Pesadilla Antes de Navidad – Interview AEGEE-Madrid

Please introduce yourself a little bit
It’s Marina Lopez, member of AEGEE since 2012. I became an active member in Autumn ZarAgora 2013. Since then I have participated and organized many different events, but my favorite one are the Summer Universities, of which I have attended 4. Currently, I can’t imagine myself and my life without the experiences that I have gained in AEGEE.

This is Alberto Arroyo, one of the oldies of AEGEE-Madrid and officially an Advisor member of it’s board. I joined AEGEE back in March 2013. I have attended and organized many events since then , but I am very proud of being involved in the organization of the AgorAsturias (Spring Agora 2015), 5 SUs (3 in Madrid and 2 in Florence) and 6 editions of El Pesadilla antes de Navidad.

What was your motivation for becoming an organizer?
Marina: My main motivation was the team that we have formed during the whole year. It’s amazing to have the feeling that you are organizing something with your friends, which allows everyone to meet new people. Moreover, the Pesadilla antes de Navidad is an event that has long been normal in Madrid, so I can’t miss the opportunity of being the main organizer.

Alberto: It is very difficult for me to tell what my motivation was. I mean, I couldn’t help applying for the 12th edition. It is the most recognizable event of AEGEE-Madrid, apart from our SUs. I really love the group of active members that wanted to organize last Pesadilla, so at the end not being an organizer was not an option for me.

What kind of event is Pesadilla?
As Alberto said before, Pesadilla is an event that we have organized for 12 years in a row. Alberto has been part of the organizer team in the last six times and Marina the last two. It is somehow very different from one edition to the next: it has been a Local Training Course, an European-, a ludic- and a thematic event. The main point is  that it takes part “Before Christmas”, in fact, “Pesadilla antes de Navidad” is the direct translation of the movie title “Nightmare Before Christmas” by Tim Burton from English to Spanish.

What is the history of Pesadilla? – It was the 12th edition after all –
At the beginning, it was an event thought to be La Nave centered; or at least that’s what our honorary members told us, because it took place in 2006. In fact it was more like a meeting before Christmas for all the friends of AEGEE-Madrid: so it was very ludic and focus in showing of what Madrid is like during winter. But during 2017, the idea changed completely and we went for a thematic Pesadilla. During this edition, the topic was focused on Plagues and the search of a vaccine to cure them.

Can you share some nice/funny moments through that happened in Pesadilla through the years?
Alberto: Each of the 6 editions made me laugh a lot. But I’ll point out 4 moments: the workshop I gave on the Ukrainian war in 2014. The participant that got injured while trying to hold two girls in the air at the same time, the year in which I first was elected as president of my antenna. I got completely wasted and got my favorite suit dirty. And last year’s gymkhana in which the participants had to discover who  killed me because it was based on a Cluedo game.

Is it a Spanish event or international event? What can foreign members expect?
Since 2016, it is an European event open to any AEGEEan that wants to apply. Usually, we get more applications than places in the hostel, so you better be original when it comes to applying. It’s totally true that because it is a weekend event, we have mostly Spanish participants but we are always very happy when we read international Motivation Letters.

What have you learnt from organizing the event?
Marina: Organizing an event such as Pesadilla antes de Navidad teaches you a lot of things: first of all, we have to find a hostel in the city centre with a good price, so we have to plan the event well in advance. Also, we have to be very creative with the activities as most of our participants have already visited Madrid before. Also for us it is very important to be on time with the schedule and have everything ready on time. We have to plan very well where and when  every person of the team should be at at every moment.

Alberto: I have learned that AEGEE-Madrid doesn’t need me anymore, which is for me one of the things I am most proud of about the Pesadilla. We were such a great team and we were friends working together. Marina, Sonia, Borja, Cris, Diego, Jorge, Luis, Teresa or Patri were no longer my colleagues, but my friends!

Do you have anything to say for the readers from AEGEE-Groningen?
Both of us would like to invite you to any of our events. AEGEE-Madrid is always waiting for new visitors and we will be very glad if you visit us during the whole year.