Dos Besos—And Why I Prefer Spain’s Meet and Greet

Dos Besos?

When I first started spending time regularly with Spaniards, I was always a bit nervous about the whole “kissing” thing. I find hellos and goodbyes to be rather awkward, and this idea of formalized greetings scared me. Not anymore. Later on, I’ll explain to you why I actually prefer the Spanish method of greeting friends and family.

I’ve been thinking about this topic lately, since my Spanish in-laws will be learning the American way of doing things veryyyy soon!

Quiz time!

When you meet someone in Spain, do you …

         a) Shake hands
         b) Give them two cheek kisses
         c) Give them three cheek kisses
         d) Hug them
         e) All of the above

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How to Continue a Positive Bilingual-Bicultural Relationship

One of the best parts of writing a blog are the people you “meet.” While I’ve not met any blogger friends in person, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a lot of different people, whether that be fellow bloggers or people who just like to read my blog. I especially love emails, and always love to hear from you! So if you’ve ever thought about saying hey, please email me at: kalhendr[at]gmail[dot]com.

So I’m very happy to introduce my first ever (!) guest post from my friend, Melanie. Melanie, like me, is in a relationship with a Spaniard. What’s distinguishes her from most of my friends who are in relationships with Spaniards is that she and her husband live in the U.S. In Texas, to be exact. Thus, she has a unique perspective – one that I think we don’t get to hear a lot about in my corner of the blog world. Anyway, I’ll let her take over from here.

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Kaley Detained

I’ll try not to be terribly cliché here, but you know that saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”? (Of course you do.) Well, life definitely handed me some lemons, but lemonade just ain’t gonna cut it here, folks. I’m making margaritas because I. need. a. drink.

I had it all in Spain: job prospects, a temporary place to live, an amazing boyfriend, and then I just go and throw it away. Oops, I mean the Spanish government did that for me. Or rather, my former bosses. But I digress. Upon attempting to enter the glorious country known as España to the locals, the passport control officer looked at me strangely. “You live in Salamanca?” he asked me, only in Spanish. (You see, I’m translating. Aren’t I nice?) “Yes,” I answered – honestly. It turns out that I no longer did, according to them, anyway. I’m making light of a scary situation, but keep in mind that I am a 23 year-old girl who just wanted to see her boyfriend – a boyfriend who was waiting at the gate with her favorite cookies in his pocket. That kind of boyfriend. Sigh.

Oh, sorry, this isn’t a sappy love letter. Back to business. So yes, I was detained for 1.5 days, kept in some underground bunker with my fellow detainees. Now, I wasn’t eager to make friends with any of them, but even if I had wanted to, it would have been rather impossible, seeing as they all seemed to speak Portuguese. One guy only “spoke” Arabic and English. I put spoke in quotes because I asked him simple questions and he stared at me blankly as though I were speaking, hmmm, Mandarin Chinese. Nevertheless, I used my time well there, speaking on the phone with M (my lovely Spanish novio) for several hours, stealing my own cell phone from my confiscated carry on luggage they were keeping in a separate room, eating disgusting airline food, and working as a translator. Yes, you read that right. I was working for them, though I’m still waiting on my check. Spanish police usually (okay, never) know how to speak more than a few words of English (hail to the queen!). To give you an example, while M and I were on the phone, he asked me if, in the U.S., police also were the type who “don’t like to study.” Personally, I hate stereotyping, so of course I quickly answered YES. It made me feel so much better to say these terrible, awful, no good mean things to my boyfriend, who of course was nodding at my every word. At least I assume he was nodding – he better have been! M, are you reading this? Call me later. We gotta talk.

Oh yes, back to translating. Well, I translated from Spanish into English for the Arabic guy who barely spoke English. Complicated enough for ya? No? Sorry, I got nothing. After my translation of the phrase, “Your flight leaves tomorrow at 4,” the guard asked me what, exactly, tomorrow meant, proving that Spanish police hate studying. You see, it is generally a requirement that all children study English from an early age. Tomorrow is generally a word one would know even if one’s skills are limited to the most basic.

However, my favorite part of the whole experience was how most people (except the guards) seemed to think it was very, very strange that I was there. The Nicaraguan sisters questioned me intensely as to exactly why the Spanish police wouldn’t let an American in…I explained to them my evil intentions of seeing the boy with whom I was in love, and they asked if he wouldn’t help me. If only they knew how M was calling every person he had ever met since the age of 2, then they would understand. The flight crew on my way home laughed and laughed, telling me I’d soon be back. My lawyer advised me to lose my passport so I could get back sooner. Everyone, it seemed, thought I should be allowed in, except the law. The law is cruel and unforgiving and hates love. It has never had a girlfriend, so it’s understandable. We need to get it laid. (I kid, I kid.)

So, as for now, I’m in good old Crawtucky, Indiana, applying to be a substitute teacher and spending my time on Skype. Skype is a wonderful tool and I wish to personally kiss the feet of the person who invented it. I take that back, actually, as I have this fear that, somewhere, the inventor is actually reading this (highly unlikely, but possible) and will soon be calling me up. I wish to avoid such situations. It’s only prudent. I ask only that you continue reading and that you do not tell me if you feel asleep reading this post. I’m sensitive.