Tag Archive: my adventures in Spain

The Enchanting University Tunas

  One of my favorite grad student memories is of the first time I ever heard the university tuna. It was a magical and wonderful moment that I shall never forget. (Spoiler alert—this is not about chicken of the sea!) A group of us was sitting at an outdoor café in El Barrio Húmedo of …

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Carnaval, carnaval te quiero

Everyone has heard of Carnaval in Brazil, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but did you know that this same holiday celebration is a HUGE deal in Spain too? I didn’t and I have to say it’s like nothing I’d ever seen before! It’s like Halloween on steroids with parades that rival Macy’s famous one—IN …

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Happy New Year!

¡Feliz Año! ¿Que tal las uvas? This is an expression that will be said thousands of times today in Spain. “Happy (New) Year! How were the grapes?” No, it’s not that everyone owns vineyards, and grapes are not code for anything else—they really do mean, “How were your grapes?” To understand the question, allow me to …

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Thanksgiving

My first Thanksgiving in Spain was marked indelibly with the feeling that something was “wrong” as I went about my day; it felt like there was a hole there. Sure, the weather was cold and it may have even snowed. I spent the day with friends who were becoming as close as family. Turkeys are …

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That awkward moment when you don’t know what it is, but you eat it anyway: pulpo

Being the only foreigner in a small city, and a student, had its advantages. I was especially lucky that all of the women who lived in my dorm saw it as their imperative to “educate me” in the ways of Spain. Thus, when we weren’t touring the country-side, my dorm-mates often took me out on …

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Hunting for Setas

Ever held back, afraid, and later realized that your fears were misplaced and you missed out on an interesting experience? Living in Spain, especially that first year, was a series of adventures, most of which I enjoyed thoroughly. But this particular outing happened very early in my stay, and I had not yet learned to …

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Shopping in Spain

Although the purse didn’t cost $38,000, it was pricey for my budget as a graduate student. But it was my birthday, I’d been in Spain for all of 7 months and I really wanted it. As a matter of fact, I’d been walking by the shop window for weeks, changing my mind, then coming back …

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An embarrassing moment

  Have you ever heard a person whose native language is Spanish and who is still working on their English get mixed up when pronouncing words? Maybe they say “sheep” when they mean “ship”, “beach” when referring to a female dog, or “sheet” when they mean…you get it. Well, the same goes when English speaking …

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A good life

“Isn’t life better here than anywhere else in the world?” I was frequently asked this question when I first moved to Spain in the mid 1980’s, often by older folks, parents of my fellow graduate students. Having been raised in the U.S., proudly saying the pledge of allegiance to my flag every day, and so …

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Spain is different

In the 1960’s, a young politician named Manuel Fraga, who would serve both during the dictatorship and later when the country became a democracy, only retiring in 2011, coined the phrase “Spain is Different.” It’s a phrase that was quoted to me over and over during the years I lived in Spain, whenever I would …

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