Top 7 Signs You’ve Integrated in Spain
Posted by Dreamer
A tongue-in-cheek crash course in Spanish culture.
You’ve worked so hard learning to speak Spanish and you love living here in Spain, but how can you tell whether you’ve truly integrated into Spanish society? Integration is tricky business after all. Here are 7 unequivocal signs that you’ve done it:
- You think that a whole ham with a hoof is a good Christmas gift and the Museo del Jamón is one of your favorite restaurants. And it’s not just because you like Spanish ham; it’s a matter of truly being able to appreciate the jamón. With the passion of a wine connoisseur you can expound on the best ham varieties Spain has to offer, arguing over serranos and ibéricos with the best of ‘em. Heck, you might even know the correct way to slice a bone-in jamón.
- You’re more religious about your soccer than your actual religion. With Carnaval-like excitement you anticipate the Liga de Campeones, Liga española, Copa del Rey, Copa de la Liga, and the Supercopa de Europa more carefully than saint days. You wear your favorite team’s flag like a cape or drape the official team scarf around your shoulders as if it were a priestly vestment.
- You spend the run-up to Christmas clutching lottery tickets. You and everyone else you know make a ritual of getting a décimo or two, like eating turrón on Christmas Eve or trying to stuff 12 grapes into your mouth at the 12 chimes of the clock on New Year’s Eve. You don’t really expect to win the Sorteo de la Lotería de Navidad and make off with millions, but you’ve found that’s not really the point.
- Your 10 closest friends are Spanish. You do everything as a group and couldn’t imagine it any other way. Bar hopping, tapas crawls, holidays, weddings, children’s play dates, you name it.
- As a woman, you enjoy opening your hand-held fan with two fingers and snapping it shut with a flick of your wrist. You don’t bother leaving the house in summer without your brightly-colored abanico. It's highly practical in urban subways, on hot beaches, at restaurants and cafes, and everywhere else, you don’t remember what you did in the summer before Spanish fans came into your life.
- You have a pueblo. It doesn’t matter if you were born and raised in a decidedly city environment like London or in a town of 100 inhabitants, same as a Spaniard you still have a pueblo and refer to it as such. You don’t go home to visit like an expat anymore; you retreat into the arms of your pueblo, like a Spaniard. (Most urban Spaniards are only a couple generations from their rural roots, so the idea of having a pueblo and going back for an occasional weekend or for holidays is very common. Your pueblo would be the place you grew up or where your family's roots are strongest.)
- Last but not least, you drink your coffee with milk. Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast without a café con leche. Preferably served in a café that has slot machines.