So You’re Dating a Spaniard—Season

This is an interview I received last October. Eek. As you can see, I’m a bit behind on my interviews. It seems they’re never ending, but I love it. Personally, I feel a learn a bit from every person I have the privilege to interview. That said, here’s Season!

American dating Spaniard

Hi! My name is Season, and I’m 30 years old. I came to Spain for the first time in August 2004 to study abroad in San Sebastian. Coming back to the States a year later, I was completely changed and knew that my time in Spain wasn’t finished. After completing my degree at the University of Nevada Reno, I found out about the Auxiliares de Conversación program, applied, and got accepted! I spent two years teaching at La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Irún, went back to Nevada for almost a year, and then came back to Irún to begin teaching English at a private academy. During this time I met my husband and knew that Spain was the place for me!

How did you meet your significant other?

I met Endika my first year at the EOI. I was originally living in San Sebastian but working in Irún, and after a roommate disagreement, I moved to Irún. My first weekend in Irún was Carnival, and a student of mine called to invite me out with her and her friends. I decided it would be a fun way to get to know the city and after bar hopping all night, we ended up at a discoteca, where I ended up dancing with Endika. I honestly don’t remember the exact moment of meeting, but after a while we ended up outside talking, and he offered to give me a ride home. I declined, said it was nice to meet him, and re-joined my new friends. My student told me to get his number, but I said I wasn’t interested, so she said that she would get it for me. She did, and at 8:00 a.m. while making pasta for breakfast at home, I decided to text him because I couldn’t remember his name and was curious. He immediately texted back, and a few days later we went on our first official date. That was February 4, 2008, and we got married 3.5 years later on August 20, 2011.

Do you feel that your significant other is a “typical” Spaniard?

I don’t feel like he is a typical Spaniard, but in many ways he is most definitely a typical Basque. His first language is Euskera, his family is incredibly important to him, and he’s the most loyal person I’ve ever met. But in many ways he’s not typical at all. He’s quite open-minded, has traveled, and isn’t obsessed with either Real Sociedad or Athletic Club [note: two Basque soccer teams].

Which language do you speak when you’re together?

When we first met, my Spanish was much better than his English, so our relationship was almost completely in Spanish. But over the years it’s evolved into this crazy Spanish/English/Basque mix that only we really understand. For the most part, it really depends on who we are with or where we are in the moment.

How do you deal with the “in-law” issue?

I’ve read all your other interviews, and I really wish I had the same story about my in-laws accepting me from the beginning. However, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. I didn’t meet them until we had been together for over a year, and they really didn’t take our relationship seriously. His mom called me his “English friend” for about the first two and a half years of our relationship. They were not happy about us moving in together and even more upset when we decided to get married. The day of our wedding, Endika’s mom cried and they weren’t exactly tears of joy. Since then, I do have to say that things have improved greatly, and we are working on our relationship everyday. But Endika’s extended family welcomed me with open arms from the beginning and I have formed a great relationship with them.

What is the best part about being married to a foreigner (and especially a Spaniard)?

I think the best part is getting to have a truly authentic experience. I get to see aspects of Basque and Spanish culture that I never would have been able to if it wasn’t for him. He’s opened my eyes to so many things that I’m sure I never would have experienced otherwise.

American dating Spaniard

What is the most difficult part?

Of course there are the cultural differences that make me scratch my head and wonder why things are done in a certain way. But I think the most difficult part is not having a strong support system to help us out in those difficult moments.

What advice would you give someone who is considering starting a relationship with a Spaniard?

I would say to make sure that you are dating the person for who they are and not what they represent. I see so many American girls that come to Spain for their first time and want to date a Spaniard. You have to be in love with the person and not the idea. Along with that I would advise them to be as open-minded as possible.

I like that: “You have to be in love with the person and not the idea.” Do you plan on living in the US or in Spain long term?

We are actually in the process of moving to the States! After being here for over 7 years, we made the decision to give the USA a try. Endika has had a really hard time finding a job since he finished his degree and we both think he’ll have an easier time in the States. So after the first of the year, we’ll be boarding a plane and starting a new life back in Nevada. But I have no doubts about our lives being a constant back-and-forth between here and there.

American dating Spaniard

Do you plan on having children? If so, do you plan on raising them bilingual?

Children are definitely part of the plan. Endika is actually way more excited than I am to start a family! I couldn’t imagine raising them anything but trilingual. We both agree that languages are so important and they’ll have to speak at least English, Spanish, and Euskera if they want to communicate with family on both sides of the pond.

If you could import something from the U.S. to Spain (and vice versa), what would it be?

Obviously I would import my family and friends from the U.S. to Spain, but apart from that I would love to have a bit more spontaneity here in Spain. I feel like we are always just going to “tomar algo” and I sometimes miss the inventiveness that Americans have with their plans. As for Spain to the U.S., I would love to import some of the food from Spain to the USA and the importance that people here place on family and spending time with their loved ones.

How has being in a relationship with a Spaniard changed you?

It’s changed me so much! I was such a type-A, control freak (still am sometimes!) when I started dating Endika, and he has really made me slow down and realize that everything will get done in its own time. He’s made me appreciate my family more because I see the strong relationship he has with his. I’ve also come to realize that there are many ways to do the same thing and neither is right or wrong, just simply different.

American dating Spaniard

Thank you so much, Season! Check out her blog.

Interested in being a part of my Dating a Spaniard series? Email me; I’d love to have you!

12 comments

  1. It’s interesting she thinks there is more spontaneity in Spain than in the USA. My experience was the total opposite! In the USA (at least here in New York), you have to make plans well in advance and typically you call ahead before you drop in on family and friends (it depends on who it is obviously). Or maybe I’m just not a very spontaneous person which is probably the case.

    Also I love her wedding dress! Such a refreshing change from all the long strapless gowns out there.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I wanted to say that I think there is more spontaneity in the USA than in Spain. I’ve been back in the States for 3 months now and I do feel Americans are more spontaneous. In Spain I felt like we always had the same plans (ir a tomar algo) and even thought I am not against “tomando algo” after almost a decade of doing the same thing, it sometimes got boring. I loved my wedding dress also! It was easy and simple and comfy!

  2. How cool that Season and Endika have not two, but three languages in the mix! Two alone can be a challenge, so it’s nice to see that you guys consider all three as important and essential to the new traditions you are making!

    1. Thanks Cassandra for the comment! Euskera is really important to Endika and preserving and maintaining it have become important to me also. I just can’t imagine my suegros talking to our future children in anything but Euskera! And my parents of course only speak English! So they’ll have to learn all 3 whether they want to or not!

  3. so sad to hear that about your MIL, I mean, I don’t think mine is the happiest at the thought of having a foreign daughter.in.law but at least she’s polite and wouldn’t cry at the (eventual) wedding. I hope! haha

    1. Ah man, it must be tough to have to deal with that! :( Even if it’s just that she’s “not the happiest.” I wasn’t sure how mine would turn out, but she has been really great.

    2. Thanks for the comment Irene! It’s hard having in-laws that don’t fully support your relationship simply because you don’t share a common culture but I do have to say that it has gotten so much better! I honestly never thought we would get to the point we are at today so I’m excited to see where our relationship will go in the coming years. I think the hardest part for her was to give up the idea she had for her son and realize the life she wanted for him was different than the life he wanted for himself. I hope your future MIL doesn’t cry at your eventual wedding either!

      1. Thanks! I hope she doesn’t cry! haha I think the cultural barrier is a hard one but if you (we) both are happy and invest time in the in-laws it’ll work out eventually!

  4. So glad to see a relationship from Basque Country come up…..Season beat the impossible odds and got to know a Basque man :) Just kidding, I think the stereotype about the Basques being closed off is much too overplayed and doesn’t hold water; in my experience they’re some of the nicest people I’ve met in all of Spain. I have so many students this year named Endika, and although it took me 4,028,012 years to memorize all those Basque names, I have such a special place in my heart for them now :)
    And COMPLETELY de acuerdo with the plans here always being “tomar algo,” I’ve become so much lazier in my plan-making now! Why go on an adventurous hike through the mountains of Euskadi when a glass of vino is 1.50? I’ll use this summer back in the States to see if I’m capable of doing anything but tomar.

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