Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A long way home

Over the past posts I have often spoken about life here, about its differences, and about the way that people react. I have tried, as I try generally in life outside of this overly electronical world, to concentrate on the positive.

Today, please allow me to bring the tone down. I don't sit happily with being negative about anything, generally I don't see the point, as there is nothing gained from it other than creating greater negativity. Today has been one of those long, drawn out days and a few matter have been brought to the fore once again; I feel the need to share to an unknown and silent audience.

 It seems that we all wak around with little flags over our heads that say little intricate details about us varying in sizes from the huge to the obselete. All that is on show is in bold capitals and all that isn't is hidden under a mire of text and typewriter correction marks (though perhaps the younger generations may have some sort of Whatsapp text over theirs). It would seem that this flag follows you around continually, throughout your life and is constantly open for examination and excessive scrutiny by others. I have mentioned this point in previous posts, the fact that in the UK many people make assumptions about what I am and what I think due to the way I speak, or the way I express myself when with my friends.

What struck me today was that this is taken with you wherever you go, and though you may think that you have fooled those around you, it only serves to make all the little things that are different about you stand out even more. I have always tried to be as non-controversial as possible - perhaps this blog itself is a very good demonstration of the fact - there are four readers and whomsoever drops in by accident through google search. Not exactly groundbreaking, world changing material. This aside, when asked today where it is I am from, I found myself once again embroiled in the same conversation as happens every time I meet a new person.

Spain
-Yes I speak Spanish
- Gallego too
- And French
- Yes I know it isn't common for English people to be able to speak other lagnuages
- My wife is Spanish
- Yes we understand each other
- My kids are bilingual; no I'm not ruining their education by trying to achieve this
- Yes English people are reserved
- No, I know I'm not reserved, but in general my countrymen are
- The people that come to Spain to get brainlessly drunk are not my fault.
- Yes I know it rains in the UK I'm quite used to it, no I don't miss it terribly and yes there are people that are capable of living there happily
- Many people have indeed tried Jamon Serrano, some like it, some don't, perhaps a tortilla is the greatest invention since sliced bread, yes our food is generally considered disgusting (by everyone that has *never* tried anything actually from the UK or anywhere near) but we like it and actually you're hurting my feelings.
- Yes it *is* difficult having my family a bloody long way away from me and *yes* I miss them, and if I'm not crrently in the foetal position crying it's because I have more self control than that.
- Yes I can realise my faults and my coutry's faults without getting angry or shouting, it's called manners.
- People who shout and get angry about things are generally considered to have an enormous lack of culture where I'm from, so if I'm quiet it doesn't mean I agree with everything you say.

The same conversation in the UK
- Yes my wife is Spanish
- Yes I speak Spanish
- Yes we understand each other
- And the kids too, in fact we *all understand each other*
- My kids are bilingual; no I'm not ruining their education by trying to achieve this
- Showing me your *immense* ninja skillz in French / Spanish / Italian / Russian or asking where the nearest whorehouse is in Swahili does *not* interest me *or* my wife.
- It *isn't* actually hot where my wife is from
- Toledo is nowhere near a beach. Most of Spian is not made of beaches, and in the north *it rains*
- Other foodstuffs apart from Paella exist in Spain
- I have yet to see *anyone* riding a donkey *anywhere*.
- Spanish people are *not* lazy. Try working in 40ยบ heat, see where that will get you
- Actually 99% of Spanish people work their arse off
- When you can explain the Inland Revenue's tax system to me, you have the right to explain your opinion on Spain's tax system and its faults.
- Mexico and Spain are *not* and *have never been* the same place.
- If Spanish peolpe are taking your jobs it is because they do them better.
- No, neither my wife nor my children dance Flamenco.

 This conversation with myself (although hugely cathartic) probably won't do me, or inded anyone else any good, though it might be something to bear in mind the next time you speak with someone not from the same place as you.

 B xxxx