Being an American girl in Spain is an interesting experience. And by that I mean that there is a whole load of stereotypes that accompany the word “American” combined with being a female. I really hate to say this, but sometimes, it pains me to hear other people call me an American because I feel like there is a harsh judgment associated with this. Men have a tendency to be um…very forward with me when they realize I am not fluent in Spanish. I think there is also an assumption that I am loud or spoiled. Not everyone thinks this, but there are a lot of people who participate in this stereotype.
Having these feelings is part of the reason that I wanted to have this experience. As some of you know, I have an interest in working with immigrant populations in America. Until I came here, I knew very little about what it must feel like to be in their shoes. I am obviously very blessed in this scenario…I have a program that has helped walk me through everything I need and I have great job.
However, now I get what it feels like to not have your family close by. To not put your thoughts into words because of language barriers. To miss your culture. To apply for a residency card at the immigration office. To feel like someone else is stereotyping you based on your nationality.
I love Spain…it’s so beautiful and 99% of the people I meet are warm and kind. But, I am grateful for a chance to feel like not everything is easy and not everything is handed to me. As my blog says, “One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.”
Please help me remember this new perspective when I return to the U.S.A and all that is comfortable.