You’re dating a Spaniard. Ohh girl, what have you done?
No seriously, this series will be ongoing until all the Guiris dating a Spaniard stop, which I hope is never! I’d like to introduce you all to Annemarie.
I’m Annemarie, and this will be my second year teaching English in Madrid. I knew I wanted to return to Spain after I spent a semester in college in Valencia. I have an undergraduate degree in international business and economics, and I never thought I would spend time working as a teacher.
How did you meet your significant other and how long have you been together?
I met him during my first week in Madrid! I was searching for an apartment and José and his roommate were searching for a roommate, I didn’t want to live with guys so we said good-bye. A few days later I heard from José asking for English classes as he was preparing for an English exam. After that class things between us continued and we have been together ever since. (He later admitted that asking for English classes was just an excuse to get to know me better!)
Veryyy sneaky! Do you feel that your significant other is a “typical” Spaniard? If not, why?
Jose is a cerveza-drinking, jamón-eating, fútbol-watching Spaniard, and he is proud and knowledgeable about his culture! He is also extremely intelligent, ambitious, kind, caring, and humble. I think there is a stigma that Spanish men are big philanderers, and that’s unfortunate because Jose is very honest and loyal.
Honestly, I hate that stereotype! What about language? Which one do you two speak, English or Spanish?
We speak the majority of the time in English; his English is fluent, and my Spanish is upper intermediate, so its easier to speak in English, and I think that since we started in English we have stuck to that. Although when we are with his friends and family, we speak in Spanish. We have vowed that this year we are going to speak more Spanish!
Even though my Spanish is fluent, I still find it easier to speak in English because Mario’s English is really amazing. We have to make an effort too! What about your in-laws? How are they?
José’s family is phenomenal. He is from the north of Spain, León. The first time we went to visit his parents, they were so kind. They fed me until I could barely walk, they took me around León, and we went to mass in the amazing cathedral there. His extended family is just as kind, and he has a sister and lots of cousins close to us in age, so it’s really a fun time getting together with his family. Recently, we took a trip to the Amalfi coast in Italy where José finally had the chance to meet my sister, my parents—and 21 of their friends (poor José, he was a champ)—and it was a great vacation.
What is the best part about dating/being married to a foreigner (and especially a Spaniard)?
The best part about dating José is that he is absolutely, without a doubt, the kindest person I’ve ever met. He is such a gentleman, I don’t think he has ever let me carry one thing, he opens doors, he is really thoughtful. Sometimes we have different views on things, and we have culture clashes, but I think that is part of the fun. We are from two totally different places and the exchanging of ideas and points of view is interesting and fun. I learn a lot from him!
And the most difficult part?
I think communication is the most difficult part. When we first started dating, if José told me he would meet me at 7, it really meant 8:30. He’s come along way in the punctuality department! He is also very relaxed, easy going, and patient, whereas I can tend to be slightly impatient and enjoy instant gratification. (Why wait an hour to let something your streaming load, when you could just buy in on iTunes and watch it ASAP?)
What advice would you give someone who is considering starting a relationship with a Spaniard?
Learn to love jamón. Haha. No, the best advice I could give is to keep an open mind and embrace each others differences. Don’t take things to seriously and have a lot of fun; Spaniards are fun people!
Do you plan on living in the US or in Spain long term? Why?
My mom would kill me if I said Spain! At least one more year in Spain is the plan right now than ideally we’d go to the US. We are both working on moving forward in our lives with furthering ourselves with masters degrees and work experience that is relevant to our goals, while keeping each other in our plans. I’m open to the US and Spain, whichever makes sense at that time.
I know my dad would kill me if I said Spain too! What about kids?
Kids? Were focusing more on things like where should our next vacation be or what should we have for dinner? José and I have had an awesome year together and we are having so much fun being young and in love, we just got our first apartment together for next year and that’s exciting. We don’t put premature pressure on our relationship by making those kind of decisions. We often talk about the future, but we take things one step at a time. In general, I think raising bilingual children is a wonderful and important thing that brings along a world of opportunities. So yes, if one day (far away from today) José and I had children, they would definitely be raised bilingual.
Yeah, I suppose you’ve not been dating that long! Didn’t mean to make things get too serious! If you could import something from the US to Spain (and vice versa), what would it be?
I would import my house. In Madrid, sometimes I miss having so much space, especially closet space. I’d also import my friends and family even though technology makes communication much easier I wish they could experience my life there. Into the US, I would import tortilla, El Corte Inglés, and the Spanish beaches!
How has being in a relationship with a Spaniard changed you?
It has made me very appreciative of the opportunities we have in America. It’s very typical for Spaniards to live with their families for a long time, and in America most kids move out at 18 when they go to college, and those independent and formative years are an important time of self discovery. It’s also made me more patient and open minded!