College professor tools – nice set by the way)

That’s how I started Torrevieja Translation, and taught Spanish and computer lessons, as well as meeting over 1000 people in four years; Sverre amongst them :-)

College professor? Yeah, why not, one day in the future perhaps. Now I’m happy being my own boss.



You’ve got it: Sverre was the one that opened up Norway in my mind. I didn’t even know where Norway was on a map, all this country meant: cold and snow.

I was completely ignorant about Norway, so I thought it was a country that snowed 24/7, with people freezing all year round.

Just the usual outcome from ignorance.

Although I’ve never been to Norway, at least I’ve read a lot about it, seen pictures, watched videos, and even learnt some Norwegian!

Tromsø - Norway

(Kvaløya, outside Tromsø – Norway)

Next country to visit: Norway.

Goal: to spend some time living there 😉

Let’s go for Sverre’s story.



The Country

Crossing the northern border by plane we see a landscape covered with plants and trees. The northern topography is quite like Norway actually.

The interior of Spain is high plateau surrounded by mountain ranges. Rivers run to the coasts, creating good farmland, quite different to the landscape along the coastline. The landscape seems to be very dry, presumably because of the long hot summers and cold dry winters.

To me, Spain appears to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque countries in Europe. And I know that the Spanish islands are a kind of paradise for both nature lovers and for tourists who enjoy sunnier weather. Not forgetting those who enjoy warm, late nights with a nice cold drink in their hand.

A feeling of freedom

We (my wife and I) have had the privilege of visiting several locations in Spain. Firstly, Torrevieja, where we spent most of our time in Spain. Guardamar del Segura is another. Other locations include Madrid, Barcelona, Oliva, Benidorm, Alicante, Granada, Málaga and Gibraltar.

Moskenes, Lofoten islands - norway

(Moskenes, Lofoten – Norway… so beautiful!)


The rich history of Spain and its culture makes Spain an interesting destination for me. I have noticed, and partly experienced the influences of Iberian, Roman, African and Latin Culture, and I love to read and hear more about it. I love the Spanish guitar. I love Spanish dancing, and I have also experienced Spain’s rich architectural and artistic heritage. I really appreciate studying artists like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, El Greco, Diego Velazquez, Francisco Goya, Gaudi and many more. The architectural and artistic heritages are overwhelming, making it very difficult to choose which one to see and visit first.

La siesta

This side of the culture is quite a strange experience to a Norwegian. Businesses, shops and restaurants all close and all activities are shut down. We Norwegians are on “top gear” at the time of – la siesta. But I understand the need of – la siesta – as a result of the hot weather in order to allow people to get some shelter from the heat.


I have read that the term “Spanish People” has two distinct meanings. Traditionally, it applies to people native from any part of Spain. More recently, it has also come to have a legal meaning, referring to people who hold Spanish Citizenship.

Whatever it is, within Spain there are a number of nationalisms, reflecting the complex history of the country.

Mixed nationalisms or not, I have had the privilege of meeting many “españoles”, men and women, boys and girls. Lovely people. Smiley, open-hearted, hospitable, and lots more. But, overall, there is one – very special to me. His name is David, my Spanish teacher. I believe he must be something special to many people from Norway, Sweden, England, Germany and so on. This well educated young man has become my friend, my true friend. I wish him all the best.

Sverre Galaaen


I hope you enjoyed this article. Have you ever been to Norway? Make a comment below and share your thoughts with us!


Image Credit: Carlo Cravero, Runar Eilertsen, Jenniemcstotts, Neil Cummings


Please, like me on Facebook

And don’t forget to “share the knowledge” :-)

Opt In Image
Why are we always late in Spain?
6 Basic Historial and Cultural Reasons to Help You Understand Why the Spaniards are Never on Time






  1. Jess says

    Hello David,

    Good to hear you will be writing twice monthly articles they are always interesting. This one on your education showed me how dedicated you are to learning.
    A very interesting article, looking forward to the next one.
    Regards Jess xxx

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Jess,

      It’s going to be a little writing project. Hard work, but I enjoy it.

      Glad to read you liked this article 😉

      All the best,


  2. Mike says


    • David Ruiz says

      Thanks Mike :-)