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Five Years in Spain—My Favorite Posts

Guys, five years ago today I stepped off the plane in Madrid. Five years! Five years I’ve been eating here, drinking here, living here. I can hardly believe it. If you had told me then that I’d still be here, I wouldn’t have believed you. I planned on doing my one-year internship, “perfecting” my Spanish, and heading home in 2010. Little did I know …

Long story short: I met Mario, fell in luuuuurve, and stayed. Things that have changed since then:

  • I no longer live in Salamanca. This fact still upsets me sometimes. Take me back!
  • I’m married. I wear my ring on my right finger, like Spaniards, while Mario wears his on his left, like Americans. Weirdo.
  • We have a decent apartment. (That one in Salamanca was, as my mother-in-law described it, a “porquería.”)
  • I know a lot more Spanish, and a whole lot more about Spain.

To celebrate my five year Spainiversary, I thought I’d clue you in on some of my favorite posts from the past years:

About Study Abroad

College Study Abroad: If I Could Do It All Over Again

About Study Abroad

About Learning Spanish

Advanced Spanish … Where Do I Go from Here?

Verbosity

But I’m a Girl! … and Other Spanish Language Mishaps

Rookie Mistakes: Reflexive Spanish Verbs and Me

The Language We Speak “So, do you guys talk in English or Spanish?” Oh, what a complicated question.

Bilingual Inside Jokes About having a bilingual relationship

About Mario and Me

Madrid Bound The one where I announced we were moving to Madrid

So Here’s the Deal About moving for love

Two Years Ago Anniversary post

Lucky

About Weddings In Spain

Boda a la Española: La Prueba Menu Testing

How to Plan a Wedding in Spain … or Not Planning a wedding in another country can be hard!

Sí, Quiero—The Spanish Version of “I Do” Our wedding day (includes a video)

Spanish Weddings vs. American Weddings How the ceremonies differ

Spanish Weddings vs. American Weddings—The Reception How the receptions differ

About Food In Spain

Foods Spain Taught Me to Love Believe me, there are a ton of these!

De Tapas Por Zamora—Where to Eat in Zamora, Spain

Surprise: Spain’s Most Popular Food Isn’t Paella Or why you’ll totally look like a guiri if you order paella off one of those menus with all the pictures

My Favorite Spanish Foods

No, Gracias—Spanish Foods I Dislike Surprisingly, there are some!

Teaching In Spain

Teaching English in Spain’s Bilingual Schools

10 Differences Between Spanish and American High Schools

Teaching in an Instituto (High School) vs. A Colegio (Elementary School)

About Spain In General

Your Spain Experience—Interview With Sarah

Your Spain Experience—Interview With Erin

Watch out for the controversy on these two posts (you may want to skip the comments), but I found Erin’s and Sarah’s experiences to very interesting and indicative of how race is viewed in Spain.

My Most-Viewed Posts

Have you ever wondered what my most-viewed posts are? Wonder no longer.

How to Dress Like a Spaniard To be honest, this kind of irks me, because I wrote this way tongue-in-cheek, and now people get offended. Oops!

Whatsapp—Why Spain’s Over the SMS

How to Improve Your (Already Pretty Good) Spanish

My Top 10 Myths About Spain See how those lists get you a lot of views?!

 

What kinds of posts would you most like to see in the future?

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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?

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

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