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Hello Goodbye: The Spaniard’s Impressions of the US

15 Sep

Welcome to Massachusetts Little Spaniard!

The first time my boyfriend husband visited the US was last summer. He came for three weeks and it was the longest he’d ever been away from home. Luckily, he also came with an open mind, doubting that the images and stereotypes he’d seen in movies could possibly all be true, and was actually surprised to see that some really were (high school prom, red solo cups, beer pong tournaments…) But last summer was a whirlwind. In three weeks we visited over ten different cities and stocked our wardrobes at different outlet malls. We practically force fed ourselves to make sure to “try everything” and managed to gain about 10 pounds each!

This summer was different. Alejandro and I were in the US for three months, exactly eighty-eight days as to not overstay his ninety-day tourist status. Besides the initial wedding related tasks we didn’t have any set plans. As my last post details, we had a great and busy summer—we were very lucky see many amazing people and places. But three months is a long time… enough, I believe, to really get a feel for the living in the US (or, specifically, Massachusetts). I was curious what Ale thought about the experience, and if, honestly, he’ll miss anything about my home country.

So here, bored in Newark International Airport, I’m going to ask him some questions about the good old US of A, a country I both praise and criticize, run away from and then terribly miss. Will I regret his honestly? Let’s see…

Before coming here for the summer what were you most excited about?

I’d say was most excited about getting married and getting to know the culture of the US.

What were you afraid of?

I was scared of getting bored there, of not being able to communicate enough and of people misunderstanding me.

What did you find you missed most from Spain beside family and friends?

I didn’t miss much… it was only three months! If anything the weather, the beach, the tapas bars, and maybe staying out late because in Spain people usually stay out much later (probably because of the weather)!

Did anything shock you about American culture?

The patriotism. I think American people are prouder of their country and they show that in many ways: 4th of July, the national anthem at sports games… Also the consumerism. You can definitely see that here. People buy many things that they don’t actually need since they have the opportunity to get them at such a cheap price. I thought that here everything was going to be more expensive than in Spain but, although the quality of life here is higher, it’s still easy to find cheap products.

What’s something Spain could learn from the US?

Businesses could learn how to offer better customer service with or without raising their prices. They would make more profits this way. People could also learn to be more respectful towards other cultures. At least in Massachusetts (which is the only state I know) people are really accepting of other cultures.

And vice-versa?

The US could make better public transportation options and should work to make cities more energy efficient.

What were the best foods you tried in the US?

Hmm… what come to mind are clam chowder, eggs benedict, and homemade burgers, but I’m sure I tried other things I loved and just don’t remember!

Were there any American stereotypes you found to be either very true or very false?

The idea that American people are cold is false. American people were so friendly once you knew them and so polite if you didn’t. It is true that Americans are consumerists. People are always buying! It’s also false that Americans don’t know how to eat… American’s love food so they have much more variety and options.

What are you going to miss about the summer?

I’ll miss staying in a big house with a huge yard, your father grilling burgers and your mother baking. I’ll also miss the beautiful places like Cape Cod and Maine. I won’t miss always being in the car though…

Do you love your in-laws? Just kidding, I know he does!

Well, there you have it. I wrote this in Newark but I’m posting it from Cadiz! Home at last? Kind of… Tomorrow I’ll post some pictures of our welcome feast—I love Andalucía!

A Nostalgic Look At Summer

9 Sep Cape Cod Bay

As summer winds down and the nights turn cold I can’t help but feel a bit sad. After all, one might say that this was the most important summer of my life. I got married (twice), made the decision to move to Spain for good (well, for now), and I probably spent my last summer living unemployed at my parent’s house (I hope). I was nervous about this summer– would the weddings go okay? Would Ale and I get along with my parents all summer? Would I go crazy without my own car or summer job? Luckily everything turned out perfectly. The summer flew by. I got my much needed dose of the US… which I believe will do me good this coming year. Being home has allowed me to enjoy all of the things I miss when I’m away, while subtly reminding me of everything I don’t, once again proving that the grass is always greener on the other side. 

I’m ready to go back. I don’t know what awaits me there (besides my in-laws who have been missing us terribly and will be thrilled to see us)! This summer has allowed me to reevaluate and remember that every place has its good and bad. I look forward to returning to my adopted country, moving to its capital, and making a name for myself somehow. I accept that the paperwork will probably take longer than I think, that our apartment may cost more than we’re budgeting for, and that things will go wrong, but it’s okay.

I’m so thankful to everyone who has been a part of my life this summer– those who have welcomed Ale to the US, invited us over, shared advice, and supported our decisions. It’s because of all of the amazing friends and family that we had such an unforgettable summer. Take a look!

My official summer started on May 31st when my family arrived in Spain for my Spanish Wedding.

Combining Cultures

Soon enough Ale and I were exchanging vows on June 3, 2011 in Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain.

Photo by Amazing María Benitez

But the events didn’t stop after the wedding as I showed my group of guiris around Andalucía.

Guiri Guide for the Day

My niece liked the view from the Cathedral in Seville

Like any good guide, I made sure to introduce them to Spanish food.

We weren't in Galicia but it was still delicious...

And, in Jerez, Spanish drink too!

Christopher Lamb's Amazing Sherry Bar

After my family left Ale and I headed to Zaragoza where he was finishing a job.

Basilica in Zaragoza

Jelly Candies at the Medieval Fair

 

Another View of the Basilica

Where Ale Works

Recently arrived to the US, Ale and I headed to Maine for 4th of July with friends.

The Rocky Shores of Maine

Delicious Donuts

Before Ale tipped his kayak

Sunset before 4th of July Fireworks

Before our second wedding, we both celebrated our semi-singleness…

Ale's Bachelor Day (I wasn't allowed)

My Bachelorette (Ale wasn't allowed!)

And of course we did more G rated activities too.

It wouldn't have been complete without a ball game

And soon enough it was time for the big event.

Pre wedding fun at the Sam Adam's Brewery

Time for Wedding Number 2

This time with an American style wedding cake!

And after the wedding the vacation didn’t stop.

Spending the day in Western Massachusetts

Beautiful Shelbourne Falls

A Weekend in Cape Cod

And finally, as a vacation from our vacation, our summer wouldn’t have been complete without a honeymoon! Playa del Carmen, Mexico turned out to be just perfect.

Our First of Many Trips to the Caribbean (Hopefully!)

Serenaded During Dinner

Me, obviously impressed by that little fish!

Now we only have a few days left to cram in as many visits as possible and to pack our lives away into 4 or 5 suitcases… if we don’t see you know we’ll miss you lot’s, care packages are always welcome, and Madrid is only a short flight away!

 

 

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