You know You Live in Spain When:

-Every toddler around you has better style than you.

-Your own two feet (or Renfe) will take you anywhere you need to go.

-You add 'super' to any Spanish adjective to make it sound extra special.

-There is a can or jar of recycled olive oil next to your stove.

-You hear "GOALLLLLLLLL!" being shouted from somewhere within your apartment building.
(No joke, literally just happened while I was writing this blog.)

-You basically hock a loogie everytime you say 'jamon, jugar" or any word beginning with jota.

-You eat a bocadillo while keeping the foil wrapped around the bottom.

-You know a man in his 30's whose mother still does his laundry.

-You scan Mercadona at 9:10pm on a Saturday night just in case you are missing something you will need for Sunday's comida.

-You pay for other people on your birthday.

-Your new name to every stranger on the street becomes either your hair color or your nationality.

-The old couple walking hand-in-hand next to you makes you think of Allie and Noah from The Notebook and smile.

-You know the best place to store clean pots and pans is inside of the oven.

-When you, for the first time in your life, fall in love with a country and a culture. And never let it go!

And coming soon: You Know You Live in Valladolid When...
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Your new life's staple.
 
 
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Source
The Spanish language (and the fact that I don't know it) has limited me in social situations. I am normally the girl who strikes up a conversation with the woman at the checkout counter. I have no problem pleasantly questioning the cute guy on the bus about his equally cute dog. If you have ears, I will speak to them. 

In Spain, this has been almost impossible for me. There are times that just as I think of what I want to say in a conversation, the beat goes on, and the topic changes to something else.

I make at least one mistake everyday. I sound like an idiot, almost everyday. Today was no exception. And tomorrow won't be either. When I am tired, or sick, or in the mornings before my coffee, I am a Spanish desastre.

Committing to living in Spanglish was something I was prepared to do. But some days, it feels like I have commit to a vow of silence. I am funny, I am witty, I am intelligent, and obviously, very modest. But it is difficult to express myself in those ways in a second language.

That being said, I came to Spain with absolutamente no español. And now, I can find a way to say almost anything I want to. But my timing is off, my grammar is off, and I can't be the true Spaniard I want to be without the right words.

When will the Spanglish stop?
 
 
I am proud to announce that my blog has now officially become my very own web address:

 www.siestayfiesta.com

That's right everyone, update your bookmarks!

Keep reading, subscribing, questioning, and commenting. I love to talk and read about all things Spain, so anything you want to know or any suggestions you have about my blog, don't hesitate to write me at siestayfiesta@yahoo.com

Thanks for reading!

Muchos besos,
Jen
 
 
One of the most significant phrases a person can utter is "I love you."

In Spain, there are two ways to express your love.

After discussing with many a Spaniard the meaning of these phrases, I am still confused.

This is my own opinion on the matter:

"Te quiero" literally translates to "I want you." This is a kind of love you can have for your boyfriend, your chihuahua, or your favorite tapa. For me, it is a less serious, friendly, beginning of a relationship love.

"Te amo" is the more oficial, old-fashioned, in love with you, never let you go type of love. 
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Spanish countryside, te quiero.
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Chocolate con churros, te quiero.
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Beautiful architecture, te quiero.
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Authentic Spanish Vino, te quiero.
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La Cuidad Dorada, te quiero.
With February and El dia de San Valentin coming up soon, I am filled with love!

Love for life, love for adventure, and love for speaking a language that gives me two different ways to express that love!

¡Te quiero, España! Or is it te amo?
 
 
On New Year's Eve in Spain, there is no ball drop. And no big midnight kiss.

Instead, the clock in the Puerta del Sol of Madrid chimes for the last 12 seconds of the old year. With each chime, you must eat one grape.

Both a Spanish tradition and superstition, it is said that if you finish all of your grapes, you will have 12 months of good luck for the new year. 

Good luck never comes easily though.
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Be careful...they have seeds!
I was nervous about primarily, finishing the grapes. Secondly, I was envisioning myself choking on the seeds inside, not being able to ring in the new year at all. Also, being surrounded by friends and their family members, I didn't want to look like an unattractive grape-hog. 

I will admit, I struggled with a few of the grapes. And a few others, I concentrated on a bit more. The 2nd grape: February. My applications for next year are due. The 4th grape: April. My brother's wedding. The 11th grape: November. My 25th birthday. All symbolizing a year that is yet to come. 

Overall, I had no problem, and finished them like a true campeón

There are other Spanish traditions related to the doce uvas. Standing on your right foot while eating them will help you begin the new year in the 'right' way. And dropping your ring in your glass of champagne for the first toast of the new year is said to bring luck as well.

Another tradition says that wearing red (red underwear especially) on New Year's Eve in Spain brings good luck. But, they have to be gifted to you by somebody else.

What are some traditions or superstitions you have for New Year's Eve?
 
 
Things I have learned during the past 3 months:
-How to use a city bus system.

-Don't sweat the small stuff. You will miss that bus, take the wrong turn, and say the wrong verb conjugation sometimes. No pasa nada.

-There will always be things that remind you of your home, no matter where you are.
-Watching movies in Spanish > watching movies in English, especially the romantic ones.

-The rules of futból.

-The actual words to the Macarena.
-How to really enjoy a cup of coffee when I need that caffeine in my sangre the most.

-The reasoning behind "From the lost to the river" and "Very well, Fandango."

-Where the best tapas are.
-A little bit of Portuguese. "Nossa, nossa..."

-Eat it first, then ask what it is. 

-Sometimes the best experiences will come from the unplanned, inexpensive, kind-of-strange adventures.
-Skype is the best invention for holidays away from home.

-How to make a mean authentic Spanish paella.

-The best siestas can come from just 10 minutes of closing your eyes in silence after a long day of high-schoolers.

-Blogging is fun. And helps you share the things you love with people who may never know them.

-It's important to make new friends from different places and cultures.
And the most important lesson I've learned in my year in Spain so far is the power of being positive. So, here in Europe, there in America, or wherever you are, live life with a good attitude, and disfruta la vida even when things don't work out as planned.
 
 
I don't particularly believe in New Year's Resolutions. Let me clarify.

I believe in constantly resolving your life to be the best version of yourself, in everything you do and everywhere you go. 

That being said, I do think that the new year is a beautiful time to begin this. A new date on the calendar means a fresh start for most people. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot.

But, is once a year really enough?

Here are my most recent resolutions. Maybe they will take a year. Maybe more. Maybe less!

Resolutions:

-Become more disciplined.

-Learning something new every day.

-Cut out the difficult things in life.

-More fiesta, less siesta.

-Blog more. (Lucky for you!)

-Go an entire day without speaking a single word in English.

-Take more chances.

-Save dinero.

Whatever your resolutions, why wait until January 1st to start them?
 
 
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I used red and green veggies for Christmas colors!
While home for the holidays, I wanted to bring a bit of Spanish culture to my family's taste buds. With a suitcase full of Spanish olives, wine, jamón, and cheese, they were pleasantly surprised at all of Spain's sabores.

The new cocinera in me made a Christmas Paella on Christmas Eve. But there was one more thing I wanted to share, my favorite Spanish food.
An authentic Spanish Tortilla de Patatas. 

Tortilla
 as we call it in Spain, is not what an American would think of when they hear that word. But this is not a flattened piece of bread to make tacos. Nor is it a triangular chip. In fact, it has no relation to tacos at all.

Otherwise known as Tortilla Española, or Spanish Omelet in English, a tortilla is probably one of the most common foods in Spain.
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Can you tell I made this in Florida? PUBLIX!
To make a tortilla, you will need:

-4 Eggs
-3 Potatoes 
-Oil
-Salt


I added onions to mine, and in the past I have also added peppers. Depending on the size you want the tortilla to be, you can add more of each ingredient.
Chop the onions and slice the potatoes, then salt them and fry them over hot oil until they are tender enough to cut with a fork. 
Scramble the eggs (I use a little bit of milk to make the eggs a little fluffier) and add salt.

Pour the eggs onto the potato and onion mixture and let it cook, pushing the sides in as pictured until there is little or no goo-ey-ness on top.
Now comes the tricky part. The flip. 

Both sides need to be cooked, so the tortilla needs to be flipped onto a plate, and then slid back into the pan for the other side to cook.
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Cmon baby, let's do the flip.
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Back into the pan to cook the other side.
When your finished product comes out, it should be round and delicious looking.

I cut mine into squares, and served it hot, right next to my Christmas Paella, for a little bit of Spanish cheer. 
 
 
I have been home for almost a week. And in that week, I have been indulging in many of the American things I have missed the last four months living in Europe. 

One of them, Starbucks Peppermint Mochas.
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Is there anything that says Christmas as much as a peppermint-flavored, over-priced coffee in a holiday-red cup?
While at Starbucks, I placed my order, and gave them my name, per usual. 

It was what happened next that shocked me.

As I went to use the one-person bathroom inside while waiting for my coffee to be made, I shut the door behind me, and waved my hands in the air to turn on the light. After a few seconds of this, I realized something.

I am in the United States now. The lights don't react to a censor, like in Europe. There is an actual light switch! And there I was, waving my arms around like an idiot, wondering what was wrong with this bathroom.

You have seen the Reasons Why I am 25 percent Spanish. Almost exactly 3 months from that blog post, being back in the States has shown me just how Spanish I am becoming.

How Spain is Changing Me:
-I'm never hungry here until actual lunch time. That is, 2:30pm.

-I told my little brothers they needed to put on socks while walking around on the tile floor.

-I can't help but sit and enjoy my coffee instead of walking around with it.

-I no longer pull out my cell phone during family dinners.

-I speak in Spaniard-English to everyone.
Examples: "It's the same." "Tell me." "And you?" and "As you want."

-I ate a piece of fruit last week with a knife and fork.

-Spicy stuff is seriously spicy for me. I even found myself thinking "¡pica!" when I bit into dinner last night. 

-I knew right away that the man on the phone in the store yesterday was from Argentina because of his Spanish accent.

-I want to sit and eat in a restaurant for hours and hours, not get up when we are finished.

-Staying true to my blog title, I still want to take a siesta everyday.

What do you think....am I 40 percent Spanish by now?
 
 
During my 9 hour flight over the Atlantic I was not in the best mood.

I was happy to be coming home, claro, but I was a little fed up of the improper traveling etiquette I saw all around me. 
10 tips for the Non-Experienced Traveler: 
(Yes, I'm talking to you, people from flight 741 that made my day a little bit longer...)

1. At security, your shoes come off. And your belt. Is it necessary to step through the scanner three times before you realize you are wearing a metal belt with bottle caps all over it? 

2. Coats and jackets go on top of luggage. It's like Tetris, people. Only so much space for so many things. Make it happen.

3. Incessant talking is not something anyone can handle for 9 hours straight. I love talking about Spain, and I'm sure your night in Salamanca was very crazy, but enough is enough. This isn't a tea party.

4. Arm rest space is 50/50. Can't you take the hint with the gentle nudge I'm giving you with my forearm? 

5. Don't even get me started on raising the armrest. Don't you know it is there to set boundaries? I just met you, I'm not that kind of girl.

6. I think you're great. But, also, I don't want to straddle you while going to the bathroom. This isn't a movie theater. You're not blocking anyones view. Stand up and let me out. The leg swing is just, not cool.

7. Hey David Guetta, turn down your Ipod, DJ. I can hear you from 2 rows back OVER my in-flight movie.

8. I can't lie, rubbernecking me and looking out my window gives me a little bit of a creepy vibe. 

9. Window shade: open or close. Choose one and stick to it.

10. And finally, an apology, because I'm sorry person behind me, but I feel entitled to the right to recline. There is only so much space.

Am I a cynical traveler? Not at all. Do I love flying? Yes.

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, and all of the bad etiquette aside, I love the experience of traveling no matter how long the flight. 

For those who don't know proper airline etiquette...if nothing else, you make things interesting! Now that you've read my blog, hopefully you know what not to do.
For those of us who are experienced travelers, no matter how long the flight or how bad the day, we know there is no feeling quite like arriving at your destination. For me on this particular trip, nothing could put me in a better mood than coming home, finally.