So You’re Dating a Spaniard—Jamie

Hi all! So ironically—if I’m using the word correctly, and I’m never quite sure I am—when I stopped blogging regularly, my stats started booming! I blame Pinterest, but I can’t be sure … Nonetheless, I’d love to start blogging more regularly, at least so you all can listen to my husband’s complaints about drivers in the U.S.! (They are hilarious.) To tide you over, please read this interview with Jamie, who blogs at Belleville to Barcelona.

Dating a Spaniard Jamie

Hi!  My name is Jamie and I am from a small town in southern Illinois called Belleville.  It is right across the river from St.Louis, Missouri.  I turned 26 in October, right before I left to come back here to Barcelona for the second time.  I landed here for my first time in October 2012, took a TEFL course, and started working right away.  Obviously, I fell in love, with both teaching and my Spainard.  :) After working and living the typical Barcelona lifestyle for a full year, I decided I had to return home to see my family.  I stayed home for a full year and then packed my bags up again and here I am! This time around I’ve been here for 5 months so all together in Spain- 1 year and 5 months!

How did you meet your significant other and how long have you been together?

Carles and I met in the cheapest and smelliest hostel in London you could possibly imagine.  The crazy part is we were both living and working in Barcelona at the time and I was on my first ever Eurotrip with one of my best friends from college and he (last minute) booked a trip there to go for 5 days by himself and practice his English.  When we returned to Barcelona in January we did language exchanges together and hung out frequently- just as friends.  This went on for a few months and in March he moved into a 4 bedroom apartment with me and 2 other girls and again we were still just friends.  It wasn’t until May of 2013 we decided to make it official.. With that being said, we have been together for 2 years.
Dating a Spaniard Jamie

Do you feel that your significant other is a “typical” Spaniard?

In some ways—yes, he is a Spaniard through and through … In other ways he couldn’t be farther from a “typical” Spaniard.  For example, I swear he has to take a siesta every day he is not working even if he isn’t tired.. It’s just in his blood. He loves paella, jamón, and bocadillos and could eat them every day if he could.  He grew up playing soccer and was the captain of his team the last few years.  On the other hand, he is never too bothered when the Barca games are on and is open to moving and not staying around his small village where he is from.  He travels all over the world with me and is constantly wanting to see and do more.  He LOVES everything related to the states and would much rather wear a St.Louis Cardinals baseball jersey than a Barca one any day.  I think he really has developed the “best of both worlds” when it comes down to it.

Which language do you speak when you’re together?

When we met, we started talking in English because my level of Spanish was pretty terrible.  As we spent more time together and lived with two other girls who only spoke English—we were primarily speaking English. Now, as this is my second time around here, we are trying to speak more Spanish to improve my level but like everyone says, it’s hard to switch completely from the language you started speaking in.  Step by step!
Dating a Spaniard Jamie

How do you deal with the “in-law” issue?

Joan and Olga are amazing!  I have met them multiple times and can honestly say they treat me as one of their own, even though we are so different and don’t speak the same languages.  As they are from here; their first language is Catalan but of course switch to Spanish when I am around.  We have lunch with them usually every other Sunday and this past Christmas I was fortunate enough to get to spend it with them.  It was wonderful getting to experience a true Catalan Christmas!

What is the best part about dating/being married to a foreigner (and especially a Spaniard)?

You are constantly (and I mean constantly) learning something new.  Whether it is simply a new word in Spanish (or Catalan in my case) or a whole new tradition and way of life.. There are always things to be shared with one another.  Also you are welcomed into a whole new culture which is amazing in itself… Your eyes are opened to so many new things and it makes you appreciate it even more having your Spaniard (or foreigner) there to help guide you.
Dating a Spaniard Jamie

What is the most difficult part?

With cultural differences … comes some type of miscommunication at times.  There have been moments where one of us isn’t able to fully express what we want to say in the other language and this can be frustrating but with time and lots of patience.. Everything always works itself out!  Especially now after being together for 2 years, we hardly ever experience this anymore.

What advice would you give someone who is considering starting a relationship with a Spaniard?

Be patient! Also be very flexible because maintaining a relationship from opposite sides of the world can be tough at times… If you have to do long distance at any point like we did. But get ready for an amazing experience, unlike any you have had before!
Dating a Spaniard Jamie

Do you plan on living in the US or in Spain long term?

Bear with me because this question brings up a lot of different scenarios for us. Now it’s much easier for us to live and work in Spain; however, we love the U.S., and of course my family is there, so we plan to go back before too long and start our lives in the states together.  But after we have children and they are old enough to remember, we would like to come back here to allow them to go to Spanish/Catalán schools and experience what is it like to live and grow up in Spain.  So I guess both?

If you could import something from the US to Spain (and vice versa), what would it be?

Obviously I want my family here first and foremost.. After that, I would really love if it dryers were much more available here because I dislike everything about having to hang my clothes out.  Also I would import smoothie places on every corner like they are in the states (I miss my smoothie king, Jamba Juice, Planet Smoothie, etc.), oh, and TARGET!
If I could import something to the States, it would definitely be the mentality from here to ‘work to live’ not ‘live to work’ which is so very common in the states.  As for food, jamón, tortilla de patatas, and pan con tomate at each meal.  And one thing specific from Barcelona would be La Boqueria! It’s the best and I’m sad all my friends and family in the states don’t get to experience it unless they come here of course!
Dating a Spaniard Jamie

How has being in a relationship with a Spaniard changed you?

It has made me a better person overall- it has made me realize there is way more to life than just “living the American dream” and in my opinion, not living that “life” and having the pressures that come along with is is way better.  I have learned so much about the Spanish and Catalán cultures and been able to experience their traditions firsthand.  It has made me more open to all languages and cultures and also made me realize that anything is possible.
Dating a Spaniard Jamie
Thanks so much, Jamie!

So You’re Dating a Spaniard—Diane

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.

Dating a Spaniard Diane

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?

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Bilingual Babies

If you are one of my friends/family, you’ve probably (okay, so almost definitely) heard me mention my desire for bilingual babies. Let me start at the beginning (a very good place to start) …

In the spring of 2008, I found myself in Toledo, Spain. Toledo was a lovely city, but a bit on the boring side, once you saw all the pretty views and hiked on the Don Quijote trail once or twice. My friend came to Spain to visit me, and off we went to another city you might recognize: BARCELONA! I don’t know what it is exactly about Barcelona that attracts so many people.

Perhaps it’s its wonderful outdoors market:

La_Boqueria

Perhaps it’s the enchanting and still unfinished Sagrada Familia:

Sagrada_Familia_01

Perhaps it’s the beautiful Parc Güell

800px-Park_Guell_Terrace

Yes, I was genuinely happy to be in a new city, full of twists and turns and new adventures around every corner. And I do mean things I’d never experienced. Including getting my passport stolen. To make a long story short, my traveling companion and I were both a bit silly and naive, and we left my purse inside his backpack. The thief took the purse, but not the backpack. There was no money, only an iPod, an American cell phone, and my PASSPORT. Yes, that last one stung quite a bit.

To rectify the situation, I went to the American embassy in Madrid. To be honest, I was in the best of moods. I was cranky and desperate to get a replacement passport before my parents came and we jetted off to Paris. (HELLO, City of Lights.) But then something happened that changed me forever.

A woman walked in. Trailing behind her were two little girls with blond curls, about 2 and 4 years old. A tall man brought up the ear, his brown frizzy hair clearly unkempt. The woman was almost obviously Spanish (in the very best way): short, thin, skinny jeans, quality boots. She was all business, ready to get in and out as fast as humanly possible, an attitude with which I sympathized completely. Her little girls were shunted off to the play area, where the embassy had tried to make it easier on harried parents by setting out story books, blocks, and other such things. The little girls were very good. “¡Mira, mira, mami!” said the littlest one, hoping to catch her mother’s attention. Her mother, deep in conversation with an employee, didn’t turn. So, the little girl did what any little girl would do in such a situation: she turned to her daddy. “Look, Daddy! Look!” He, who was not talking, turned to her, give her a big grin, and praised her ability to stack blocks (or something of the sort).

At first, I was unsure of what had just happened. She was 2; there was no way she had learned such things in school, as she probably had never gone to school yet. But, but…how did she learn English then? And then it dawned upon me: her father, the tall, lanky one, was American. It was clear as mud. She was 2 and she was bilingual. I could almost feel my heart skip a beat.

WANT.

I have not always been a kid person. In fact, I don’t think all babies are cute, and most aren’t until they’re around 4 months. (To all mothers: this is just an opinion.) But I knew right then and there that having bilingual babies will make my little budding philologist heart so very happy. Now, to find a Spanish boy…

Addendum: I got the replacement and visited Paris with my parents just about a week later. But I did not, could not, forget about the bilingual babies.