spain

What’s It Like Being With a Guiri?

After reading Girl in Florence’s post about her boyfriend’s thoughts about being with an American, I thought I’d interview Mario about his thoughts about life and love with a guiri (Spain Spanish for “foreigner”). He is really too kind, though, and it was hard to get out any juicy tidbits … mainly he was just super respectful. Darn it, Mario! (Okay, not really. He is the best.)

Before I came to Spain, I wasn’t sure if I identified with my nationality. I didn’t like guns, or football, or beer, or many other things your “typical” American likes. Oddly enough, it took me coming to Spain to really “feel American.” Although I still don’t see myself as your stereotypical American girl, I know that many parts of my upbringing are deeply ingrained, and they influence how I act on a daily basis.

As a part of a Spanish-American couple, I’ve seen and experienced many of the cultural mishaps that go along with dating someone from another country. Spain and the U.S. aren’t all that different in the end, but there are still some things that trip me up, even after five years in the country. Perhaps Mario and I will always have our small miscommunications and misunderstandings. But they’re still fun to discuss! So let’s get it started …

Mario Kaley Zamora Castillo

How do you think your life is different being with me than if you were with a Spaniard or some other nationality?

We wouldn’t be talking in English! I wouldn’t visit the States so much, of course, and I doubt I would have gone to Indiana ever.

That would be a crying shame! Really. “Don’t mess with Texas,” psh, don’t  mess with Hoosiers. What parts of the United States surprised you? The good and the bad.

  • People living in houses and driving everywhere, not having a proper city.
  • The high school was so big.
[I just want to insert here that I tried very hard to get him to tell me more things that he thought were just wrong, like we were all way fatter, but nooooo.]

What do you like most about being with someone from the U.S.?

You get to talk a lot in English, so I improve my English. Eating new foods from the U.S. Getting to experience another culture through your partner. Having two teams to root for in sports competitions.

Yes! Go Spain! Go USA! What things are more difficult?

Because we come from two different countries, one of us has to be far from our home. Sometimes there are cultural or linguistic misunderstandings

What new things have you tried (foods, experiences, etc.)?

  • Apart from going to Indiana, I’ve tried a lot of new foods, like: your dad’s smoked ribs, the cookies you make (the ones with oatmeal and dried cranberries) … I really liked the breakfast casserole your aunt made for us the morning after your brother’s wedding! [Kaley: This was your typical sausage and egg casserole a.k.a. hangover food.]
  • We went to an IU basketball game and a football game. We tailgated before the game! That was fun.

Tailgating Indiana University

  • Having an American wedding was cool, even if it was the traditional wedding. Going to your brother’s was also a lot of fun.
  • Thanksgiving was neat, because we were watching the football game on TV and then eating. I really like stuffing, and obviously the turkey. The ham was good too. I was at the Black Friday sales the next day. [Kaley: Note we did not go to the 3 a.m. stuff. Just the average next-day sales.]
  • I got to go pick out a Christmas tree at the farm. I cut it down too.

Mario Cutting Down Tree

  • I’ve been to Chicago, and it’s so impressive with all its skyscrapers, and of course the lake. I tried Chicago-style pizza with my mom and dad when they visited.

What things do you want to try now?

Obviously, I want to visit as many states as possible! I would especially like to see the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone, the Pacific ocean, Hawaii. I would like to drive there and have an automatic car. New food, but not spicy!
Thank you for being patient while I peppered you with a zillion questions and badgered you incessantly to be meaner! Now is the time I would link to Mario’s blog, if he had one (hahahahaha, yeahhh).

If you could ask Mario a question, what would you ask? What do you find interesting about what he said?

About these ads

Two Years

Today is my two-year anniversary with the love of my life. There’s much to say that hasn’t been said about Mario, but I’ll leave that for him and me. Suffice it to say that he’s the one I’d always hoped for when I was a teenager, the one I prayed about in college, the one I finally met in September 2009, and the one I married on July 7, 2012.

Kaley Mario Wedding Zamora Spain

Kaley Mario Wedding Zamora Spain Castillo

Happy two years, mi amor!

Read more about our wedding:

“Sí, quiero”—The Spanish Version of “I Do”
Spanish Weddings vs. American Weddings
Spanish Weddings vs. American Weddings—The Reception

 

Top 10 Things I Miss from Spain When I’m in the USA

So if you’re still unaware, I’m back in Indiana. Teachers have great vacations, and I’m enjoying a life of air-conditioned luxury at my parents’. I will also be attending an old friend’s wedding, visiting my alma mater, and heading out to Nevada to visit my brother at the end of July. All in all, not bad.

I love being back home. I will admit to anyone that I love Spain (especially Castilla y León), but home is home and always will be. Nonetheless, there are many things I miss about Spain while I’m here. In no specific order, here they are.

1. Walking

Who knew that walking would make a list? Of course, I can walk here too. We have a great trail behind our house, and I could walk to my heart’s content. What I’m talking about is walking to actually get somewhere. In Spain, even in Madrid, we walk to get to a lot of places. The grocery store, to buy bread, to see friends … There is just something nice about not having to hop in a car to go pick up some eggs.

2. The outdoor lifestyle

Once May rolls around, it seems that all of Spain hit the streets. Restaurants and cafés start putting out tables and umbrellas, and people seem to spend a good two hours sipping on cañas whilst chatting up friends. I love sitting outdoors when the heat hasn’t reached overly suffocating levels, and even though I’ll never be a fan of Mahou, I don’t mind it ice cold and accompanied by some free tapas.

3. Wine

IMG_0916

Wine is so expensive here! It has something to do with taxes, but sheesh. In Zamora, I can get a decent glass of wine for around €1.30. In Madrid, let’s say €3. Here? That’ll cost you around $9. Yep, nine bucks! It’s probably not even that great of wine either. (Apparently I’m a wine snob now too. My sincerest apologies.)

4. Fruterías

I had to write this in Spanish, because the idea just doesn’t exist here in small-town Indiana, except if we had to a farmer’s market, which is something else entirely. Fruterías sell fruit and vegetables, often along with other small items like olives, maybe eggs, and other things along that line. They generally have better quality produce than that found in the supermarket, along with greater variety. They sell some things, like tomatoes, year round, while others have to be in season (see: cherries). Some of these fruit shops are serve-yourself places, while in others you have to ask for what you want. At a traditional market, you line up by asking who’s the last person in line, and wait until they’re finished so that you can have a turn.

5. The fiestas

Fiesta Vendimia Toro

I don’t necessarily mean parties. I mean each town’s fiestas, their yearly festival days. Every town, village, and city has them. In Madrid, for instance, it’s San Isidro. It’s just fun to see how each little town celebrates. There is always a traditional food, often a sweet, which is eaten on that day. For San Isidro, they eat rosquillas de San Isidro.

6. Food in general

It’s my inner fat kid talking, but … ummmmm, food! There are so many foods here that I just love. Let’s start off with my #1: homemade salchichón from my in-laws, who really know what they’re doing. No thanks, I don’t want fuet, give me salchichón any day. Also, cured sheep’s milk cheese from Zamora, which you could probably find here in the USA, but it would marked up to sky-high prices. Honorable mentions: Campo Real olives (called aceitunas pardas in Zamora), homemade chorizo, salmorejo, lentejas.

7. Architecture

IMG_0240

I love Zamora, in part because I love its Romanesque buildings and architecture. There is just nothing like knowing you’re seeing something built in the 13th century. We were married in a church built in the 11th century! That’s way older than our country. My favorite styles are Romanesque (see: Zamora, Segovia) and Gothic (see: Toledo, Burgos, León).

8. Learning Spanish daily

I complain about this sometimes, because me da pereza, but there’s something to be said about learning something new every day. Mario is a constant source of information. I watch the news in Spanish when I can, read the news online, and hear Spanish all around me. (I don’t live in an area with a lot of foreigners.) As they say in Spain: Nunca te acostarás sin saber una cosa más (You’ll never go to bed without having learned something new).

9. Public transportation

Madrid’s public transportation system is top notch. It could be improved, of course, and it’s a bit more expensive nowadays than a few years ago, but for a guiri like me, it’s amazing. There are so many ways to get around: buses, the metro, short-distance trains, medium-distance trains, long-distance trains. All of it is incredibly efficient for the amount of different types. You can go to a website to see when the next bus will reach your stop. The metro comes every two to three minutes in the morning, at rush hour.

10. My Spanish friends and family

IMG_0777From their visit to the USA in 2013

What kind of person would I be if I didn’t say this? My Spanish family has taken me in as one of their own. Mario’s godmother and cousin refers to me as prima (cousin). My father-in-law has taken up English, and he’s getting pretty good at it! M mother-in-law is an amazing cook and the prototypical Spanish madre. Everyone treats me phenomenally. And of course Mario is the best of them all! I won’t brag on him too much, though—just know he’s el mejor.

What things do you like most about living in Spain or which things do you miss now that you no longer live there?

Running in Spain

For some reason, many Spaniards have taken the word correr (literally, “to run”) and started to use the words “runner” and “running,” like so:

El ‘running’ está de moda

Run for your life

Running is popular nowadays in Spain. There is a race every weekend here in Madrid, and every day I see more people out and about, running around the parks near our house. Funnily, as the article says, first they said “jogging,” then they said “footing,” and now they’re saying “running.” They all mean the same thing, so why not say them in Spanish: salir a correr. It’s a phenomenon I’m rather fascinated by, but I’m not like to argue with diehards who say the Spanish language is dying, battered and weary of so many Anglicisms. I think it’s put a new spin on an old hobby, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I started running at the end of high school, and I’ve kept it up since then, sometimes substituting going to the gym. But I still run 4–5 days a week most weeks. When I came to Spain in college, I didn’t notice a lot of runners. I would often run around outside Toledo’s old city walls, and I would maybe see one other runner. But nowadays, I see tons. Of course, in Madrid you’re more likely to see someone running. It’s all anecdotal, but based on my observations alone, I’d swear the number of runners in Spain has increased dramatically in the last five years.

And the evidence backs it up: Barcelona’s 2012 marathon attracted nearly 20,000 runners, a 28% increase from 2011. And I’d venture to say it’s only gotten bigger since then. What’s the reason for this increase? I can’t pinpoint it, but I’ve someone jokingly say that a man having a midlife crisis in 1990 gets an expensive car, in 2000 he gets a much-younger girlfriend, and 2010 he starts running. Plus, it’s a relatively cheap sport to take up, and you can do it almost anywhere. All you really need are some runnng shoes. The rest is just extra. Some people even claim that it’s addictive!

One thing Spanish runners normally have over runners back home is great gear. Just visit Decathlon, a big sporting goods store here, and you’ll see why. You can buy cheap, professional looking running outfits for way less than you’d spend on something back home. So while I run in an old tee shirt and even older shorts, most of the people I see in Madrid have on whole coordinated outfits. Good for them, but I’m going to stick with my shirt from ninth-grade volleyball …

Are you a runner?