Tuesday, May 29, 2012

They call me Vinocasa

My name (Amy, if you didn't know), doesn't exist in the Spanish language. I remember the first day in my 7th grade Spanish class the teacher gave us all the Spanish equivalents of our names, which were to be used for the whole year. Michael becomes Miguel, Kristen becomes Cristina, easy enough. When the teacher got to my name on the list she thought for a minute and said she would get back to me the next day. She came back with Amada, which is simply the translation of the Latin root of my named, meaning beloved. I've never heard of someone actually being named Amada, but it worked for the time.

Fast forward over ten years and my name is still just as problematic in Spanish. My students who have only ever heard my name pronounced spell it something like Eimi or Eymi. Many genuinely think it's Emily. Those who see it written pronounce it Ah-mee. When I pronounce my name for someone else to write it down, I say Ah-mee and it usually gets written down as Ami. I just can't win.

However, pop culture has given me a saving grace. I can't tell you how many times I've met someone and they respond with a frown. Your name is what? Amy, I respond. They pause for a moment, puzzled. Oh! Like Amy Winehouse! The first few times this happened it was funny. Then annoying. Now I'll actually throw it out there to help people wrap their heads around this strange name I go by.

A few Spanish friends have latched on to this and turned it in to a joke, and I now respond to Vinocasa. (Winehouse. Vinocasa. Get it? Yes it's that silly.)
Now I just wish there was a slightly less tragic celebrity who can bring some recognition to my name and convince Spaniards I'm not making it up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Up in the air

My life and future are up in the air. I've played all of my cards and am now waiting to see what the dealer has. I've turned in paperwork, applied for jobs, been turned down by a whole lot and gotten some feedback on others. But at the end of the day, I still don't know where I'll be in the fall.

The idea of not coming back to Spain was just never an option in my head. Go back to California? Yeah right. Is the sun still shining in Andalucía? Of course. That's where my life is. That's where I'm going to be. Over the past months every time the novio started worrying about me having to leave I just assured him, "When there's something I really want, I find a way to get it."

Here's what I know: I have a position somewhere in Andalucía repeating the program I've been in for the last two years. It could be in a little pueblo in Huelva. It could be in Granada. It could be right back here in Málaga. I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting to find out. This wait drove me nuts last year, but this year there's a new loose end. Planning my future now involves two people finding jobs in the same city, not an easy task in a country with over 30% unemployment.

For now I'm considering myself lucky to have work in an English camp for the summer and to at least have something for the fall. With only a week left at my current school, I'm going to try to focus on saying my goodbyes and being grateful for what I have.
Grateful for days hiking in El Torcal, Antequera...

and random weekend trips to Barcelona, just because there were cheap flights

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Spaniard

All right, I guess it's about time I stop tip toeing around the topic. There's a significant other in my life. And he just so happens to be Spanish.
 Let me take you back over a year ago to last March to a little weekend trip to Granada. I was visiting a fellow English teacher friend, and we went hiking with an extended group of friends. Leading the hike was the cousin of a friend of a friend of my friend, (Yes you read that correctly) and he just knocked my socks off. We climbed a mountain. We got a little lost. We ate chocolate. We lied on our backs and looked for shapes in the clouds (I remember seeing a dragon). At the end of the day we said goodbye to each other and to everyone else in the group. I went back to my life in Málaga, and him to his in Granada.

I remember thinking after, "Wow, that guy was awfully nice. He's funny, he's handsome, and he seems like a really good guy. Too bad he lives in Granada." Little did I know he was thinking the same of me.
In his element, amongst Roman ruins
Well thank goodness for facebook because even though we didn't see each other the rest of the year, we kept in touch. We chatted occasionally over the months, asking how each others summers were going, I told him how excited I was to be returning to Spain in the fall and all the San Miguel, jamón, and olives I was missing. He promised to show me all of Granada's best tapas when I returned.

September rolled around and one of my very first weeks back at work Spain gave us a lovely Wednesday off from work. Some girlfriends and I decided we wanted to spend the day tapeando in the best place in Spain to do so, Granada. I thought "Hey, there's a guy I know there that I wouldn't mind seeing again." So seven months after we met, we saw each other for the second time.

We picked up right where we had left off in March, and the rest is history. Now we've been together for nearly seven months, spending weekends bouncing back and forth between Granada and Málaga. As this school year draws to an end, I don't know what life has in store for me come summer and fall, but we're both doing everything we can to make sure that he's a part of it.
Goofy hats and all, I want this man in my life