I am really excited to publish this interview with Elizabeth. I found myself identifying with her answers is so many ways. You can check out her blog at Slightly Nomadic.
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! So, tell us about yourself!
My name is Elizabeth Bostick, I am from Rhode Island, and I just turned 26 years old. I write a travel blog called Slightly Nomadic. I was in Spain last year, as an auxiliar de conversación in Sevilla, but I recently moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to teach Middle School French and Spanish. This makes for a super long distance relationship with my Spaniard!
Ah, I have had that same situation in a way! After the 2010–2011 school year, I moved home to help with a local ESL program while we maintained a LDR. How did you meet your Spaniard?
I have been with Juanpe, my boyfriend, for nearly three years now. (Geez, time flies.) I did my undergrad degree in England and France. I met Juanpe, a Sevillano, when we were both studying in Amiens, in the north of France, in 2010. We both lived in the same residence hall, and became fast friends, and then a couple … complicated, right?
When I graduated, I applied to become an auxiliar de conversación in Spain. It was pure chance that I was placed in the Mairena del Aljarafe, the town right next to his home in Bormujos.
Wow, that is really great! Do you think that he’s a “typical” Spaniard (whatever that means)?
Juanpe is a “typical” Spaniard in many ways. He has a fierce pride for his language and culture, and comes from a Spanish-to-the-core family, but he is also very worldly. He speaks fluent English and French, and absolutely LOVES American culture (just go ahead and ask him about any movie!). Sometimes I joke that he is more American than me! Yet when I am with his family, I am snapped back to reality, and remember just how Spanish he actually is.
Which language do you speak when together?
We speak a plethora of different languages. We actually started off speaking French, when we were both in France, but that didn’t last long! Now we usually speak a mixture of English and Spanish. It basically depends on who we are around … if I am with his family, we speak Spanish, if he is around mine, we speak English.
You are very similar to Mario and me! But what about the in-laws?
My in-laws are great. I had my own apartment in Seville, but I spent a lot of time at their house. They have really welcomed me into their home with open arms, and went out of their way to involve me in family gatherings. My dad has met Juanpe, and I hope that my family will be as warm to him, as his has to me.
What’s the best part about dating a Spaniard?
I don’t know if there is a “best part” about dating a Spaniard, in general. I think the best part is dating a man that I love, a man who is my biggest supporter, and the sweetest person I’ve ever met.
Good answer! What’s the most difficult part?
I am not going to lie, the distance is hard. The only thing we are sure about is that we want to establish ourselves financially before we do anything permanent, relationship-wise. So, right now I am in Virginia and he is working in Sevilla. It is tough, but we are both independently minded people, and know that if we want a chance for a future together, we need to be financially stable first.
That is difficult. Sometimes I wondered how our relationship would work out. Eventually, it did! Do you have any advice for a person who’s thinking about starting a relationship with a Spaniard?
I think the best advice to give someone is to be realistic. Don’t rush into anything because of the whirlwind nature of a foreign relationship. It is so easy to get caught up in the heady romance this kind of thing can bring. Take it from me—it can still last, even if you end up being long distance for a while. Put yourself first and your relationship second.
Where do you think you’ll end up?
Our plans are in no way set in stone, yet. I know at some point we would love to settle down in Spain, but I have a feeling it will be a back and forth situation for a while. Spain would be a great place to live in the long run, but given the economic problems, it might be wiser to live in the US right now. Besides … he deserves to experience a slice of American life for a while, right? We just aren’t making any decisions quite yet.
What about kids? Have you thought about that? Would you raise them bilingually?
Kids are not on the table, right now. I am only 26! If we do end up having kids, I am sure they will be raised bilingually. It would be inevitable, since Juanpe and I are such language nerds. Plus, you always want your kids to be able to speak to both sets of grandparents!
Yes, speaking to grandparents is important. If you could import/export anything to the US from Spain and vice versa, what would it be?
I wish I could bring the Spanish lifestyle back here to the US! I need to become accustomed to the American work-till-you-drop culture again. I could definitely do with a long lunch and siesta after work, but alas, this is not feasible here. I am kind of dreading the idea of being up at work before the sun rises! Oh, and jamón … I wish I could get it through customs!
What do you think your relationship with Juanpe has taught you?
I think it has taught me patience. Of course I want to be able to see my boyfriend more often than I actually do, but I have to remember this situation will help us in the long run. It is better to make decisions in a stable place. We love each other, and we have to be patient for it to last. It is a lot of work, but I think it is worth it!
Thanks so much, Elizabeth!