In celebration of Spain in Color turning three months old, I have decided to do something a little bit different. Over the past three months, people have been leaving me questions on my blog and on instagram. I have taken my favorite questions (and the ones that were repeated most) and I will answer them today!
How does my family feel about me living so far away?
I am pretty sure it makes them sad, just like it makes me. I would love to have my family right down the street from me, but, unfortunately, that is a sacrifice I had to make when I moved to Spain. My family has been VERY supportive of my decision to move and establish myself in a foreign country. I am positive that they would prefer for me to be a bit closer, just for comfort, but I know that they know that this is where I want to be. Sometimes someone will make a comment asking when I will move back or something, but I think it is completely natural and normal to want your loved ones to be near you. Thank God for Facetime, Whatsapp, and airplanes. I stay in constant communication with my whole family, my closest friends, and even my dog and I try to visit as often as possible.
What are some things Americans can do to not stick out as a tourist in Spain?
This is one of my favorite questions, because I can spot an American on the street without even hearing them talk. I do not think there is anything wrong with “acting American” while in a foreign country per se, BUT I do think being more self-aware could be an easy safety measure you could take, because Americans are often targeted for pickpocketing and other crimes.
- When in groups, Americans walk in straight lines, blocking the entire sidewalk. Why? I have no idea, but we have a habit of walking shoulder to shoulder when we hit the streets. I would say try and “blob out” as much as possible to blend in a bit more with the rest of the people around.
- We always have our cellphones out. Whether it be to take pictures or reply to messages, we have a habit of constantly having our phone in hand. This trait isn’t limited to Americans, but a way to not stick out so much would be to put the phone away in your bag, look up, and take in all of the details that you missed while texting. Future you will thank you.
- Were loud. It’s a thing. Americans are super loud… especially on the metro. Maybe it is because we are not used to taking public transportation, but for the record, the metro and trains have more of a quiet aura. Whenever I see people yelling across the metro or cracking up laughing, I bet 10 bucks that they’re American.
These are the main things. There are some other very obvious ones like eating at McDonalds and Starbucks while you’re abroad. If you do that, I will judge you… hard! (not kidding).
If you have the opportunity to travel, do your best to take it in and enjoy every second of it. Try and absorb as much as the culture as possible, and try and stay safe!
Have you ever experienced racism in Spain?
I actually have an entire blog post dedicated to this question planned to come out in the next few weeks, but I will give you a short answer here. I, personally, cannot say that I have experienced racism in Spain. HOWEVER, that does not go to say that it does not exist. I have seen it with my own two eyes. I believe as an educated, brown-skinned, African American woman living in a major city in Spain, I have a certain privilege. I don’t know what to call it, but I definitely think it has played a role in the way that people judge and treat me.
How do you deal with homesickness if you have it?
I call my family. Because Spain is so similar, climatewise, to where I am from in California, I very rarely miss the location of “home”, but I do miss the people, immensely. Whenever I am missing someone, I will call and talk to them until I feel better. My friends and family are super awesome and they really make an effort to stay in touch with me despite the 9 hour time difference. If I get SUPER homesick, I hop on a plane and go to California. That happens about once per year, and I always make a point to go and hug my family as much as possible and eat as much chick-fil-a and dollar tacos as possible so that I can curb my craving for another few months.
What is your favorite city in Spain?
This is a hard one because every city is so unique in its history, culture, foods, arquitecture, and feel. Madrid used to be my favorite city in Spain, and I still hold it very close to my heart, but I would have to say that my current favorite city in Spain is Malaga. Malaga is located on the coast of the mediterranean city in the south of Spain. It is a major city with an international airport, but it is not overwhelmingly large. It has a small town feel and the people are very welcoming and open… not to mention the food is amazing. What can beat a beach city anyways?
Did your question get answered? If not, feel free to ask me in a DM on instagram. I always reply!
Thank you, once again, for reading my blog and for your constant support over these past three months!