La Familia and Independence

Ah, la familia. Mothers and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Cousins, aunts, uncles. Grandparents. Godmothers and godfathers. “Aunts” and “uncles”. The friends who feel like family. In Spain, there is a saying, or perhaps more of a refrain: Madre, sólo hay una. You have but one mother. If I’ve learned anything about Spain—and oh, there is much to learn—family is important. And mothers … well, you’ve only got one.

The stereotypes are (somewhat) true: Spanish children don’t leave the nest as early as those of us in Anglo-Saxon countries. The average age for leaving home in Spain is 25.2 years old (source). This is not seen in a bad light here; it isn’t shameful. In fact, even if a 20-something does have a job, they may choose to stay at home with Mom and Dad, just because they can. After all, why pay rent when you can stay at home rent free?


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1 Year Later

Right about this time last year—July 7, 2012—Mario and I were married in a small church called San Cipriano in his hometown of Zamora. It was a small, lovely ceremony filled with the people we love most (the Spain ones, anyway), as well as my parents, my brother Seth, and sister-in-law Colleen. It was one of the best days of my life, and I’ll never forget the joy I felt all day long.

Si Quiero

Happy anniversary, mi amor! Te quiero!

Want to read more? Check out some other entries about our wedding:

Just Married

We’re leaving for Italy today, a honeymoon I’d only imagined in my dreams.

Venice canal

First stop: Venice

The wedding was also a dream: chaotic, beautiful, loud, and full of laughter and dancing, which are the same things, really.



I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day, a better man, a more loving family (Spanish or American).


See you after Italy! Blogging and honeymoons that involve Venice, Florence, and Rome don’t really mix …

Happy Belated Father’s Day

In case you didn’t know, yesterday was Father’s Day in Spain. Happy Father’s Day to all the Spanish dads (and the American dads living in Spain)!

I wrote a post once called Why You Should Have a Spanish Mother-in-Law. Read it—I talk about Mario’s mother, how great she is, and how much she worries about me. (I almost hate to cause her that worry, but it does make me feel loved.) Anyway, I got to thinking, and it seems that Mario’s father deserves a post because he, too, is wonderful.

Overlooking Lago de Sanabria

Mario and his dad, Jesús, are similar in many ways. They are both intelligent, passionate learners, avid readers, and generous, kind people. They are both golosos (they have a huge sweet tooth). They never pass up a chance to eat dessert. I would say that Jesús wins this one, though; I think I’ve seen Mario refuse dessert a time or two. Jesús? Um, no. At a wedding we all attended last June, after a huge meal, he gleefully recounted how he hate not only his (very rich) dessert, but also those of two other people sitting at his table. Typical. I really love it when he brings out the cookie box after every meal—Mario’s mother, Pepita, is always rolling her eyes. Again, typical.

Jesús is a high school teacher, although he teaches middle-school-age kids really. In Spain, high school includes both middle-school and high-school-age kids. He teaches geography, and he knows basically everything there is to know about Spain. Also, everything. I still remember the first time I went to Mario’s house in Zamora to meet his family. There we were, for some reason discussing wine and vines, and there was a word that no one knew. His cousin told me something along the lines of , “Well, no one knows that word.” But guess what—Jesús did. Typical.

Learning about Sanabria

Teaching me about Sanabria.

Last year, after my day at the local high school, I would often go over there for lunch, even if Mario wasn’t there. For some reason, I think Jesús was glad of this. After a full day of teaching, he got yet another student: me. He loves to teach me, and I love it, too. You see, Mario and his brother, Víctor, have heard it all. They’re always telling him, “I know, Papá.” Well, I don’t know, so he gets to tell me. And tell me he does, often with millions of details I’ll never recall in two hours. Nonetheless, I enjoy it immensely. He also enjoys teaching me Spanish words. I’ve stopped telling him if I already know them, just because he enjoys telling me so much. Also: he’s really funny and always ready with a joke, no matter if you think it’s lame. (I never do!)

Monte la Reina Wine Tasting

I have some really great parents, parents who always support me, parents who loved me immensely since the day I was born, parents who have gone to Spain twice to see me (and are going again in July!). Yet I am so lucky, because I get another set of my parents—mis suegros—who love me, who worry about me, who make me amazing food … the best set of suegros I could have ever asked for.

Happy (Belated) Father’s Day to Jesús: ¡eres el mejor!

Spanish Father in Law Wedding