Indiana

Mis Impresiones de una High School

One of the things I was looking forward to doing when my in-laws visited was taking my father-in-law to my old stomping grounds—my former high school. It was inaugurated in 1992, and it has the second-largest swimming pool in the state (!), so—I’ll admit it—I thought he might be impressed. As a former high-school teacher himself, he found everything interesting and remarkable (as in, something upon which to remark).

Afterwards I asked him if he would write up his impressions of the visit. He sent me back a very professional-looking document. If I were a teacher, I’d give him an A+, or in Spain’s system, a matrícula de honor. First I’m going to let you read what he wrote in Spanish (if you can), and then I’ll translate it at the end.

Graduation Crawfordsville High School

Graduating from my high school

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The Spanish-American Wedding—Part 2

Mario and I will be having our stateside wedding reception today. (As I write this, it is Monday, and I am only slightly freaking out about all I have left to do.)

This time, it’ll be held at a small country club in my hometown in Indiana. I’m a Hoosier born and bred, and Mario knows (and loves!) this about me. I’m very excited to share our love and happiness with my friends and family this time, along with Mario’s parents and brother.

I suppose I’m very lucky to have another opportunity to celebrate meeting my half orange.

Half Orange

Spain or the US? The Ever-Present Question.

I prefer here. I don’t want to admit it, especially on the Internet (what with its permanence and omnipresence), but it’s true. For most of the year, I live in Spain, in Europe. And I prefer it here.

Kaley Shades State Park

But I want to say something, and I want it to be crystal clear: I think that my preference is okay.

I think that what I want doesn’t insult Spain or people who love it or even Spaniards themselves. My cousin(-in-law?) told me she understood me, that she would find it hard to live so far from everyone she has ever known, especially as she grew older.

I think that sometimes we get our priorities confused, we start believing that certain desires are truer than others, that no one could possibly prefer this to that, here to there, and if they do—they’re “wrong.” But I believe that no person is right in their desires, because desires are just that—desires. There’s no wrong or right when it comes to one’s preferences. But sometimes we start thinking that preferring a life in the States is just too simple—and perhaps therefore “wrong”—and that we shouldn’t. Maybe others would judge us for hoping to live out our years in Indiana or Chicago or South Carolina rather than Madrid or Paris or Rome. I’m sure some do, but it’s time to step forward and tell the world my true feelings: I want to live in the US. And so does Mario.

I grew up in Indiana. Indiana is, quite often, boring. There are a lot of cornfields; there aren’t a lot of art houses. Kids who grow up in my town can’t wait to get out, and a lot of them only find out in college what they always took for granted. This happened to me.

Going to college changed me. I left my hometown and found myself at Indiana University in Bloomington, a liberal oasis in a decidedly conservative state. There I found art and culture, delicious ethnic food, international friends, and myself. It was there I realized I wanted to step outside of the box and live in another country. I knew then that following the “typical life plan” wasn’t for me—at least not so soon. And so I went to Spain. It was there, ironically, that I realized I wouldn’t mind being a Hoosier forever, that I was patriotic, and that what I wanted didn’t always line up with my fellow Americans in Spain.

Of course, meeting and subsequently marrying Mario, a Spaniard, complicated things. We don’t choose who we love. That certainly was the case for me. I was sent off to Spain with strict warnings not to meet anyone, and I had no plans to do so. But Mario and I found each other anyway, and we stayed together because we were meant to be together. He was the one for me, and I the one for him—that much has always been clear.

Kaley Florence Ponte Vecchio

Where we would end up, will end up, has not.

Right now, Mario is lucky enough not to be one of the 25% of Spaniards who are unemployed. He found a job during a devastating economic crisis—in Madrid. And thus the decision was almost made for us: Spain for now, but who knows about later? We have our hopes and plans, but reality is often bigger and better and messier than our dreams.

Kaley Mario Cordoba

Summer in the USA

I made it! On Thursday morning, I woke up to the news that my flight to New York (JFK) had been delayed four hours, and I would probably miss my connecting flight to Chicago. As you can imagine, I was quite—shall we say—perturbed by said news. Nonetheless, I made my way to Barajas, only to stand in the check-in line for an hour and forty-five minutes! One hour and forty-five minutes. Incredible! Somehow, we made it to JFK by 4:05, and as my connecting flight was set to leave at 5:05, I booked it as fast as I could. Thank goodness for fast-track passes that allow those with flights leaving within the hour to get through customs. I arrived at the gate at 4:55, triumphant but sweaty, and I immediately texted my parents, who were, as it were, standing by, just in case I did make it. And they met me in Chicago three hours later! A happy ending indeed.

The first things I do when I get home are …

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  • … relish falling asleep to the sound of crickets, rather than my neighbors’ television.
  • … wear sweatpants to the grocery store. Because I can.
  • … order two or three refills at all restaurants, even if it’s just water.
  • … take the dog out on a long walk.
  • … text message everyone because now I don’t have to beg them to get Whatsapp.
  • … wake up at 8 a.m., even though I can sleep in, because of jet lag.
  • … immediately have my Spanish-speaking skills regress. It’s amazing how fast this happens!
  • … eat cottage cheese and Ranch dressing. But not together (ew)!
  • … sit out on my porch and watch an amazing sunset.
  • … drive my car, and realize (for the umpteenth time) that it really is akin to riding a bike. You don’t forget. I actually go into auto-drive mode incredibly quickly.
  • … relish the fact that I get to see people I know, but hate the fact that I see people from high school with whom I really don’t want to have an awkward encounter.
  • … miss Mario, but not Madrid’s unrelenting heat.

What is going home like for you?