The wonderful Kaley from the blog Y Mucho Mas is guest posting today! She’s a 25-year-old former (and future) expat, with experience living in several different Spanish cities. She will wed her fiancé, Mario, July 7 in Zamora, Spain. Kaley definitely knows the trials and tribulations of living abroad which I relate to when I visit her blog. I am so grateful to have her guest post for me today!
I’m moving back. To Spain, that is. Spain and I have an on-again, off-again type of relationship. I was there for five months in 2008, three in 2009, way too many in 2010, and six in 2011. Now it’s 2012, and I still haven’t been to Spain. We’ve been off for a while, but I think we’ll be okay because I’m headed back in May. You see, I met this boy back in 2009, and I kind of (sort of really) like him. He got a job, and so I’m making the cross-continental move to be with him.
Living in two different countries gives you a unique perspective on life in those countries. When I’m here (Indiana), I miss stuff in Spain; likewise, when I’m there, I miss stuff here. My brother once asked me, “If you could, would you make a Spain/USA hybrid?” I thought that was brilliant—because yes, I would.
As I’m preparing to move back to the land of bulls, sangria, and sun, I’ve got to thinking about what I love and don’t love about Spain. So, here are my favorite and least favorite things about the country I affectionately call Espain.
These are a few of my favorite things:
· Food. In case you haven’t heard, Spain has great food. I mean, I’m lucky and have a Spanish mother-in-law who’s the world’s best cook, but Italy ain’t got nothin’ on Spanish food. I mean that seriously. Italy gets all the good press, but I’ll take Spanish food any day. Some of my favorites are tortilla de patata (Spanish potato omelette), salchichón (a type of dry-cured sausage), any type of cheese (forgot about French cheese—Spanish cheese is where it’s at!), and pan con tomate (literally, bread with tomato—the world’s most perfect breakfast).
· Paseando. I wrote a post about this. Paseando could translate into taking a stroll. It’s a big social thing in much of Spain. Around 6 or 7 p.m., the people all go out to the street—young and old couples, teenagers, families, elderly gentlemen, everyone. If you’re like my suegros (my mother- and father-in-law), you can count on seeing multiple people you know. It’s a nice way of socializing, and it’s just not possible in most US towns due to lack of walkability.
· Learning. I’m always learning in Spain, whether I want to or not. It might be vocabulary, it might be new foods/drinks, it might be geography, it might be soccer, it might be most anything … but it seems I’m always picking up something new. When you’re living in a foreign country, it’s so easy to learn new things (easy to start, not always easy to finish), whereas it’s quite easy to slip into your comfort zone in your home country. I like the challenge. I’m a perfectionist, you know.
These are a few of my
· Feeling lost. Although my Spanish is quite good, I’m not 100%, nor will I ever be. There are days when I feel utterly lost, whether it’s due to the language barrier, the cultural barrier, or both. Sometimes I just don’t get the context, so I tune out, and that makes it even worse. Plus, it’s nice to be able to just jump into a conversation without feeling like you have to hear absolutely everything that is said, which I can do in English. Not in Spanish. It’s like when people talk during television shows; in Spanish, I can’t focus on both things. It’s one or the other. It’s nice to be able to do this in English
· Missing family. No matter where I am, I’m missing somebody. It’s part of this whole bicultural relationship I’ve chosen, even though my mother warned me about this. I didn’t listen, and now I’m doomed to always be wishing someone were here with me. Right now, I miss Mario; soon, I’ll be missing my parents, my brother, my other family, and my friends here in the US. It’s just how it is, but it doesn’t make it suck any less.
· Being the token American. When I’m with Mario’s friends and family, I usually play the role of the token American who Has Opinions about Things. It can get old after a while. I’m just not good at expressing spoken opinions, and I fear I often come off as very wishy-washy and uneducated. I don’t pretend to be able to represent all of the US, and trying to do so is exhausting.
Thank you Kaley for your great post and I hope you are having a great week everyone!