Bicultural and/or international couples (in my case, both) have some habits that can seem odd for an outsider. Most of the time, when Mario and I take a trip, we end up speaking a weird hodgepodge of English and Spanish and Spanglish, which confuses the locals who just want to place us in a little box. (Oh, Americans; or Oh, Spaniards.) But no, we’re not so easily categorized or identified.
Mix up traditions
I wear my wedding ring (alianza) on my right hand because I didn’t have the traditional engagement ring and wedding ring match set. I wanted everyone who saw me, in Spain and in the US, to know I was taken, so I figured I’d wear one ring on each finger. Problem solved. Mario, on the other hand (literally), wears his on the other hand, his left. Why? It’s more comfortable. So we mix up traditions. So what?
We also chose to say our vows both in English and in Spanish, because those words in our native languages were and are really important to us.
Oh yeah, and we had two weddings. We’ve decided we could have one every year. There are lots of states, after all.
Today is October 1st, and that is significant for two reasons:
1) Mario’s been at his job—the job that brought us to Madrid—for one year now. Yipee, hooray, and all that stuff.
2) Four years ago, I started dating him.
Our first date, our first picture!
It’s autumn 2009. There is a slight chill in the air, and we are walking up my favorite street in Salamanca. It is a long climb, this street, one that leads to the cathedral, which reigns atop the hill like a mighty king. I huff and puff as Mario talks. I love the way he talks: his rolled Rs, his throaty jotas. But when he utters an unfamiliar word, I stop him. I’m 22, going on my second year in Spain, the world is at my feet, but I still have so much to learn—from him, from Spain, from everyone and everything. And so we’ve become accustomed to this: him speaking, me interrupting, him explaining, and then returning to the topic at hand. Listening to him was much more than just getting to know (and love) him; I was learning about Spanish and Spain at the same time.
A while back, Lauren from Spanish Sabores asked what our ideal summer looked like. I think she mentioned a beach somewhere in there, but I know how I responded: with corn on the cob and margaritas on the porch, with fireflies in the fields and long walks on the trail. She told me that my summer sounded kinda American, and … the truth is, that’s what I was craving! Luckily, I’m here for a good two months, and I’m loving it!
What have I been doing?
- Snacking on summer produce. My parents’ garden is plentiful, what with its cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, peas, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, regular tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli, cauliflower, and all its herbs—basil, lemon basil, mint, cilantro, oregano, and dill.
- Walking “the trail.” In my town, the trail is a former railroad converted into a bike path. It’s tranquil with lots of shade, a.k.a. the perfect place to have a chat.
- Margaritas on the porch. Porch drinking in the best drinking. (See also: wine on the porch, mojitos on the porch.)
- Cooking. Since I have the blessed gift of air conditioning, I don’t mind turning on the stove and/or oven. I love cooking, especially in the summer, when it seems everything is in season. It’s also quite nice to take ten steps out my front door and snip some fresh basil or oregano or mint.
- Farmers marketing. Farmers markets are the best! In Bloomington, my former college town, they have a really great one. There are always live bands, iced coffee, and an amazing variety of fresh produce. You can get stevia plants and sunflowers and Japanese eggplant and okra and rhubarb. And if you’re feeling hangry, try the focaccia made of spinach, feta cheese, and pine nuts. You won’t regret it.
- Planning for our wedding party. Oh, you thought it was over! N-O! We’ve still got a second, US-based wedding party to plan for … it’s going to be epic. August 30, 2013! Be there or be totalllllly square.