Recently I decided to start watching the Spanish TV show, Cuéntame cómo pasó, which means “Tell me how it happened.” I watched the show a couple times with my host mother while I was on my off-campus program in Madrid last fall, and I really liked it. I found out that network has a website with recent complete episodes. The show is a sort of historical fiction about a family living toward the end of the Franco regime, which was an ultraconservative fascist dictatorship that lasted until 1976 when the dictator, Francisco Franco, died. In the show, Franco died about 6 episodes ago, so Spain is transitioning to democracy and freedom.
Spain is still part of my life. After eating meals, I always need to sit for a while before getting up from the table, which is very Spanish. Naps at around 3:00 (siesta) are also a staple for me (I never took naps before Spain). I also find myself accidently using Spanish syntax in English, even now one year after my program. For example, I’ll say “the Friday that comes” or “I have a lot of cold” instead of “next Friday” and “I’m very cold.” Many times I have to stop and ask a friend, “Does what I just said make sense in English?” The answer’s often ‘no.’
Many of my friends went off-campus last year as well, and each brought something from their countries back with them. One of my roommates cooks lots of fantastic Italian food, and another friend learned to adore Karaoke in Japan and convinced a bunch of us to start going (Froggie Bottoms Pub on Thursday nights, if you’re in Northfield). Another friend often finds herself walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk and drinking lots of tea like a Brit. Only a handful of people I know haven’t gone off-campus, but even so they’re still getting small international tastes from those of us who have. Combining that with students who go here from all over the country and all over the world (about 10% international students) creates a really interesting and unique environment which is completely foreign (no pun intended) to the small town Minnesota atmosphere you’d expect from Northfield.