Today is October 1st, and that is significant for two reasons:
1) Mario’s been at his job—the job that brought us to Madrid—for one year now. Yipee, hooray, and all that stuff.
2) Four years ago, I started dating him.
Our first date, our first picture!
Okay, it wasn’t technically deportation, but I wasn’t allowed into Spain.
In 2009, I was blissfully unaware of all things Schengen. I came over to Spain in September to work a campus organization at the University of Salamanca. Before coming over, my then-future employers had advised me not to worry about a visa, as it “had never been a problem before.”
Famous last words.
It’s autumn 2009. There is a slight chill in the air, and we are walking up my favorite street in Salamanca. It is a long climb, this street, one that leads to the cathedral, which reigns atop the hill like a mighty king. I huff and puff as Mario talks. I love the way he talks: his rolled Rs, his throaty jotas. But when he utters an unfamiliar word, I stop him. I’m 22, going on my second year in Spain, the world is at my feet, but I still have so much to learn—from him, from Spain, from everyone and everything. And so we’ve become accustomed to this: him speaking, me interrupting, him explaining, and then returning to the topic at hand. Listening to him was much more than just getting to know (and love) him; I was learning about Spanish and Spain at the same time.
What is it about living or working in Spain that piques so many people’s curiosity? Is it the fact that it’s European (and therefore cosmopolitan)? Is it the fact that so many of us have studied Spanish in high school? Is it the fact that it’s so far from home?
I’m not sure, but I can tell you one thing: people have questions about it! Some questions can annoy me, but most of the time I love getting questions about my life in Spain!