Spain or the U.S.?

I’ve never been a very black and white sort of person.

I’ve never gotten into the whole blind patriotism thing. I don’t think Bush or Obama is the reincarnation of Hitler. I’m wishy washy on immigration – it’s good in some ways, bad in others.

So when it comes time to decide in which country Mario and I should live, it’s totally not a black and white issue.

However, here’s the thing – and I’m gonna be a bit self-deprecating here – Mario is way better at adapting to and being cool with cultural differences. Plus, he likes the American way of life. But not marshmallows, so no s’mores. Minus one for him.

I’m the one who gets a little type A about the grocery store being closed on Sundays when I need something (whether it be Coke Zero or lettuce or yogurt). I don’t like sounding unintelligent, and I worry a lot about that happening in Spanish, although my always patient boyfriend reminds me this isn’t so.

Other stuff plays a factor, too.

  • The economy. [In my most sweetly Southern voice] God bless it.[/] Unemployment is unfathomably high for young people – something like 45% for those under thirty.
  • We both enjoy the American way of life more.
  • Opportunities here.
There’s more, but a lot of it is Mario accommodating me and being the bestguyever that he is. Thank goodness for that.
Nonetheless, I can’t say there’s stuff from Spain I won’t wish would come here. These include:
  • Jamón, salchichón, chorizo. Dang, I sound like a carnivore, don’t I?
  • Cheap red wine that tastes good.
  • Paseando, like I’ve written about in the past.
  • Mario’s family, who love and treat me like their daughter. They are the sweetest parents and they worry about me now, too. In some ways, I feel guilty about adding to their worries, but I’ve heard that’s just how Spanish parents are. 
  • The beautiful romanesque architecture of Zamora.
  • People who will pay me to speak English to them for an hour.
  • The adorable children’s clothes (for the far off future. Nobody get any ideas.)
  • La plaza mayor. I am a firm believer that the plaza mayors of Spain have something great to offer us all, and if they were here instead of there, I wouldn’t be seen as a the güiri tomando el sol with all the others.
  • Vespas. We need more of these. Not that I ever rode on one…
  • Intercambios. These are so common in Spain! I wish we had more of these, especially when I was in college. It would have been way more helpful than some of my classes.
  • Olive oil aisles in the grocery store. We have a cereal aisle – why not one for olive oil?
  • Shoe stores. You can never have enough – Spanish ladies get this.
  • Spanish abuelos sitting around with their amigos, chatting on the park bench.
Ahh, that would be the life. But since I doubt I’ll ever be a Spanish grandpa who goes off everyday at 1 PM to have a vermouth with his buds, I guess I settle for life here. With that guy you hear about in every. single. post.
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4 thoughts on “Spain or the U.S.?

  1. So you’re staying in the US to live, or staying in Spain?

    Girl…NOW is the time to live in Spain. You love it there!

    Have you considered being able to live in both places?

    Without going into too much job details, etc….you ARE a teacher, right? Summers off could really work for you to come back to the good old US of A and get your dose of Peanut butter and Smores. Or peanut butter smores! Mmmm.

    Either way, I’m so excited to hear all the adventures you will go on. I know a few American girl/Spanish guy couples and they ended up living in both places….America for a few years, then Spain for a few. The main couple I know lived in the US for about 4 years and then just, knew they had to go back to Spain after they got married to raise their children, which they ended up doing, and their children are now 12. :)

  2. The length of the pro-Spain list makes me doubt the “We both enjoy the American way of life more” line. If you both really do enjoy driving absolutely everywhere, eating lunch at noon, and the lack of bars and cobblestones, then that’s a HUGE factor in your choice of destination country. In the end, one family has to lose their son or daughter to another continent. The willingness and financial ability of that family to visit the other continent is also a factor.

    When people ask me if I miss my home country, I can honestly say that there are a few things that I miss (peanut butter and cheaper golf), but that I am perfectly content with my life in Spain. What can I say…I like a good 1 PM vermouth!

  3. Well said, Erik, and I agree (don’t play golf much anymore, but must say, the driving range a five-minute’s walk from my apartment in central Madrid means me playing golf is far more likely here). At the end of the day, you have to do whatever feels most comfortable for you and Mario. That said, I can easily say that after year one and two I too was ultra type A (particularly about the closed stores on Sundays!) and struggled with adapting. But slowly (very slowly) over time, those frustrations have disappeared, and now I can easily say that I rarely miss my lifestyle in the US. Spain is home and I hope it stays that way. Now if only my marido felt the same way – he wants to go to the US! We’ll see about that.

  4. Okay, I’m going to skew your demographics as I’m a little, ummm, older. But I have to say my immediate reaction to your post title and intro paragraph was the same as your friends. It doesn’t have to be either/or; life is much better when you try to think in terms of ‘and’. You might consider living in both countries as Siesta y Fiesta mentions, or where you can find work (for now). You may well build a life that is like a sweeping saga – several years here, a few years there, experiencing the best (and not so best) of many places. I was going to say that when you are younger you tend to be more willing to live ‘simpler’ (as in the $ isn’t as important), so you might factor that into the equation. Then again, look at how many people decide to escape the materialistic hamster-wheel in their lte 20s, 30s and so on. Bottom line, it can be win-win if you make it so.

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