Spotlight on Eleanor Pojer by Susannah Grant

This month´s spotlight is on INC President and former radiographer, Eleanor Pojer, who gives us some exotic insight into her long-term expat lifestyle in Asia and Europe.

  1. How has Madrid changed since you first moved here in 1989?

Well…. Spain has changed so much over the past 28 years, since joining the EU there are more highways, larger shopping malls, more foreign products and choices of restaurants.

  1. What were the early days of INC like?

I joined INC in 1990 when it was run by telephone and paper! We organized lots of children’s activities and published a monthly newsletter.

  1. What brought you to Madrid in the first place?

My Spanish mother in law was ill so my husband and I agreed to both quit our jobs, sell all of our furniture and move to Madrid. That was my first experience of living abroad and it was tough at first but INC and having my daughters helped me keep busy and adapt to my new life. Madrid is a place that I love and can call HOME.

  1. What is your secret Madrid?

I love exploring Madrid and my husband and I love trying new restaurants.  A few of our favourites are La Kasa, Cañadio, Opazo, Asakabarra and La Bomba.

  1. How has it been raising an expat family in different continents? 

Living in Korea and the Thailand for 10 years has made us all more worldly and open-minded. As a family we all fell in love with the culture, the food and the Asian people. We will never look at things the same way. Coming from a small city in Florida. I love big cities, buzzing with life and full of surprises and challenges

  1. Do you have any stories about adapting to life in Asia?

Mastering “Taxi Talk”, the language you learn in each country to help you communicate with the taxi driver, has always been a challenge. When we first moved to Thailand from Korea I start giving directions in Korean (taxi talk) to the Thai taxi drivers much to their astonishment.

  1. Tell me about some of charity work you got involved with whilst living in Asia?

I organized a few Galas for Charity for orphans, Habitat for Humanity, Operation Smile and many others. As you can see I like to keep my hand into giving back.

  1. What was it like living in Saudi Arabia, as a woman with 2 daughters?

As women, we had to acquiesce to their rules such as: not driving, covering our bodies and sitting in the “Family Section” of restaurants (single or groups of men stay in the “Men Only” sections). Women are “dependents”, or rather “sponsored” by their husbands, who are in turn sponsored by their companies, and we couldn’t leave the country without an exit visa from our husbands. The expat community is very close and welcoming but it’s true to say that Saudi just wasn´t a tourist destination as such.

  1. Rumours abound that you are a keen, competitive tennis player – is that true?

Oh yes. I love tennis! Every country I have lived in I have played on a team. It is an easy sport that you can pick up, play anywhere and meet wonderful friends.