Another Expat Blogger, Stuart Mudies's Blethers.com:

Visca Espanya!

As you may have noticed if you ever bothered to read the blurb about me in the sidebar, I'm a "hispanophile" who "lived in Barcelona for six years". Well, today I got an email from someone asking me whether being a hispanophile in Catalonia wasn't something of a contradiction.

I love Catalonia, I speak Catalan almost as fluently as I do Spanish and I think I write as well as many Catalans themselves - at least those of a certain age who were forced to undergo all their schooling in Spanish. Indeed, I remember being in a hotel in Valls once and asking the woman behind the reception desk why they had a sugerencies box.

"Here in Catalonia," she began, "we have our own language that's different from Spanish ..."

"I know that," I replied. "But the word in Catalan is suggeriments, not sugerencies - which sounds a lot like Spanish to me."

When I came down the next morning, the box had been removed.

I love Catalonia, but I also love Galicia. I spent a wonderful year living in Le�n, and I have always enjoyed my trips to Madrid as well, although I'm not sure I'd like to live there.

What can I say? My Spain is a country made up of many places that I love. Some of those places are nations too, others are not. "Hispanophile" is just a word I use to express how much Espa�a in its entirety means to me. It's a badge I wear with pride.

Heh. I like the idea of being able to correct the Catalans... though I can't imagine ever learning it.

"Hispanophile" is very interesting. I'm not and never have been and 3 years in Madrid has done nothing to improve it. Madrid's not a city you fall in love with, in my opinion. I've seen some other parts of Spain which are nice, but how you could make a living there, I'm not sure. Ana's pretty much 100% against Barcelona, which I think is gorgeous, so that means we're obviously going back to the U.S. to live, or at least spending 50% of our time there. We don't drink nor smoke, so social life here is torture and the rest of the "quality of life" issues don't really do much for you if you're earning crap and live in grey cold for 3/4ths of the year.

This may be just the time of year talking - the only thing Spain does for me this time of year is piss me off. Madrid is grey and cold and has been for months and will be for many more. Ugh. All of Europe is like this in Winter. Bleh.


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