Our Origin Story
Ever wonder what a quaint “chiringuito” on the warm Mediterranean coast of Spain and a snowy winter landscape in Canada have in common? Join us on our journey as we explain where we have come from and where we are going. First, though, a little about us. We are Alín and Zeke of “Team Alike” and this is our origin story.
Originally from Valencia, Spain, Alín always found peace and tranquility within visualisations of cold, white, snow-filled landscapes. For her, Canada’s natural beauty was a source of inspiration for bringing balance in her life.
On the other hand, having lived through (too) many cold Canadian winters, Zeke always saw himself chilling at a tiny beach bar, mojito in hand, listening to the waves wash over golden sand while surrounded by passionate Spanish speaking people.
To fulfil these dreams, we recognised it was important to know something of the language of the respective country of our dreams. Independent of each other, we both began focusing on our building our language skills.
It was while practicing these skills, we happened to connect on a language exchange app called HelloTalk. After agreeing to help each other, we needed subjects to speak about. Of course the easiest to draw upon was our likes, desires and life experiences. It was then we realized our connection and need to connect in person.
Fast forward, Alín first moved to Eastern Canada with Zeke in 2015 where we had 7 years living the Canadian experience together. After Zeke retired in 2021, tired of the 6 months of cold and snow, we moved to “Casa Espánada” in a small town near Valencia, Spain where we now focus our efforts on building and growing the “Espánada” brand.
Zeke and Alín
Born at a sidewalk terrace in front of Valencia’s spectacular Mercat Central, the concept of “Espánada” has been an evolution of ideas and projects over the last 10 years.
While experiencing the quintessential tapas and beers, an elderly woman peddling friendship bracelets approached us and offered a handful of her creations.
With hundreds of different styles and colour combinations to choose from, we both made our selection and, lo and behold, it was the exact same bracelet! Fortunate for us, she found an identical one in her collection.
It wasn’t until some time later that we realized the colours of the bracelet were actually the colours of the flags of Spain and Canada intricately intertwined! Chance or fate? We will never know. However, on that day, Espánada was born and a Dream became an Inspiration.
If you haven’t already guessed, Espánada comes from the Spanish name for Spain (i.e. “España”) melded with “Canada”, our respective countries of origin. Inspired from our happenstance encounter with a bracelet vendor, we agreed to maintain a close connection with our respective countries and explore ways to bring them closer together.
During our time living in Canada, this inspiration led to initiatives such as Espánada Cultural Imports, Espanada Gemstones, Espánada Español, and Casa Espánada. As the concept of Espánada solidified, so did a vision for the future.
During our time in Canada, we rented our Spanish home which we affectionately call “Casa Espánada”. Being a classic Spanish villa close to Valencia with convenient transportation access (i.e airport, train, bus, and highway), the location was ideal for visitors needing an base to explore the region or a local wishing to escape the heat of the city in summer.
After this experience, we realized there was an incredible opportunity introducing people to this magical place. We decided to share our experience and skills to help those who wish to visit or move here and to build a better understanding of Spain. In pondering how we would capture this for this blog, we boiled our experiences down to three essential elements which became our guiding vision…
“To Live, Learn and Love the Spanish Experience”
So after our wonderful years in Canada, we moved to Spain and set up operations at Casa Espánada. Our “mission” here is to ignite a passion for the Spanish experience by living, learning, and loving all that Spain, and particularly Valencia, has to offer. Through our blog, we share our rich tapestry of our live journey, aiming to inspire people worldwide to consider and explore the beauty and culture of living in Spain.
We are dedicated to being more than just storytellers – we are your dedicated partners in making the Spanish dream a reality. From travel planning and finding exquisite vacation properties to comprehensive realty services, we are committed to guiding you through every step of your journey. Our goal is to seamlessly blend the allure of Spain with your aspirations, offering unparalleled support.
Espánada is not just an idea; it’s a bridge that connects dreamers with the vibrant reality of Spain. Join us on this transformative journey, and let us help you turn your Spanish dreams into cherished experiences.