Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Big Spanish Familia

I am an only child with a family of only children. We're a small bunch. When you combine everyone from my mom and dad's sides, I have four cousins, and one new "niece." (Technically, not a real niece because I am not my cousin's sister, and therefore am not an Actual Aunt. Not sure what the real term is...).

Now, I am living in a family of eight. Mi madre has five older kids, ranging from ages 24-32ish. Three daughters and two sons. Two of her daughters and one of her sons have children, making three nietos. One son lives in his own apartment with his new baby and wife, so that is why they don't count with the eight people I live with. This leaves me living in an apartment with my madre, two sisters, one older brother, and the two grandsons-one being 12, the other 6. It's a big, happy, sitcom-worthy family. Make sense?

I looooove my family. Mi familia es mi amor.

My madre, on top of being such a kind and beautiful person, is an a-maaaaazing cook. She is really considerate about me being vegetarian, even though it makes me feel super guilty. Everything she makes for me is restaurant-caliber.
My sisters are beautiful. All the females in the family remind me of a much more beautiful and lovely version of the Kardashian family. It is easy to see my madre was very beautiful in her youth, and her daughters are all really, really attractive.
My oldest brother, Danny, works in advertising for chocolate/sweets. We have sweets and treats everywhere around the apartment. He is muy muy alto also! When I give him the traditional two-kiss-greeting, I have to stand on my tippy toes.
Juan is the 12 year old nieto. He is really nice, and his favorite movies are LOTR. Good taste, kid.
Juan's mother is Anna. She is really beautiful and nice. She owns a jewelry shop and is also tall. That's all I know for now.
Curro is the six year old. He is extremely sweet and likes talking to me and teaching me how to play games with him. I've always loved kids, so it only took 5 miliseconds for me to fall in love with Curro. His sweet disposition makes it even easier. At this point I can already write a short story about Curro. You can be sure to see his presence on this blog multiple times.
Curro's mom is Mirche. She is also extremely beautiful and looks more like Curro's sister than his mom. She is studying english right now and is going to take a test in April in order to become a nurse. I hope I have more opportunities to help her with her english soon. It is the least I can do.
Anna has a boyfriend (Curro's father) that comes over for dinner. He plays soccer futbol as goal keeper and learned some english in college. He is pretty good! He and Danny, and most of Cordoba, are team Madrid for futbol.
The third and youngest sister is Marta. Marta is 24 and teaches in elementary school. She loves her job, which is so refreshing for me to hear (and gives me hope!!!). Marta is extremely lively and theatrical in the way she talks, but it makes her really fun. Now I kind of get what people mean when they tell me that I am an expressive taker. I wish I could understand spanish better because I feel like that would make Marta's stories more funnier for me. But I'm getting there. I'm too shy right now to ever ask her, but I feel like she and I would have a ton of fun hanging out in the bars/clubs. But, that's a secret for only me to keep.

Living in a big family is a really cool experience for me. Especially in conjunction with the family culture of Spain. Every day, the entire family (including myself) comes home for lunch at 2:00 pm. Lunch is the central meal of the day and lasts about an hour or so. Everyone gathers in the living room and fills it with lively chatter with the television simultaneously on. Young adults living with parents is the norm in Spain, even though all of them are working.

Its very clear from my observations (only two days in) that the family has love and companionship. They tell each other anecdotes, share youtube videos, and describe funny scenarios like a couple of friends sitting at a bar. It's a kind of genuine openness. Its something that you will never find in chinese family etiquette.

 I know that no family is perfect, and that I have only been here two days. But the notion of this large family is very endearing to me. Like how there are so many sounds that fill the hallways and carry to the entire apartment. Or just the extra warmth that is added to a room when there are more bodies to take up that space. There is always lots of delicious food on the table, since there are more people to feed. And even during siesta or late into the evening, when it is relaxing time, the silence isn't as frigid when it is shared with multiple people. Yes, even in silence, the sense of togetherness is very apparent. It wraps around me like an extra blanket that I can snuggle in.

As a very important disclaimer, I have absolutely nothing against my own family. They are the sole shareholders of  my entire, unrelenting love. And my grandparents are extremely dear to me. No one can replace them or anyone in my own family. It is just that this home-stay is both a language and cultural immersion. And being able to be immersed in something so completely new to me was a risk that, thankfully, is turning into a blessing. Comparing the familial behavior of my chinese culture to now is like trying to compare an apple with a light bulb (is the chinese culture the light bulb because we're all...nerds...? Am I subconsciously being racist toward myself and is it even racist if its to myself?! So many questions. I think I need to sleep now...).

My family has become my primary motivator for practicing my spanish speaking. The sooner I can become more fluent the easier it will be for me to communicate and understand. That way I can partake in more conversations and feel more relaxed and confident about doing it. In time I hope!

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy to see you already fall in love with your Spanish family! I can feel vividly the warmth there from your blog and wish we had it here too. Are you sure the difference is Spanish family vs Chinese family? Remember Jiu Ma (Song Li)'s big family in Qingdao?