Coming to Spain I thought I would be surrounded by only Spanish, but living with two French girls has been completely different. They speak French, Spanish, and English and so does my third roommate who is from Spain; so the dominate language spoken in the house is French then Spanish. This means that causal conversation is typically in French. I’m used to being in the dark with Spanish but French is a whole other ball game. Spanish I can at least follow the conversation and understand what is happening. French I know nothing.
Soria has a university here which is why there is so many young people, however being that when out in public the girls speak French we’ve met other French girls. Majority of the time I stand there and smile and laugh whenever they do because I feel awkward when I don’t. Most people we meet assume that I am French too or at least can speak it but obviously that’s not true. I typically get nervous when I tell people I’m from the states because in South America people think differently of you, but here the reaction I get is more of a surprise.
I met a guy from England and he was just surprised I was even in Soria because it is so small. People get so excited and then try to speak in English but I try to respond in Spanish. It’s very interesting how people get so excited or surprised that I am an American. When I speak Spanish obviously you can tell because I mispronounce things. For example, we went to this bar called Bandalay, and I asked, “tienes wifi?” but in Spain it’s pronounced “wee-fee.” The bartender look at me strange until I said it correctly and he chuckled and I told him that Spaniards are the ones to pronounce it wrong.
Another tell that I am American is when we are out at clubs I don’t sing along to most of the songs. The main reason being that I have never heard the song before so I just sway back and fourth. However, when we were at Lolita, our favorite bar, I requested Salt Shaker by the Ying-Yang Twins. 1) the bartender had no idea what the hell I was talking about so I had to write it down for her. 2) when that song came on you better believe I broke it down.
My roommates were all surprised that I could get down like that and everyone at the club was staring at me. More so at disbelief and shock rather than encouragement. As soon as the song ended though I went back to swaying back and fourth being quite. I guess people in Spain don’t dance like that unless their dancing with a boy. BUT on the bright side the bartenders now know who we are and get hype whenever we walk in. We always dance to whatever song and are always requesting songs to be played even when people aren’t there or they aren’t dancing. There is a drag queen that works there and every time we walk in she’s always like “hollaaaa chicaaaas” even when she’s on stage. There is also a really cute bartender whom my roommates are in love with, but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s not a bar for people our ages but I still think it’s a blast.
I have to to get my N.I.E which is like an identity card that allows me to open a bank account and travel freely throughout Europe. Plus it lets me stay longer after my visa expires. My french roommates have to get one too so luckily we can all go together. I also have to go shopping because I am tired to eating just pasta every single day. Shopping for groceries here is so difficult because I have no idea what the food is and what I typically eat isn’t in some of the markets. Spain also charges you for plastic bags to carry out your groceries, which I think is a good idea now that I know that, but when I first went to the store I luckily had my backpack to put everything in. When I got to the end to bag my items I was lost when there were no bags. The lady next to me had her own bag and thats when I realized I had to use my backpack.
This past week has been one big crippling learning curve and me trying to overcome my fear of speaking Spanish. I’m trying not to stand out too much but that’s also very difficult and I have been resting the urge to ask people if they speak English. I don’t start work until October 5th because there is a festival that happens in Soria, so once I figure out a normal routine and what my schedule will be I can start planning weekend trips to different cities. In the meantime, I’ll more than likely roam aimlessly around Soria— trying to find the best views or places to eat.