Crossing the Pond

I’m heading back home to Indiana tomorrow, and I am more than delighted to escape the oven-like heat here in Madrid. I’ll miss Mario and cheap cheese and tinto de verano, but I figure I’ll survive somehow. There are, however, a few things I know I will unknowingly do during my first week home.

I will bump into someone and say, “Perdón.” Instead of “excuse me” or “sorry” or even “pardon,” this Spanish word is sure to come out of my mouth at least twice during my first week. And during the second, my lips will still instinctively form a “p” before I catch myself.

I will search for the toilet flusher on top of the commode. In Spain, toilet flushers are generally located on top, and you press down on them. In most of the US, the toilet flusher is on the side or in front with a little handle and you press down on one side. So late at night or early in the morning before I’ve had my coffee, this is bound to occur.

I will search for the light switch. This happens all the time, everywhere, but it’s more noticeable when I switch countries.

I will not want to eat lunch until 2 p.m. Getting back on the food schedule is difficult for me, at least for the first week. And eating dinner before 6 p.m. is just not okay!

I will forget that we don’t really use dollar coins. For a bill of $4, I will think, “Hey! I have enough coins for that,” when, no, I have nowhere near enough.

I will relish the ease with which I can communicate. I’ve been in Spain for a while, and my Spanish is quite good, but—still—there is something to be said about talking in your native language, with people of the same cultural background. I may actually remember that I was once funny!

What things do you inevitably do when you go home?

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13 comments

  1. When you don’t understand something: “¿Cómo?” Every so often I’d say that even when I was in Spain speaking to non-Spanish speaking friends on Skype.

    1. Yes, actually! Mario’s parents are coming over in late August and we’ll be spending a few days there before we head home in September.

  2. I have not been home yet, but when I do go home, I expect to do all of those things and more. Definitely when I went to Ottawa and the UK I wanted to speak with everyone, even to strangers on the street! I would find myself checking that I knew all of the vocabulary for what I wanted to ask before entering the store, and then relax, as I realized I didn’t have to. :)

    1. Aww yeah, that is true too! I don’t have to feel nervous that I won’t be able to make myself heard either, because it’s all in English.

  3. I remember saying “uh, digo” instead of “uh, I mean” in conversation on returning to the U.S.

    That is so nice that you can spend some time with your family. There is nothing like the feel of grass in your toes in the summer. :-) Will Mario and his parents join your family too?

  4. Ohhh ,I hear you about the change in meal times! Since my parents get up very early, they tend to eat lunch at 11 a.m. and dinner at 5 p.m. After spending time in Spain, my body was a full meal behind their schedule!!

    Hope you are enjoying your time at home–enjoy :)

  5. I did the toilet thing for a bit when I first got back home. It was so weird at first reaching upwards to flush and it didn’t flush at all, lol.

  6. I totally understand the bit about remembering that you’re funny! I feel like that part of my personality gets a little lost when I’m living in a Spanish speaking country because I’m so concentrated on understanding and speaking correctly. Hopefully that will come easier over the years!!

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