Visa issues. Being together gets a lot more complicated. Unless, of course, you’re both members of the EU. If so, whoop dee doo for you. (I hate you.) Someone either has to get a work visa (difficult), a student visa (not so difficult, but expensive), or a marriage visa (big time commitment; hope you don’t have problems with that). Last year, I worked as a Conversation & Language Assistant, which allowed me to be there legally, but this year I’m back in the good old US of A, and trying to find some way to get him over here without resorting to packing him in my suitcase with plenty of food and beverages so they’ll just never know.
- Stupid questions. Perhaps I’m impatient, but we’re normal people too, and just because my boyfriend is from another country doesn’t make us any more interesting. However, people don’t tend to agree with me and love to ask the same questions over and over, “When is he coming over?” “Why isn’t he here?” “What language do you two speak when you’re together?” “Does he like America?” “Does he speak English?” “Does he like spicy food? He must love burritos, right?” Uuuuuuuugh.
Planes and airports. Back in the day (okay, like four years ago), plane travel was exciting because, well, I rarely had to do it. Nowadays, I feel like I’m on a plane or waiting in an airport every other month. I hate airports and planes. I would not hate it so much if I had lots of money and rode in first class, but alas, that is not the case. If you’ve ever ridden coach, you know what I’m talking about: 8 hours on a plane with your elbows brushing your overly talkative neighbor is just not my cup of tea. I’ve taken the same Madrid-Chicago flight so many times I start repeating this phrase in my sleep: “Tea? ¿Té? Coffee? ¿Café?” and can tell you the breakfast menu by heart (croissant sandwich, cup of fruit, Kit Kat bar, orange juice).
Now that I’ve told you the bad things, here are the good ones.
- Sexy/cute accents. Totally superficial, but totally true. I love the Spanish accent and Mario, although fluent and with a rather impressive accent, still slips into his (what we call) Espainish accent from time to time and I love it. I find his English to be adorable, especially when he slips up. I hope he doesn’t find it patronizing, but when he uses double negatives it’s cute. (However, native speakers + double negatives = ew.) And when he speaks Spanish, oh my. Sexy as hell…
Introducing them to your culture. It’s really fun to show off all the fun things about American culture: barbecues, baseball, fireworks, nature, family, and friends. I love introducing Mario to what it’s really like to live in the States. Some of it is like the movies (yellow school buses), but some of it isn’t (cheerleaders always being stuck up snobs).
- Learning a new language. As I’ve written before, learning a new language is difficult, so why not try it with a real live personal dictionary?
- People think your life is exciting. Not that my life is boring, but it’s really a very normal(ish) life. But people tend to think it’s very intriguing. Can’t say I mind that.
Two cultures. You will always have two different cultures, two different languages in which to express yourself. I sometimes struggle to find the right English word, something I never foresaw happening. If you choose to have children, you can raise them bicultural and bilingual, a prospect I find very exciting and potentially jealousy-inducing (what I wouldn’t give to be truly bilingual!).