Un Tinto, Un Toro—Toro’s Wine Festival

Did I ever mention to you that one time I (along with three others) won 30 bottles of wine at the Toro Wine Festival?

Wine from Toro's Wine FestivalUh yeah, that’s all ours

I’m a big fan of Toro wine, as you may have guessed. Toro is a small town located in the Zamora province, and its wine is divine! (Sorry for that random rhyming. Really, so sorry.) It’s not as well known as Ribera del Duero (another favorite) or Rioja, but the wines from Toro are some of my favorites, perhaps because I’ve had the chance to try so many of them. In fact, I know way more about Toro wine than any wine in the U.S.!

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Foods Spain Taught Me to Love

Moving to Spain has taught me a lot. It’s made me fluent in Spanish. I’ve learned how to navigate the metro system and bureaucracy. I’ve learned how to make foods I miss: crackers and peanut butter and Ranch dip. (Though I still long for bottled Ranch dressing and cottage cheese.) But more importantly, I’ve become a more-independent, self-assured person. I found my media naranja. I came to terms with just how important my home country is to me.

A lot of us experienced changes when we moved here. You feel me, auxiliares (and former auxiliares)? We learned just how little we knew about English grammar and Spanish slang. But we’ve also learned to love new foods. Thus, I asked some of you what foods you’ve learned to love since moving to Spain. Your answers were fun to read, and I’m listing them here.

Cat from Sunshine and Siestas: Snails

Eating Snails Spain Jerez

“So. Snails.

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What I Miss

I am so happy to be home. There is nothing like my home in the summer – green grass, cookouts, margaritas made by my Uncle Steve (which we drink on the porch), sunsets, fireworks (even if I don’t like them), walks at twilight, humidity (ugh!), and more. I wouldn’t rather be any place else. However, having been home for almost a month, and having spent the last few days in Texas, I realize there are a few things I miss.

No, not El Escorial specifically. Rather, I miss beautiful scenery of centuries-old buildings. The U.S. is the toddler of the world, having only existed for 200-some years. Spain has universities that were established half a millennia before the United States. Now that’s old! I miss stepping out of my house, walking five minutes, and seeing a Romanesque church built in 1400. I miss every town having its very own Plaza Mayor. I especially miss Salamanca’s.

Ah, dando un paseo – taking a walk/stroll. Around 6 or 7 PM nightly, you can count on a large majority of the people you know to be out doing this very thing. Mario’s parents usually see at least 10 people they know. If you can cross the main street, Santa Clara, without seeing anyone you know, you’re basically no one in Zamora. You will see all types of people out strolling along the main thoroughfare: grandparents with babies, parents with babies in elaborate strollers sharing recommended reviews of top double strollers with each other, parents holding toddlers’ hands, teenagers laughing with their friends, old men with their hands clasped behind their back, old ladies gossiping, elderly women with their hand firmly grasping their husbands’ elbows – all kinds. This just doesn’t happen here, even if you do live in a town where strolling is possible.

Fútbol. I don’t always enjoy watching it on TV, but I love the excuse it gives people to get together, drink, and eat. It doesn’t hurt that when Mario’s friends get together, the food is good – no potato chips and soda here. Nah, we roll with empanada, salad, chorizo, jamón, tortilla de patata, and we can’t forget the always delicious red wine! I also don’t mind that soccer players are, ahem, attractive (a lot of times).

This guy. Yeah, I kinda miss him. By the way, anyone have a job for a cuatrilingual Spaniard (Spanish, English, French, and German)? He’s really smart, has three degrees, and, uh, just hire him! You won’t regret it.