I'm Marrying a Spaniard
While helping me pack my bags in preparation for my move to Spain, my mother paused, tilted her head and said “You’re going to meet your husband in Spain.” I stopped, gave her an incredulous look and said “Uh huh. And how do you know this?” “I just know”. A mother’s intuition.
I wasn’t convinced. My move to Madrid wasn’t a quest for love — it was a quest for adventure. A year or two in the city that I’d felt calling me back ever since my all too brief summer studying abroad there sounded like the perfect remedy for the uncertainty and doubt about the future that had clouded my brain in the months after college graduation.
Why not take a chance to actually live and work in my beloved Spain? When else if not while young and free to take a risk?
So, I left the US to embark on my Spanish adventure. I ate and drank everything then walked it off exploring the city. I traveled throughout Spain and neighboring countries. I stayed up far too late in the company of friends. I began to polish up my rusty Spanish. I couldn’t have asked for more.
But, more found me. Love found me. A love that is now leading us into a new adventure together: marriage. I could not have imagined myself as I am now, marrying a Spaniard, before my move to Madrid. Dating and a bit of romance had crossed my mind of course, but even with my mother’s eerily accurate prediction in the back of my head, I never anticipated finding the man I will spend the rest of my life in a different country, thousands of miles away from home.
As we’re planning our stateside wedding and a celebration in Spain for next fall, the differences between me, a Black American, and he, a White Spaniard, have become much more noticeable than they are in our everyday life. We want our wedding to truly be a reflection of who we are and where we come from, which is difficult when there are opposing philosophies at play. What kind of music should we play to get everyone dancing? My friends and family get moving with the funkier sounds of R&B, hip hop and soul, his go for more electronic or rock beats. But everyone loves Michael Jackson, right? Language issues, almost non-existent for us, have suddenly risen. Should invitations be in English, Spanish, both? If we register in Spain, will our US guests understand how to navigate a website in Spanish?
However, there’s a beauty in finding these divergences. We’re learning more about each other and our heritage through this process. Discussing whether we should jump the broom began a dialogue about the traditions’ roots in slavery. His mother has helped me understand the Spanish wedding customs and etiquette. Fantastic food and drinks is always universal. It’s a lovely thing to be able to plan such a happy occasion, a merger of two families and cultures, and I’m enjoying the journey. And my mother enjoys being able to say “I told you so”.
Christine is 26 year old native New Yorker who has lived in Madrid, Spain since 2011 and has no desire to leave. She is a teacher, student and lover of a good Ribera de Duero.