It’s been a while, but I’m finally back with Diane, yet another American dating a Spaniard! It seems to be the thing to do nowadays, I suppose. I’m very excited to have her on the blog. Diane blogs at California to Catalunya. Welcome, Diane! Introduce yourself for us.
I’m Diane, I’m 23 years old and I’m from San Diego, California. I’ve been living in Spain for 2 years now. I studied a masters here and have been working as an English nanny and doing social media marketing.
How did you meet your significant other and how long have you been together?
I went to college to study architecture in Washington DC. I had the opportunity to do a semester abroad in Barcelona to study the architecture and party scene. A San Diego friend had studied at my Spaniard’s school the year before and was dating a friend of his. She made him take me out on the first date and meet all of his single friends. They all seemed like nice guys as we left the cocktail bar Alejandro stepped forward and asked if he could be my tour guide the next day. I said yes as I had no plans and classes wouldn’t start for another week. We hung out each day for the next 6 months. I had to go back to college in DC to finish, but after graduation I moved back to Barcelona.
Do you feel that your significant other is a “typical” Spaniard?
Catalans, the people from in and around Barcelona, generally regard themselves as fancier and better than the rest of Spain’s population. In this way my Spaniard is not typical, he does not identify with the Catalan trendy movement of forming their own country. He is almost always late and does like taking naps, in these ways he follows the Spanish stereotypes. He is a great cook, in that way he’s quite Spanish too.
Which language do you speak when you’re together?
We mainly speak in English. It’s the language we met speaking and it has been very hard to switch to Spanish, but we try to go back and forth to help my Spanish level improve. His Catalan, Spanish and English are completely perfect. I still struggle with Spanish.
How do you deal with the “in-law” issue?
His family is great and we get along great. They take us to lunch each weekend. The first year I moved here my family came out at Christmas to meet his family and all went well. The next summer his family came to San Diego and we all had a great summer together. It took a while to convince them Alejandro and I will have more opportunities in America, but now they are okay with us moving.
What is the best part about dating a foreigner (and especially a Spaniard)?
Being engaged to a Spaniard brings along a lot of challenges and differences. But you also get a lot of additional cultural benefits. Enjoying his culture and getting to live here in Spain has been a great part of dating him. You really get to appreciate the Spanish culture when you experience it with a local. Enjoying Barcelona and getting to know each detail of the city is the best part.
What is the most difficult part?
The most difficult part would be the adapting to the Spanish way of life. If you want anything done efficiently of in a timely matter this is simply not the country for it. I have gained a lot of patience here which helps a lot living here and dating a Spaniard.
What advice would you give someone who is considering starting a relationship with a Spaniard?
Be prepared to live in Spain and study your Spanish! Get ready to become fluent and work hard to get there! Be patient with your Spaniard, they’re warm hearted and mean well, but their passion can sometimes get confused and misinterpreted. Be prepared to be lost in translation.
Do you plan on living in the US or in Spain long term?
We plan to move to California later this year. The economy in Spain is pretty bad and we feel we can both find better jobs in America. We hope to come back once the country is a bit more stable.
Do you plan on having children? If so, do you plan on raising them bilingual?
Yes to kids and yes to raising them to be bilingual. Maybe even a little Catalan, if we’re living in Barcelona. I will talk to them in English and Alejandro in Spanish.
If you could import something from the US to Spain (and vice versa), what would it be?
Peanut butter is seriously lacking here in Spain. I get all of my guests who have come to visit (about 27) to bring me a jar. I miss it so much. When I’m in America I miss the slow pace, afternoon coffees, desserts for breakfast and all the tapas. It’s impossible to get good jamón in America and that needs to change. I miss the pan con tomate that you get used to having at every meal.
How has being in a relationship with a Spaniard changed you?
Dating a Spaniard has made me a much more laid back and relaxed person. I never thought in a million years I would move around the world for someone for love, but here I am. Dating Alejandro really made me reconsider my priorities, happiness is certainly now the most important thing.