Going from expat to immigrant is a big step. I know a few different people who have applied for Spanish citizenship (or are going to). Some of them have received it. A fellow blogger, Zach from Not Hemingway’s Spain, detailed this process on his blog. This post, along with learning about other long-term expats’ desires to apply for Spanish citizenship, got me thinking—what is the difference between what I’m doing and what they’re doing?
Moving to Spain has taught me a lot. It’s made me fluent in Spanish. I’ve learned how to navigate the metro system and bureaucracy. I’ve learned how to make foods I miss: crackers and peanut butter and Ranch dip. (Though I still long for bottled Ranch dressing and cottage cheese.) But more importantly, I’ve become a more-independent, self-assured person. I found my media naranja. I came to terms with just how important my home country is to me.
A lot of us experienced changes when we moved here. You feel me, auxiliares (and former auxiliares)? We learned just how little we knew about English grammar and Spanish slang. But we’ve also learned to love new foods. Thus, I asked some of you what foods you’ve learned to love since moving to Spain. Your answers were fun to read, and I’m listing them here.
I don’t know about you, but in my high school we learned Mexican/South-American Spanish. Now there’s nothing wrong with this (except for the part we totally skipped a tense [vosotros]), but when I decided to study abroad in Spain, I knew I wanted to learn Spain Spanish (Castilian Spanish). Only one problem: I didn’t know any Spaniards, nor had I entered the wonderful world of blogs. So I came to Spain in 2008 with very little knowledge of colloquial Castilian Spanish.
But you? No need to worry—I’ve got you covered. Here are some of my favorite ways to sound totally guay in Spain:
In March of 2001, Spain’s then-Minister of Defense Federico Trillo, made a huge announcement: “Señoras y señores, se acaba la mili.” My husband, Mario, was then in his first year of university, studying translation and interpretation—he hadn’t had to do the formerly obligatory military service, nor had his brother. As for me, Spain was the last thing on my mind: I was in eighth grade and planning on taking Japanese, not Spanish!
But for over 200 years, Spain’s young men were expected to their duty and spend just over a year in the military, ever since King Carlos III introduced conscription in 1770 (the idea came before him, however). He issued an order in which one in five young men of military age would be conscripted. These names would be drawn from a list, a census, of young men.
And so it was for a long time. Although my husband and his brother were not affected, my father-in-law did indeed serve. I decided to interview him. When I sent him a list of a few brief questions, he replied with a four-page document. (He is nothing if not diligent and studious!) I will include his answers in Spanish, which I will then translate for my non-Spanish-speaking readers, of which I have a few.
¿Con qué edad tenías que alistarte?How old were you when you had to sign up [for the military]?
Wait, what? I thought this thing was the other way around? … You are right, my dear reader, you are right. But when one of my former interviewees, Kate, contacted me about doing a reverse interview, I thought, “Why not?” So I sent her boyfriend, Jorge, an interview, and he graciously filled it out for me. Kate blogs at Kate in Spain.
Now, I conducted the interview with Jorge in Spanish, because I believe writing/speaking in one’s native tongue allows one to be more forthright and expressive. So, I’ll be including his answers in Spanish and translating them as best I can.
¡Muchas gracias por hacer la entrevista! (Thank you for agreeing to do the interview!)
Por favor, preséntate. (Please introduce yourself.)
Hola! Me llamo Jorge y vivo en León. Soy profesor de música en un instituto de la ciudad y enseño violín por las tardes.
Hello! My name is Jorge and I live in León. I am a music teacher in a city high school and I teach violin in the afternoons.
It’s Mario’s hometown. What can I say? I first went there to meet Mario’s family.
I have a thing for the underdog. How many articles have been written about Barcelona (ugh)? Or Madrid? Or Santiago de Compostela, as much as I may love it? But there’s something about the not-so-popular spots that resonate with me. There’s an authenticity still there, because tourists are few and far between.
With that in mind, following a fellow blogger’s lead, I’d like to show you all a few things to see, eat, and do in Zamora, starting with the see part.
I’m beginning to think the American men dating Spanish women are a rare breed, because I’m back today with another interview of an American woman dating a Spanish man. These don’t get old for me, because every one of my interviewees has had something new and different to add to the conversation. Let’s let our newest subject introduce herself.
I’m Chelsea, I am 26 years old and I’m in Spain for the wine. Just kidding (sort of). I first came to Spain for a summer program in college in 2009. I fell in love with the country and was determined to come back, so I applied for a Fulbright grant and surprisingly won! Without the push of the grant as well as the prestige and free airfare that came with it, I’m not sure I really would have gone through with it! I made the official move in September 2010.
Oh yes, we’re back with my famousSo You’re Dating a Spaniard blog series. I haven’t been super creative lately, and I’d like to blame that on the fact that Mario and I have been watching (rewatching for me) season after season of Breaking Bad. (Spoiler alert: best series ever.) But that’s okay, because it gives me a chance to feature more of you all who are dating more Spaniards. Onward! Today I’m featuring Paige, who blogs atThe Town Mouse. Let’s get started!
Hi, my name is Paige and I’m a 24-year-old Texan now living in Madrid. My first taste of Spain was in 2010 when I studied abroad in Seville. After graduating college in 2011, I was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Madrid. One year turned into two, and now I’ll be starting my third year in Spain. Although my life has changed a lot from days and nights spent roaming the streets of Seville, my love and curiosity for Spain keeps growing.
How did you meet your boyfriend? All the juicy details please!
“Chicos, hay que colorear bien,” groused the English teacher as she corrected workbooks and tried to wave off Elsa, who was always hovering around her desk like an extremely hyperactive bee. La profe had just finished reprimanding Andrés, who had dared to color a door pink.
“Doors can’t be pink! Think about it, Andrés! Seriously, what color are doors?” she had asked him, as the little boy with the bowl cut and wide brown eyes stared shamefaced at the floor. Andrés, along with his equally adorable best friend, Kike, was the star of the class—he never spelled “thirteen” as “threeteen” or told me “I have six years old.” But today he had dared to color a door pink!