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