How Going to a New Country Can Change Your Tastes

I used to hate olives.

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I used to hate red wine.

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(I used to be pretty awful at Spanish.) I mean, I took high school Spanish and majored in it. Yet I was still pretty damn bad. How does that work?

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No, but seriously. I was so terrible at Spanish. How does that work?

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Now, however…

I love olives. If you’re in Spain, please go to a bar now. Order some aceitunas pardas. Eat. Enjoy. Thank me later.

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Now, I love red wine. I especially love me some Elías Mora.

Go to Zamora. Go to any wine shop. Any. Find some wine, preferably Elías Mora. You won’t regret it. It was probably one of the wines that convinced me just how good wine can be.

I never have.

I’m actually better at Spanish. (Mario helps a lot.)

Plus, he’s cute.

I can converse with almost anyone, understand almost anyone, and even understand the majority of a soccer broadcast. (¡Hala Madrid!) For me, that’s pretty impressive. Being bilingual ain’t easy.

At the risk of being cliché, how has moving to another country (even if just for a year) influenced you? Do you like that influence?

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20 comments

  1. Rather than changing my tastes, I think living abroad just broadened them widely. I lived in the US for a few months only, and discovered things like cinnamon rolls (which now I get asked to make by family members all the time!), apple dumplings, pumpkin pie, roasted vegetables, biscuits and gravy… you name it. All of the classic dishes were newfound love to me. I’ve also lived in Paris, where I loved going on pastry and chocolate shop tours of my own, trying dozens of delicious confections while getting hit by the realization that there were as many equally amazing pastry shops back home I didn’t get so excited about just because I’d been passing them by day after day for my whole life…
    Living in a different country should be a great food experience, as long as you stop whining about the stuff you miss and can’t buy there (which, coming from a country that sucks so much at exporting food goods as Spain, will most likely be a lot) and start enjoying what the new place has to offer (which will probably be quite a plateful!).

  2. You can follow the fútbol commentators?? Now THAT is when you know you’ve truly mastered the language :)
    As I watching Real Madrid last weekend I decided a good drinking game would be to take a sip every time I understood a word, aka ‘Messi’. And once I understood ‘como se llama’. I was excited.

  3. Before I lived abroad, I really sucked at Spanish, too. With our similar situations, I had maybe some *extra* motivation to start speaking it better and faster when I was there, but even if I hadn’t met my husband in Spain, being immersed in the language you’ve been studying for 8+ years is nothing like getting it solely from the classroom. I realized not everyone spoke slowly and clearly as my teachers. I learned how to decipher Spanish mumblers (my host father for one, between his puffs of cigarette smoke I’d have to peel through just to try to see his mouth move [LOL, Spain]), but am admittedly still not an expert. Nonetheless, immersion study is a good learning experience.

    I learned to love me some tortilla and some vinegar salad because that’s all host mama was ever making for dinner, so it was that or starve. I was always too cheap to buy extra food with the euro. To this day I still can’t get an olive down, though. Good for you! ;)

  4. Hmm… what a great question!!!

    Well, I definitely left France as more of a wine-drinker… I never used to like it, drank it all the time there, still drink it occasionally here. I also HAVE to have dessert after dinner now… it just doesn’t feel right if I don’t have it… and I do like sparkling water, too, and that’s definitely something that I didn’t really do before… :)

  5. Spain has made me love red wine, too! And I’ve always loved olives but stuck with the typical, black, canned kind you find in the States, and now I die over any olives you put in front of me. Still hating fish and seafood though, despite every Spaniard I meet’s astonishment.

    1. Yeah, I’m also still not too keen on seafood. I have always like shrimp and scallops … but other mariscos? No. I suppose I do like fish more, now that I think about it. Oops!

  6. speaking of olives…when i travelled to the USA in 2010 i saw olives with an almond in it and to my surprise they came from Spain! note that i have never see it here….strangely?

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