Sunday, March 2, 2014

5 Things Dating a Spanish Man Has Taught Me:

(Sorry Nachy, but I had to...well no, I wanted to)
West Hartford, CT, USA Fall 2012
Nacho and his jamon, Tangier, Morocco, Summer 2011

1. Embrace possibility and creativity.

Yea I know, that sounds great. In theory. For me, as idealistic as I am, I really have always thrived on realism. Only allow room in your mind for what is possible, and that way you won't be clouded by things that cannot be, you won't waste your time. Oh, but dating a Spanish man has changed that. Not only are hypothicals a very real part of my day-to-day conversation, but I think I have finally figured out the reason for the existence of the Spanish subjuntive tense.. (something that "could be", they have an entire verb tense for hypothetical situations which doesn't even exist in English!)

2. Know what you want, and be a little bit selfish about it.

I've always been a people pleaser. If everyone is happy, I'm happy. I have always felt a little uncomfortable making decisions for the whole group. But lately that has changed a little. After some time dating a Spanish man I've learned to fully realize and go after what I want. Whether that be a certain food I'm craving, or a job I'm searching for, confidently expressing my needs has been nothing but healthy for myself and our relationship. Feels good too!

3. Wear layers.

I'm from Connecticut. I know winter very well. I know the cold, the snow, the sleet, I have experienced the vortex. Because of that I know that Madrid doesn't really get that cold, people. But wintertime to a MadrileƱo, I have seen, can be quite traumatic. Everyone is layer-happy (god forbid it gets below 40°F). Men and women alike never leave the house with just a shirt and a jacket. There is a t-shirt, then a button-up, then a sweater, a scarf, a jacket or two. Women have always at least one sweater and a scarf over their outfits. It's quite dramatic if you ask me. Nacho is sometimes amazed that I can leave the house for the evening with a thin (however long-sleeved!) shirt and a jacket. For me, it's enough. For the Spanish people, it's crazy. But nevertheless, I've learned to layer up- otherwise I'll be asked if I'm cold all night long.

4. Feel your feelings fully.

As a relatively passive-aggressive person, it feels quite healthy to quickly acknowledge a feeling and then brush it away and move on. Not to say I fully get over things in the moment, no, I usually wait for a later, much more inconvenient time for a meltdown/crisis/anxiety attack, when I can no longer hold everything inside me. But dating a Spanish man has taught me that when I feel a certain way, not only should I recognize that feeling, but I should react to it fully in the moment I feel it, however long that reaction should take. Although at first this seemed a little dramatic and unnecessary, over time I have found the results to be healthy, cathartic and quite helpful to my overall mental health.

5. Appreciate the importance of family.

I'm pretty sure family values are important in every culture, and they have always been something important to me. But dating a Spanish man has really driven home the fact that family is everything. It's important to spend time with the family, life pretty much revolves around it. The father is respected fully at all times and the mother is listened to and helped at all times. Thankfully I love everyone in Nacho's family and truly enjoy spending time with them and getting to know them! And believe me, there's never a dull moment. :)

Me with the nieces and nephews, Christmas 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment