patriotism

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

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Spain Blogger Confessions

You all already know I’m not the starry-eyed Spain enthusiast that some bloggers are. I do like Spain, of course—I just take it in moderation. Some days enough gets to be enough. So I thought I’d confess a few things that you might not have surmised from my posts. It’s okay to be honest—really, we’re better off for it!

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Okay, Kaley, less “Blah, blah, blah” and more fun!

  • I don’t try everything. I don’t care how good you insist it is, I don’t want to try morro (snout) or criadilla (bull testicle) or oreja (ear). I’ve tried orejas already and never again!). If this makes me unadventurous, sue me.
  • I hate dubbing. I refuse to watch TV shows dubbed. In any language. Please, try to tell me that The Big Bang Theory is just as funny in Spanish. No. Just no. So yeah, this means I watch a lot of TV in English, which is bad for my Spanish learning. But I really don’t like Spanish TV or movies. Neither does Mario. 
  • I’m still patriotic. No, I’m not blindly patriotic. I understand the US has its flaws and is not God’s chosen country, but I still love my country and miss so many things about it—barbecues, the openness, the informality, the ease with which I navigated any and all social situations … en fin, so much!
  • I don’t idealize the Spanish lifestyle. Sure, Spain is known for relaxation, sun, and siestas. But the truth is, many Spaniards work endless days and get little to no rest. Nowadays the unemployment rate is sky high. I think that Spaniards definitely get it right with regards to enjoying food/drink, eating healthily, and walking, but they’re not perfect. They’re not inherently less lazy than Americans. They’re human—just like us.

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Spain + America = Success

  • I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. Sometimes (most of the time), I love blogging. I love the relationships it has created, the opportunities it has given me, the wonderful feedback I get from it. At others, I feel intimidated by other bloggers, worried that no one likes me, afraid that what I say will cause someone somewhere to become angry with me. I’m often envious of other bloggers’ success because I wish that I could achieve that same level of success without compromising any of my principles.

So, what about you—anything to confess? C’mon, spill it.

You Wanted Patty Mayonnaise

…but you found me instead.

Recently, a lot of people have arrived at my blog hoping to find something about my dear friend Patty Mayonnaise.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m most definitely not blonde, super thin, and prone to wearing polka dot shirts all day, everyday. Weird, I know. Sorry, I can’t be the Patty Mayonnaise to your Doug. I’m taken, anyway.

Let’s play a game called -

CAN YOU FIND IT ON KALEY Y MUCHO MÁS?

Seriously, now:

  • Patty Mayonnaise – NO! (Besides one funny picture)
  • Bilingual – YES! YES AGAIN!
  • Happy couple – YES!
  • Happy couples – YES!
  • Brújula – YES! (And – funnily enough – Mario just met his favorite person, Carlos Rodríguez Braun at an economics conference. He was smiling from ear to ear.)
  • Patriotism – Um, sure, sorta, kinda.
  • Kaley y mas – Here I am.
Are you joking?:
  • 5’11″ tall – Are you stalking me?
  • in castilian the j is like the h in hanukkah – You have to HAAAACK when you say it.
  • locker room nude – WTF?
  • angry mushroom Mario – Mushrooms don’t make my Mario angry.
  • saint bull – No words.
  • would you date a foreigner – Yes, I would…obvy. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues that go along with that.
  • why would you go to belgium – Waffles. Enough said.
Maybe my blog is helpful:
  • can you live in spain on 700 euros a month? - Um, yes. Just ask any of my fellow auxiliares
  •  speaking spanish outside the classroom – Check out this post. You nailed it, my friend.
  • fun spanish expressions – Check out my friend Cat’s blog post on this.
  • why am i never cool enough – You’ve never had Spanish wine or food. No more Eyetalian stuff.
  • no jobs zapatero – Well, can’t help you there.
One of my favorite things to do is find the things that were only searched for one time, like Homer Simpson pantsless. Yes, apparently that did indeed lead someone to a blog post I wrote about the Simpsons in Spain. However, I never mentioned Homer pantsless. It really is not something that appeals to me.
What are some funny search terms that lead people to your blog?