Reflections of an Americana
Defining and refining my place in the world
As children, we often take for granted the many years of love and care we received from our parents. In fact, many of their memories, of our lives, we may not even remember. The sleepless nights, the countless diaper changes, our first steps, our first words… heck, they even taught us how to use a spoon! I won’t say that I never felt grateful or that I never said “thank you” or “I appreciate you”. I did say those things. However, I haven’t always told my parents all the things I am grateful for. So, on their 40th wedding anniversary, I would like to share with them, and all of you, some of the many things I am forever thankful for.
I was recently out with a girlfriend to “grab a quick drink” after work. She was visiting and I was eager to show her around my favorite neighborhood of Valencia, Ruzafa. We met at Ubik Café, a hip, family-friendly cafe/bar/restaurant with book lined walls, friendly waitstaff, craft beers, cozy vibe, and generally busy with the buzz of friends chatting over coffee and snacks. Oh yeah, and wine for 2,50€ a glass. Sounds fun already, right?
When traveling, it is common for tourists to want to “fit in” like the locals at their destination country. Before embarking on our travels, we study up on the destination country by familiarizing ourselves with the proper clothing attire, learning a few words of the language, finding out about popular dishes, and highlighting the most famous sightseeing spots in our guidebook. However, no matter how much we learn on google, pin on Pinterest, or ask questions to others who have traveled to the country, it is inevitable that we will stand out as a tourist once we have arrived. After living in Spain for a year and a half, I have accepted the fact that I am still “an Americana living in Spain”. I am guilty of making each and every one of these mistakes and have been called out by the locals (my friends and family). With that said, I feel I am an expert on “How to Stand out as a Tourist in Spain”.
You’re eating what?! When?!
Since living in Spain I have come to realize that there are quite a few rules related to food consumption. I’m not sure how, but what spaniards eat, and when, has been deeply engrained into their culture. I am often met with a great deal of confusion, and even what appears to be disgust, when I place an order somewhere. I always seem to be getting it wrong. Wrong time. Wrong combination. Wrong order. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
13 new expectations I have since living in Spain
Living in Spain has changed many of my perspectives on life. I have explored the practice of embracing the unknown. I have taken advantage of the chance to learn about my own cultural vulnerability. I listen more. I treasure the opportunity to be present in this unique experience of living abroad.
One major change I have noticed is my shift in expectations since living in Spain. Some of these expectations are specific to Valencia and others are related to being married to a Spaniard, but nevertheless, all are related to my new life in Spain.
A celebration of life, in a moment of loss
Last night I attended a mass to celebrate something I was not prepared to celebrate. A celebration of a life. The life of a mother. The mother of the love of my life. The grandmother to our son that will be arriving in less than two months. The mother who gave me a sense of “home” in Spain.