Blogging Break

Dearest readers, I’ve not been writing much lately. I sometimes feel guilty, but feeling guilty for not writing on the Internet is perhaps the silliest of reasons. I don’t owe anyone, and I don’t think blogging when you don’t feel like it is doing anyone any favors. I have been asking myself why, though. Why don’t I feel like posting picture of Asturias or Zamora or Spanish Christmas celebrations?

The reason, I suppose, is I feel I don’t have anything novel to contribute to the conversation. I have always thought that if my blog could offer up a different perspective on Spain or being in a relationship with a Spaniard, I should write. After all, I get emails from women who ask me about this quite a lot. Maybe I’m also an object of curiosity to those who only wish they could snag a Spanish guy. (It’s not a secret, but Spanish men are officially just like any other man.)

There are many things we’re going through right now, though, things which I can’t write about, for myriad reasons. There are some things I keep off  here! Okay, a lot of things, really.

As a season of our lives draws to a close, I’m appreciating things about my life in Spain more and more, and here’s a list of the good:

My Spanish family. Of course they’re at the top of the list. I’ve got a pretty rockin’ Spanish family. My MIL is a phenomenal cook and deeply cares about me. My FIL is hilarious and always has an amusing anecdote from el pueblo to share with me. That’s just to start. But I love knowing I’m a part of this whole other unit, across the ocean from where I was born. And to think our children will have this fascinating culture heritage from two different continents and ways of life. That’s something to be thankful for!

Going to tomar algo with dear friends. I love suggesting this to people and knowing that our choices of what algo will be will vary greatly, depending on the time of day. 1 p.m.? Let’s have a vermut and an aperitivo. 4 p.m.? Coffee. 6 p.m.? Perhaps a tonic water. 8 p.m.? Beer or a glass of wine with some tapas.

The food. Let’s face it, Spain has some pretty decent food. And if you have the prototypical Spanish mother-in-law, you’re in for a treat.

Walking along cobblestone streets. There’s just something about the old streets of Spain that I love.

The fact that I am pretty darn good at Spanish, after five years here. I get frustrated sometimes when I don’t get a joke or can’t follow along with absolutely everything that’s being said, but then I remind myself that the Spaniards around me don’t modify their speech or speak slowly or explain everything to me, because they know I get it, most of the time. And I only have to ask if I don’t.

Knowing the real Spain. A lot of expats don’t get to experience Spain’s heart. They live in Madrid and take vacations to other cities, but they don’t find themselves at a family barbecue in a village with 50 inhabitants. They don’t set out their shoes on Three Kings’ Day and wake up to find them covered by presents. They don’t sit down at 2:30 p.m. every day to eat with their family. They don’t get adopted by any one for the long term. So I am truly grateful that, ever since I first ventured to my husband’s home town in November 2009 and ate cocido with the family, I’ve been able to know the true Spain and see it first hand.

We’ll see if this blogging thing takes again, but I want to wish all my faithful readers a happy 2015! Did the three kings bring you anything?

Spanish Christmas 3 Kings Day ShoesSpanish turrones ChristmasZamora Spain Christmas Viriato Plaza

Let’s Link—Week 6

Ah, vacation. Isn’t it great? I never choose to spend my Christmas holidays traveling, as many do, but instead I venture home every year in order to spend time with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and many more. (Mario stays in Spain to be with his family work.) This means I think less about blogging and more about baking Christmas cookies, watching IU basketball, and hanging out with my parents. Yeah, I’m that cool. Fortunately for me, I’ve had the opportunity to reunite with some close friends from high school. I haven’t laughed like that in a long time! It’s great to be with people who you really identify with. I’m beginning to see why I’m okay with not wanting to live in Spain forever.

Anyway, all that to say: let’s link! Are you ready for some thought-provoking bits of information? Of course you are!

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I really enjoy reading Janet Mendel’s blog. She writes about her kitchen and culinary adventures in southern Spain. Like me, she is a Midwesterner. She wrote about a traditional Spanish Christmas food I’d never heard of—the cardoon.

Cat wrote about her favorite Spanish Christmas traditions, which include Sevilla’s beautiful Christmas lights.

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Spanish Christmas Foods

Christmas is about food (among other things), and in Spain it’s no different: food is the perfect way to gather the family, sit down to a huge meal, and talk and drink for hours. What foods remind you of Christmas? For me, it would have to be turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pies, and Christmas cookies. Let’s not talk about eggnog, please. In Spain, things are a little different (as always).

Salamanca Spain Christmas

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What do Spaniards eat at Christmas?

Keeping in mind that this varies by household, here are some of what Mario’s family and friends along with my students here in Madrid eat for Christmas:

Seafood

Spain Christmas Prawns

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If you don’t know much about Spain, this may surprise you: Seafood? At Christmas? But yes, it’s true—seafood is one thing my students always mention when we talk about Christmas meals. Shrimp, prawns, octopus … you get the picture! Christmas and seafood, mariscos in Spanish, are not incompatible. Here in Spain, the selection is almost always fresh and good quality, so what’s not to love? Except if you’re an octopus hater like me.

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Let’s Link—Week 5

Hey all! I’ve been off the blogging radar for a while, but I’m back today with another links post. I can tell you are so pumped, because I am too!

Let's Link!

On Saying “Bye!” to Say “Hi!” When Passing Friends in Spain. Trevor, a fellow blogger in Spain, writes about how Spaniards greet one another on the streets. They don’t say hi; they say bye!

An American Neurotic in Paris. On Thanksgiving, expats tend to feel a bit out of place. This article in the New York Times’ opinion pages explains that feeling.

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