Going Home

8 Jul

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Welcome to my reverse travel blog!  Six years ago, after I graduated college, I moved to Barcelona for what was supposed to be one year abroad.  I jotted down my experiences in a long chain of quickly-filled journals and kept my friends and family in the loop with shamelessly long e-mails.  I never got around to making a travel blog and after a few “one more year’s” Barcelona started to feel less like a new experience that needed to be captured and more like a home.

Now, after I’ve packed up everything I own into three suitcases and said my tearful goodbyes, it’s time to go home- to the good  ol’ US of A, Amurica, Land of Opportunity.  Or, to be more specific, I’m returning to Boston, Massachusetts- Beantown, the Bay State, or as the car license plates always grandiosely remind us, the Spirit of America.

As I embark on this journey back whence I came, I can’t help but feel more scared than I did six years ago as I stepped off the plane into Spain.  I’m nervous I won’t fit in.  Living in Spain, teaching British English (with an American accent) all day, and having a mix of international friends has made me, I think… kind of weird.  During my visits home over the years, I found people looking at me strangely on many occasions; like when I over-enunciated the word “salmon” while ordering at a T.G.I. Friday’s.  Or there was the time I asked a saleswoman at Lord & Taylor where the curtains were and then proceeded to describe their function in case she didn’t fully understand me (“I mean, the fabric you put on the window to stop the sun?  Where would those be?”)  And I remember many instances when a Britishism would pop out of my mouth and I would freeze as my mind raced through a dozen thoughts (“Waaait.  God, I must have picked that up from Beth.  I must sound so pretentious!  Do they even know what that expression means?  Of course they know what that expression means- who do I think I am?  Have I stopped talking?  This has been a really long pause.  Has it reached the point of being awkward?) until I snapped back and would see the person I had been talking to standing with a polite, strained smile on their face and worry in their eyes.  And of course, there were all the times when people would approach me with friendly smiles and cheery voices.  My hand would jump to pull my bag closer to my body as I glared at them suspiciously, only to realize they were asking if there was anything they could help me with or telling me they had read the book in my hand and “absolutely loved it!”

This blog is my nod to Bill Bryson.  I love all his travel writing, but his weekly columns published in the book I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away has a different sort of charm.  After living in England for 20 years, marrying an Englishwoman, and having two English kids, Bryson moved his family to New Hampshire.  His observations were especially interesting because he wasn’t a foreigner discovering a new culture; he was becoming reacquainted with his childhood land now that he had another culture to measure it against.  While Bryson mused over cup holders, tech support and the post office, I find myself most intrigued with the cultural trends that have taken over since I’ve been gone.  My image of America now is of a land where people are treated to flash mobs on their way to work, the Kardashians are multiplying and taking over, hipsters and guidos fight it out for the spotlight, MTV features the everyday lives of pregnant teenagers in lieu of music, bromances are all the rage, it’s not unusual to get in a car accident with Lindsay Lohan, Wall Street is being occupied, and American politics will either make you laugh or cry.  It should be interesting to see how much I’ve got right and just how much more will surprise me.  Pues, adiós España.  Hasta la próxima.  Hello again, USA.  Let’s do this.

Keep an eye out for my next post about Things I Will Miss and Things I Most Certainly Will Not Miss about Spain.

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3 Responses to “Going Home”

  1. Aideen July 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Aw end of an era, beginning of a new one. Hope your naturalisation process (that’s right, I spelled that with an ‘s’) is far from traumatic. Looking forward to all your observations!

    • Lindsay July 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks Aideen! I would probably spell it with an ‘s’ at this point too, but I have a feeling I’ll be changing back to the z’s soon. Next time you see me I’ll be throwing the Boston “wicked” all over the place.

  2. ovejuno1 July 13, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Hi Lindsay! it’s incredible…I’m crying and I hardly know you…It’s really a pity because I had a lot of opportunities to talk to you and now I’m feeling as if I would have been losing my time when I was in front of you trying to practise my English!! I was always talking to you about my life in a negative way when you had to leave Barcelona, and this was more interesting and important than my stressed life…Im really sorry for that…Please forgive me!
    It’s really interesting your point of view about my wonderful and beautiful city. Anyway,Im waiting for reading what you don’t miss about this place where,I don’t know if you have read the news, the IVA (a tax) is going to increase on next Monday…we will be poorer!!!!….Fuck (pls,all american people forgive me for this expression but our Government isn’t very worried about its citizens and I’m very fed up with that, you know).
    And well that’s all for now!! Pls dont forget you can see TRUE BLOOD on Sundays in your country (heheheh..do you like it?)…i love it!It’s amazing!
    We have to talk about our business,haven’t we? Let me know it, ok?
    Have a nice day there and keep in touch. Regards.
    Manel xxxxxxx

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