How I Know I Wasn’t Raised Spanish

Surprisingly enough, I am not Spanish. I’ve written a few posts on such topics: How to Dress Like a Spaniard, Tapeando, Hittin’ the Bars, Saying Hello at the Gym. You see, I’ve had to learn it all as an adult. Gradually. I’m still learning everyday, as my conversations with Mario can bring up things I wasn’t aware of before or had heard but just hadn’t put together the puzzle pieces.

  • I don’t innately love a soccer team. (But yes, I do support Real Madrid now. Get over it.)
  • I am unable to de-shell sunflower seeds in my mouth. This caused Mario’s family to spend several minutes instructing me in the fine art of de-shelling sunflower seeds. These efforts failed.
  • I have never eaten cookies  and ColaCao for breakfast.
  • I never had a pincho until I was 21 years old.
  • I don’t “do sport;” I exercise.
  • I don’t innately assign gender to animals. For me, a snake isn’t necessarily a female just because it’s la serpiente.
  • I still don’t get the 11 o’clock break for coffee. Why is no one in their office at this time?!
  • Chorizo and Nutella does not sound like a good combination.
  • Going to buy “the bread” was never a daily outing.
  • I would consider living in yoga pants/sweatpants.
  • I would only get my hair done/buy a new dress for my own wedding and not every single one of my friends’.
  • I just recently discovered the greatness that are “aros de maíz.”
  • I find myself annoyed when things are closed on Sundays. And a little indignant.
  • I apologize way too much. Oh, I slightly touched you as I walked by in the supermarket? I’m sorry! It’s overkill.
  • I never had a house “in the village.”
  • My grandpa does not do the hands clasped behind the back amble through town. And I’m sad about it.
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27 comments

  1. Love this!! So true! And I am a terrible over-apologizer, and it used to annoy me how Spaniards can seem to plow right over you at times and not say anything, pretending like you dont exit haha. Now I find our incessant need to apologize a biiit much!

    1. I think the British are even worse. I read this book while in London, “Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour” and it seems they have an even more urgent need to apologize. Whereas I might say, “Excuse me?” when I need to get through, they’ll almost always say “Sorry!”

    1. It’s all relative. There are societies where the “manners” your parents taught you would be considered rude.

      In Spain, for instance, if you’re hosting a dinner party and are not constantly asking people to eat or telling people to put more food on their plate, then you are considered a rude hostess. Americans don’t do that, so it would be just as valid for a Spaniard in the US to say, “I know I wasn’t raised American because my parents taught me manners.”

    2. Pues a mi me parece que eres muy maleducada diciendo eso de los españoles si encima vives aqui. En España los padres tambien enseñan buenos modales y educación a sus hijos.

      1. Ana, no has dejado tu email verdadero, pero espero que leas eso. No estoy de acuerdo; no pienso que los españoles seáis maleducados. Si pensara eso, pensaría mal de mi novio, mis casi suegros y muchos amigos (a quienes les quiero mucho).

        Como dijo Erik, hay diferentes maneras de ser educado/a y estas varian de una cultura a otra.

  2. I’ve been practicing for years and still haven’t gotten the pipas thing down yet. Guiri FAIL.

    What’s interesting about the gender thing is that it’s completely arbitrary and that speakers of other languages do the exact opposite.

    Maybe I’ve been here too long, but I must opine that, on most of these points, Spain wins.

    1. Yes! I definitely think they do win on many points:
      – Buying the bread. Bread here sucks.
      – Not overapologizing.
      – Los ancianos.
      – Pinchos/tapeando
      – Colacao and digestive cookies.
      – More.

  3. I’m feeling pretty “unspaniard” today, so perfect timing. I can’t figure out my washing machine… my first laundry day here. I ate pipas this week and felt inept- I had shells all in my teeth. Very attractive, I’m sure. Nobody else seemed to struggle, but I was a mess. Colacao- I saw this in the store. What *is* that stuff?? Great post, Kaley!

    1. Colacao is like Nesquik (in fact, they also have Nesquik). Just put it in milk, heat it up (or not, if you want it cold!) and drink. It’s good with those little digestive cookies you see in the store.

  4. The pipas, they are tricky business. And I’m kind of upset you mentioned your lack of a hands-clasped-behind-the-back grandpa, because now I’m sad too.

    1. Mario must get tired of me constantly exclaiming over how cute los ancianos in the parks are. However, I cannot stop. Love them!

    1. How so, Irene?

      Espero que no tomases nada a pecho. De hecho, creo que nos ganáis en muchos aspectos de la vida. :) Pero hay de todo, no?

      1. Bueno, no me gusta el fútbol, ni tengo un equipo! No tomo Colacao, ni chorizo con nutella?? O_o Esa combinación es muy rara!
        Pero las pipas las domino a la perfección! :)

        1. Claro! No “eres” de un equipo? Tuve que aprender que no “animáis” ni “apoyáis” a un equipo, sino “sois” de un equipo, jajaja! No conocía el lenguaje del fútbol! :)

  5. Ahh pipas! Last year I spent my summer nights with the suegra trying and trying to eat them with such ease. Even when I had it down, I didn’t really see the point– the seed is so tiny I could eat a whole handful once of the peeled kind! Oh well. Also, I’m not Spanish because I can’t stop walking around barefoot in the summer to the horror of all around me. Oh well!

    1. The inefficiency of pipas consumption is the whole point. It’s not about satisfying hunger; it’s about avoiding idle hands and giving you something to do during lulls in conversation.

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