Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Spain is doing to me

Living in a foreign country is a life-changing experience. Some people fall in love, get married, start a whole new life.

That's all fine and dandy, but the changes I've experienced thus far are of a slightly different nature. A few things that living in Spain has done to me:
Still only the green ones though
  • I like love olives. I used to hate them, but I have to say they have grown on me to the point that I enjoy and seek them out, rather than just tolerate them. I learned in a psychology class in college that repeated exposure to a stimulus increases the likelihood that the stimulus will be perceived positively. Spain did just that. If you give me olives every time I order a beer, it's only a matter of time before I like them.
  • My itunes now includes songs such as this, this, and this:
  •  I sometimes find myself lisping z's. In English. It's a side effect of spending my days bouncing back and forth between English and Spanish. In Spanish Spanish (as opposed to Mexican Spanish, South American Spanish, etc.) the letter z is pronounced as a lisped th sound. (c's are also lisped if followed by an e or an i). For example, the word cerveza, one of the most important words in the Spanish vocabulary, is pronounced thervetha. I've mastered these pronunciations to the point that they are invading my English. Keep that in mind next time you talk to me and I sound like I have a speech impediment.
  • I'm a regular tea drinker. I used to have it every once in a while, more so when I'm sick, but now I have it just about everyday. My work day would not be complete without té y galletas in the staff lounge. Just like the olives, I tend to stick to the green kind.
  • I like being American a hell of a lot more than I used to. I've never been one to wear stars and stripes, and let's face it, throughout the Bush administration it was pretty easy to focus on our flaws. But my time here has made me proud to be representing my country. Part of my job is to be a cultural ambassador and facilitate learning and understanding between Spain and the United States. To my students and coworkers, I represent the entire United States and all 300,000,000 Americans. I get to teach them about our culture and traditions and demystify the stereotypes they know from the media. Somewhere between explaining that nearly everyone has a driver's license out of necessity and that no, we don't have pancakes for breakfast everyday, I found myself growing quite fond of the good ole U.S. of A.

1 comment:

  1. oh yes, the ubiquitous olives. Spain's olives are the best.