How do you know you've become a local?

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10 Oct 2012 12:36 by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 408 posts Send private message

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 How do you know when you've become a local? I think becoming a local isn't quite the same as feeling integrated. I think when you feel integrated you are part of the system, part of the culture, you feel that Spain is more your country than your country of origin. Like when "La Roja" wins a match you get more excited than when England wins a match. Becoming a local I think is when things that were unusual when you arrived are suddenly normal and aren't a subject for discussion like :

  • Seeing people drink alcohol at 10 in the morning and mixing whisky with their coffee.
  • ordering a beer with your McDonalds
  • You stop saying "please" for everything and imply it with your tone of voice
  • Not to give two kisses to someone you meet feels very rude
  • Eating lunch at 2:30 and having dinner after 9 pm is normal
  • mixing lemon soda with wine is quite acceptable after all.
  • eating bread with absolutely everything becomes a must
  • when people turn up on time you are pleasantly surprised!
  • when strangers say good morning to you because they've seen you around and about.
  • parking your car in double row with the handbrake off is not such a scary thing
  • seeing whole skinned rabbits at the meat counter doesn't shock you anymore

These are just a few. But for those who have been living here for a while when did you feel you became a local?

 

 



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10 Oct 2012 13:27 by Poppyseed Star rating. 898 posts Send private message

Well I qualify  using all your examples and I don't live there full time! I personally feel wherever I am and I'm no longer the one asking the "how to, where is, what if, who does", questions but the one answering them then I'm somewhere on the way, but a 'real' local, not sure if you ever are. Of course this a personal opinion and everyone will have their own feelings about it.



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10 Oct 2012 21:46 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

The support for sports team is an important one.  My brother has lived in Scotland for 30 years and a couple of years ago came down for the Scotland-Wales rugby match.  In the last five minutes (when many Welsh fans had left the stadium unable to watch Wales go down the pan), two Scottish players were sent off and Wales scored 17 points to just beat Scotland.  My husband and I felt fantastic - it was a deserved victory, the Scottish had played dirty etc.; my brother was outraged!  That was when we knew he had turned.  I must say I was surprised as I thought you never forgot where you came from and went to your deathbed knowing this.  I wouldn't expect ever to feel Spanish or any other nationality other than Welsh and British.  So, I think it would be very rare to feel as though you were a local in a Spanish town or village, because you're not, are you?  But, maybe you could, Mac, because of what you said before about not having one place of origin to which you really felt you belonged. 

Integration is different.  I think you can get very integrated and be accepted pretty well, although as foreigners we're bound to seem a bit weird.  In our village in Spain it's pretty rare to see the local women in the bar, but no-one bats an eyelid at foreign women being there.  I think evidence of being integrated can include things like:

*  when my neighbour told me to shut up as I started offering helpful suggestions about where she might have mislaid her purse

*  when my son got whacked around the head by his friend's grandmother for being cheeky

*  when you are able to have a good row with someone who's trying to rip you off or cheat you in some way

*  when you give up your table to 'tourists,' knowing the bar owner needs to seat the big spenders

*  when you are given a nickname by the locals (both my kids had these, but we never found out if we had them!)

etc.   Maybe others can think of more examples.



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11 Oct 2012 00:04 by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 408 posts Send private message

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 Eggcup the example you gave about your son being whacked around the head is priceless! He has certainly been accepted. It might sound strange to some but he is being treated the same way she would treat her own grandchildren. your point about giving up tables is a great one too, simple solidarity to the community, very Spanish.

Your point about your brother "turning" is probably how I feel, partially becasue as you remembered, I don't reallly feel I have any roots but also becasue I think it is because I have returned so few times to the UK that the roots just whither away eventually. My Uncle moved to the States 30 years ago and he considers himself Amercian now. You never forget where you come from, there is always something there in the back of your mind and your heart but some emotions are spontaneous and those are the emothions forged by your surroundings which inevitable do change you. I have certainly changed as a person since I have lived here and I think that has been a major part of integrating. I hope not in a bad way!  I hope I have kept the good things that my British upbringing gave me and I have adopted the good things that the Spanish way of life has taught me.

As far as women in bars, come to Valencia, loads of them! Village life is a bit more traditonal though and there is still a lot of male chauvinism in the villages. The foreigners don't count because they are "foresteros" and don't have to abide by local rules.

other examples:

  • when you go into your local bar with a €50 note asking for change for the cigarette machine. Doesn't have enough but gives you the the 4 euros you need anyway and says "give it to me the next time you are in"!
  • When you order a whisky on the rocks back in the UK and sincerely feel you are being ripped off.
  • When you ask someone for directions and they say follow me I'll take you there, rather than explain it.
  • You're amazed when TV Ad breaks last less than half an hour and programmes only last for 45 minutes.
  • When it doesn't surprise you to see workers taking their own food to eat in the bars only order drinks and coffee.
  • When you don't eat seafood on Christmas Eve it doesn't feel like Christmas anymore.

 

Any more examples out there?

 

 

 

 

 



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13 Oct 2012 11:56 by mdavidfrost Star rating in Málaga capital. 8 posts Send private message

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You know you've become a local when you...

  • ...trip over and you swear to yourself in Spanish.
  • ...know a word in Spanish but you can't remember the English word.
  • ...go a week without speaking English.
  • ...don't change the language on your mobile to English.
  • ...are asked for directions by Spaniards, you know how to get to the place they're looking for and you can tell them in Spanish.
  • ...go to the court alone for your divorce.
  • ...meet someone for a date at 10.30 pm.
  • ...go out on a date and two female friends of the Spanish woman tag along for the first two or three hours.
  • ...are the only foreigner in a singles club for golden oldies with 150 members.
  • ...go out with a group from the singles club when it closes at midnight and get home at 5 am.
  • ...pay for Spanish cable television.
  • ...understand the jokes told by stand-up comics on television.
  • ...buy Spanish newspapers in preference to English ones.
  • ...are told by Spaniards that you're medio boquerón (half malagueño).

If I think of more I'll do another post.





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13 Oct 2012 13:43 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

mdavidfrost, you've definitely cracked it and gone native.  How does it feel??  Do you miss your nationality of origin?  Do you feel better to be considered/consider yourself as Spanish?  Whose side would you be on in a war?  Which national side do you support in whatever is your favourite sport?  So many questions, almost as though you were a Martian!



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13 Oct 2012 14:23 by mdavidfrost Star rating in Málaga capital. 8 posts Send private message

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I'm still English but I feel European, too. Even though I'm definitely not Spanish I generally go out with Spanish-speaking women, although I have been out with two English speakers in the past year.

I hate all sport and war, but this is irrelevant, because neither Spain nor the UK is likely to start a war against the other.





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13 Oct 2012 14:28 by smugfk Star rating. 16 posts Send private message

 When you start posting in spanish on spanish forums!





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13 Oct 2012 14:32 by mdavidfrost Star rating in Málaga capital. 8 posts Send private message

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A lot of my Facebook posts are in Spanish.





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14 Oct 2012 10:43 by alant Star rating in Alto Guadiato, North.... 10 posts Send private message

 When the wife goes shoping and you tell her to call at the two bars to pay your bills from last night.



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15 Oct 2012 15:50 by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 408 posts Send private message

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 mdavidfrost  your point on knowing a word in Spanish and not remebering it in English, happens to me all the time!

I also find my self sometimes using a Spanish word and literally converting it to  English and I am convinced that it exists and is used in that context, becasue it sounds so normal. Only for my father or a friend to say, we don't say it that way! That must be Spanish thing.

You start to wonder, hell am I losing my English?!!!!

 

 



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15 Oct 2012 19:29 by mdavidfrost Star rating in Málaga capital. 8 posts Send private message

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I think I really knew I'd become a local when I was elected president of my community, the only foreigner and English-speaker in a building near the centre of Málaga with 78 apartments - plus council offices, a supermarket, a greengrocer's, a baker's, a café, a bar, a hamburger joint, two social clubs and a legionnaires' club.

Just after buying my apartment I went to a meeting of the community and a woman was elected president. A neighbour whispered to me asking if I'd like to be vice-president, and I thought, why not? After all, there'd be a Spanish president, so there wouldn't be a lot of work, but it would be an interesting experience. So I was elected vice-president.

 

Then the president started bringing all the correspondence to me asking what we should do. I wondered why she was asking me so often, until one day a neighbour took me aside and told me that our new president couldn't read or write. So I was president except in name.

 

There were problems. We needed new lifts, but a vocal minority was against raising the community payments to pay for them, even though there was a possibility that the lifts would fail a safety inspection so we wouldn't be able to use them. Also, there was a problem of non-payment of monthly community dues.

 

So after six months I got together a group of neighbours and agreed to stand as president provided I had a vice-president and committee members prepared to get involved and help me. We were all elected, because we went round collecting written authorisations to vote for us from people who didn't want to attend the meetings. The woman president was delighted to be relieved of the responsibility.

 

Now we have new lifts and the entrance lobby has been renovated, with new tiles on the floor and walls and new letter boxes. We took the non-payers to court and there is only one person owing a few months' payments.

 

As president I sometimes was asked to sort out disputes. For example, two women couldn't agree which clothes lines on their floor in the interior patio belonged to who. There were five lines, so I suggested that each used two at either side, and the one in the middle they shared on a first-come, first-served basis. They both accepted this, although why they couldn't work it out for themselves I don't know.

 

It was certainly an interesting experience, and I was elected twice, but I'll never do it again. Nor would I criticise the president of my community unless he did something really outrageous. Once you've given up being president you become part of an exclusive group of kindred spirits made up of ex-presidents.

 


This message was last edited by mdavidfrost on 15/10/2012.


This message was last edited by mdavidfrost on 15/10/2012.


This message was last edited by mdavidfrost on 15/10/2012.


This message was last edited by mdavidfrost on 15/10/2012.


This message was last edited by mdavidfrost on 15/10/2012.


This message was last edited by mdavidfrost on 15/10/2012.



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23 Oct 2012 17:11 by TonyT Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

When you feel confident enough to crack a joke with a barman that includes a word made up from two Spanish words to indicate your standing in the community.

I visit La Carihuela near Torremolinos so regularly that now - "Soy no residente, Soy no tourista, soy medio de cada - Soy una Residista (esta mejor de touridente)!"   (I'm not a resident, I'm not a tourist, I'm half of each - a Residist!  (it's better than an Tourident)!

OR:  When the locals say "Have you been ill, I haven't seen you for some time!"

 





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24 Oct 2012 11:51 by eos_ian Star rating in Valencia. 488 posts Send private message

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 You know you've become a local and integrated when you start to use the third person plural : We, Our , when you talk about Spain and the Spanish.



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27 Oct 2012 12:19 by mdavidfrost Star rating in Málaga capital. 8 posts Send private message

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You know you've become a local when you haven't been out all day because it's raining (and anyway there won't be anyone in your favourite bar for the same reason).





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27 Oct 2012 13:49 by camposol Star rating in Camposol. 1408 posts Send private message

eos ian-third person plural is "they" not we, which is first person plural, or at least it was when I was at school!





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27 Oct 2012 20:31 by eos_ian Star rating in Valencia. 488 posts Send private message

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 You are quite right! :) Typo, the point is : when you stop using third person plural and start using first person plural. 



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