In our guest room a flag hangs from the wall above the bed. No, not a yellow and red flag; this one is red, white, and blue. You know—the stars and stripes. My dad bought Mario this flag to remind him where he should (eventually) settle down. My dad would like it very much if we moved back to the US, preferably yesterday. It has a prominent place in our home, this flag. Why?
Vacationing in Sevilla
We live in Spain. We carry out the day-to-day of our lives, of our life, in Spain. We speak in Spanish and eat Spanish food. Yes, we do all this, all this Spanish stuff. We are Spanish.
But though we reside in Spain, we dream about living in the States too. We speak in English and watch American TV shows and movies. I make brownies and cookies and other American dishes. So we are also American.
In reality, he is Spanish. Born and raised in the heart of Castilla y León, with family roots that go back centuries, Mario is as Spanish as they come. Zamorano, really. His dark hair and eyes betray him. His telltale accent, his pronunciation of the z and c in the true castellano accent, his love for lentejas and cocido and jamón and tortilla, his concern for his parents never to worry unnecessarily … he is Spanish.
He is Spanish, and I am American. I speak English with the typical accent of many modern Americans, an accent that is almost impossible to pinpoint. I don’t worry about my parents worrying. I like basketball much more than football (soccer), and I don’t really enjoy eating a big meal at two o’clock in the afternoon. It still surprises me when children are out past 9 p.m., especially on weeknights.
Though we feel as Spanish and American as they come, we also love each other and each other’s culture too. So together we make our own culture, a third culture: a Spanish-American culture. We make stupid jokes: “Sweetie foot” (because pie means foot in Spanish) or “Estoy espalda” (literally “I am [a] back”). We eat tortilla for dinner and chocolate-chip cookies for dessert. We watch the Simpsons in Spanish.
We also compromise, just like any other couple, bicultural or not. We decide on the best way to clean the house. We let each other get away with things. We do things that don’t seem logical to us at times, but we do it because it’s important to the other person. I may or may not vacuum an insane amount of times per week.