So You’re Dating a Spaniard—Lauren

Thanks for putting up with the blog absence while I spent time with my in-laws during our stateside wedding reception. Photos will be coming shortly!

Let’s meet my newest guiri who is a new arrival in Madrid this September: Lauren blogs at Life After College.

Lauren Life After College

Hello, Lauren! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Please let our readers know a bit more about you.

My name is Lauren, I’m twenty-three years old, from Rhode Island (yes it really is a state!), and will be moving to Spain this September to teach in Madrid with the Spanish government’s program Auxiliares de Conversación. I decided to make the move to Spain partly because of the experience teaching abroad. I have a teaching degree here in the USA, but it’s very difficult to find a full-time job in my state—and partly because I want to be closer to my Spanish boyfriend.

How did you meet your boyfriend?

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The Life I Chose

(A post with no pictures and even fewer niceties.)

You know that cliché quote about missing someone, about how it’s not about how long it’s been, but how when you’re doing something and you wish the other person was there?

Well, I call bullshit. For me, anyway. For me, it’s both. Let me explain.

As you very well know, if you’ve spent more than two seconds on this blog of mine, I’ve got this boyfriend. His name is Mario, and no—he’s not an Italian plumber with a penchant for bopping goombas on the head; he’s Spanish and super smart and sweet and everything I could have wanted in a guy. /End gushing.

I met him when I was over in Salamanca for a year. Unlike so many times before, I didn’t meet him because I was trying. In fact, the first thing I asked him was why he was there, on the doorstep of the place I worked. (Perhaps in a rude tone? Ask him if you want to know.) My mother had explicitly told me not to date any Spanish guys. (More on that later.) And let’s be honest, most of the time I was not attracted to the Spanish men I encountered. I had experience with mullets, people—mullets and piropos and skeezy club-touching. So no, I did not go there with any intentions of meeting someone, let alone Mr. Right.

I asked him out. Well, kind of, sort of by accident. It sounds like a big excuse, but we were all meeting up for drinks at midnight, so I suggested meeting earlier, guessing (correctly!) that Mario wasn’t fond of staying out that late. We met, I spilled wine, life was good—people, I’d obviously won him over.

And two days later, I had already started thinking about dating him, the kind of thinking you hope no one else ever finds out about. Good thing he felt the same way and blurted out the words I’d remember forever, “La verdad es que me gustas.” Giddy, I could think of nothing else but him for weeks.

So I suppose I did sign up for this. I signed up to date this guy, this foreigner, this man in whom I could find no fault. (Faults come later, FYI.) I had no idea what I was in for.

In the past two and a half years, the following things have occurred:

  • I quit the internship I was in because they had “forbidden” from dating anyone. I’m so bad.
  • I was detained in the Madrid airport and sent back home because I had inadvertently overstayed my welcome in the EU.
  • I applied for my visa, and (apparently) had it sent back two times to the Chicago embassy before they finally got it through. I was paranoid they’d say no due to my experience in Madrid.
  • I spent a year teaching English in Zamora, but hated the job. It was rough, but we were together.
  • I’ve spent so much time apart from him that I don’t even want to think about it.
  • I’ve contemplated 1,001 ways to get me there or him here. Fruitless so far, but there’s always the fun red-tape-filled marriage process to look forward to.

In these past years, I’ve had the experience of missing Mario in the moment, wishing he were there to do or experience something with me: a new apartment, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, holidays. All of it was hard, harder than I’d like to admit. But the time really has begun to wear on me.

How long?

I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of being told to wait, that things will be figured out one day. I know this—I do!—but being apart seems harder with each passing day. Someday, I hope I’ll look back at this time period and know that it only served to make us stronger, but right now?

Right now it really sucks.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes of this blog, a lot of stuff is going on. Or, rather, we’re waiting for it to do so.

You see, although having a blog is inherently narcissistic (in that I enjoy getting positive feedback, interacting with other bloggers, and knowing that somewhere out there someone’s reading), I don’t tell you everything. Surprise! Although I may seem like a chronic oversharer, I promise – there are people out there way worse than me.

I’m working a nine-to-five job, balancing work with relationships and trying to not gain forty pounds from my desk job. I’m slowly memorizing the Chicago Manual of Style. I’m learning whether the verb should be lie, lay, laid, or lain. (Yes, it does exist.) I’m trying to keep my apartment clean and my kitten from biting my legs.


He did this on purpose to look innocent. He is not.

But, if you know me, there are always a million things swirling around in the back of my mind. The future, you see, is still up in the air. We’re waiting on a few things. While we’re waiting, I’m here; he’s there. We talk every day – we Skype, chat, email, text, Facebook…you name it, we use it.

Kelly wrote this great post about technology and study abroad – its pluses and minuses. I could say the same for the Internet and my What Ifs. I get sucked into the vortex of the Internet and emerge, hours later, starving and wondering just how I got started down this series of tubes.

You may now understand my lack of writing. I want to tell you, but I also am afraid of putting myself out there, getting too personal, and – you know – looking like a fool in the end.

So, if you ever want to know more (and I understand that you might), please email me: kalhendr[at]gmail[dot]com. I’m more than willing to dish over Gmail. Or add me on Facebook. You can see all the sappy, lovey dovey photos that you always seem to be searching for.


Bye, Bye, Mr. Spanish Guy

After a wonderful month and some odd days, he’s gone.

I’m sad.

I know we’ll see each other again, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, then you get it. A little bit at least. Until you’ve been in a cross-cultural, bilingual, LDR…you don’t quite. That’s okay, though. I don’t fully get others’ situations either. I just mean, blahhh, I get jealous of others who live only two hours away from each other and can drive there for the weekend. I cannot drive to Spain, no many how many hours there are in a weekend.

But as I say to Mario (and to myself, so I will believe it), we’ll be together in the end. It’s only right.