The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad

Edible Insects and Dead Reptiles


Even after five years in a country, it’s still possible for new things to happen to you, for better or for worse….

I was an hour into teaching my 1:1 private English class at Starbucks last night when I grabbed my notebook out of purse to write down a reminder of the material I’d just promised my student I’d prepare for next week’s class. Placing it down on the table, it flipped right open to the part where I’d left my pen. The rainbow colored glittering alphabet stickers were also placed here and I picked them up to explain to my student that these were intended for my younger pupils and not for her. And then something else caught my eye.

At first I thought it had to be a plastic toy that one of my youngest students had managed to slip in my bag, but luckily before I reached out to touch it, I noticed that next to it was a smear of what must be blood. And thus ensued one of those cinematic like moments where time seems to stop and you’re suddenly acutely aware of all your senses and each and every thought plays slowly through your head as though it’s being methodically tapped out on a typewriter.

There is a dead lizard in my notebook.
HOW did a lizard get in my notebook?
At what point did said lizard die in my notebook?
Was I at risk for finding more dead lizards in my purse, my house, my clothing…?

And most important of all….what should I do now?

I looked over at my student hoping to get some sort of a clue as to how to respond in this situation. She didn’t seem to be phased at all by the dead lizard so I thought that maybe this was a normal sort of occurrence here in Madrid, albeit one that no one had ever spoken to me about (she later reassured me that no, this was not a normal thing).

In the end, I did what I suppose any normal, 30 year old English teacher would do in the hopes of remaining professional and not creating a scene at Starbucks. I took the tip of my pen and flicked the lizard off of my notebook and onto the floor and proceeded to write down the reminder that had started this whole deal in the first place.

I still have no clue where that lizard came from, or how the Starbucks employee who found it might have reacted. But I started thinking–this Saturday I ate insects for the first time and yesterday I found a dead lizard in my purse. Could this mean that the universe is preparing me to go on a trip to some exotic destination in the near future? I hope so! image


Author: Melissa

Born in the rainy, green Northwestern corner of the United States, Melissa relocated to the almost-always-sunny city of Madrid, Spain five years ago. After getting her master's degree, traveling to places her friends at home drooled about, falling in love with a Spaniard, and having her heart broken by said Spaniard, it's safe to say that she's learned firsthand about the less than glamorous side of living abroad. Thankfully, she gets to use this experience, along with her professional expertise, in her work as a mental health therapist in Madrid where she helps other expats learn to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of living abroad. This blog is designed to be informative and is in no way intended to serve as a substitute for therapy.

4 thoughts on “Edible Insects and Dead Reptiles

  1. I ate insects last week too! I hope you don’t find any more dead lizards. Although maybe it heard you ate insects, thought you were going to make it a regular occurrence, and died of disappointment. I mean, come on — You’re at Starbucks choosing coffee over crickets, lattes over locusts, tea over termites? That poor lizard had his hopes set way too high. ;P


    • You’re probably right, I bet the two events were related! I heard an inspiring talk at last weekend’s TEDxMadrid event about the environmental and nutritional benefits of eating insects so although I’m not 100% convinced yet, I may have to look into more ways of incorporating them into my diet…although probably only in unidentifiable forms for now!


  2. Oh my, I don’t know if I could have kept it together quite like you did! That would be such a shock!!
    We just got back from a Sri Lankan vacation and I finally got used to geckos sticking to our hotel walls by the end of it, but should one have appeared as up close as yours did (and dead for that matter) I’m pretty certain I would have lost it! 😀
    ~ Andrea ❤


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