This Must be New Spain

Published on 15/11/2006 in Spanish Culture

It’s mid Saturday morning and I am in the supermarket picking up some last minute bits for this evening’s barbecue.

The ranks of England’s faithful are filling their trolleys with excellent bottles of “Comportillo” – red and white wine at €1.65 per bottle - in anticipation of a joyous afternoon and evening. I have spotted in the queues at each checkout, around ten customers deep, perhaps twenty Three Lion shirts.

This afternoon it’s England v Paraguay.

These are not tourists in any usual sense. Largely this group will comprise expats. Roughly this translates to mean very long-term visitors or even those, like me, who has gone the whole hog and obtained Residencia.

Spain is our new home but there are times when ancient tribalism takes hold.

The more we live here the more we love it.

We gravitate to shops such as “Mercadona”, an excellent supermarket chain full of typically Spanish produce – or at least it was. I noticed a stack of Heinz Baked Beans today for the first time…..

As luck would have it I can get some excellent morcillas, chorizos and salchichas blancas – Spanish sausages - and nip to the English Butcher along the street to top up on the Cumberland’s and the best back bacon.

Fast forward to the afternoon when I gather with my young son and a few friends from the neighbourhood at a local Italian restaurant to eat pizza and pasta watch England v Paraguay on a TV made in South Korea. We struggle a bit to keep the bright Mediterranean sunshine off the screen – the restaurant overlooks the beach.

After all the hype, including 30 plus of background in the Sun, €2 and printed in Spain, but this Saturday, more importantly for my Son, it contains a free beach ball in Saint George colours with “Come On England” printed on it, the game starts. Like the spirit of ‘66 it lies a little deflated by Sunday morning. There follows a dull display of football punctuated in the 4th minute by an own goal to ease the journey up the Group B table for England’s trophy hopes.

I guess we may watch future games.

Returning home I am congratulated by my Dutch neighbour pensive about his teams first round clash with Serbia and Montenegro on Sunday afternoon.

After trying to paint the railings outside our home, the paint hardening on impact because of the heat, my Sunday afternoon is spent, sitting on the edge of the sofa as the 20 year old tennis genius, Rafael Nadal, took apart the Worlds No.1, Roger Federer, at Roland Garros. Winning convincingly for the second time.

I cannot wait for Wimbledon.

20 years old….. He must have been presented with his precious Babolat racquet as he toddled clear of his pushchair.

The fact that this youngster hails from my newly adopted country allows me to have a specific feeling of partiality when he holds high that Silver rose bowl in Paris evening sun. Frankly, his performance was far more exciting than England's team debut in Germany.

Whilst I was watching Rafa’s victory in France, Fernando Alonso romped home to a 13-second victory at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix. Are these successes just coincidence? I don’t really think so.

A number of my kids school friends, aged around 11 years old, are already in full time tennis training whilst handling their school work when its dark. I suspect two, an English girl and a Scot lass, will bring future glory to their ancestral countries. Another boy has a training contract with Manchester City and a fourth lad, like the others pre-pubescence has attained a Carting racing championship of Andalucia as he heads for the International Circuit.

The motivation for these youngsters, their training and opportunity is substantially available by the shed load in this part of the World. The out door life is the lifestyle.

I used to think that Nationalism was just about pride in your own Nation. Whilst the expression “Nation” has caused great difficulty in recent months because of the somewhat tense relationship between Spain and the Catalan Region, its high time we all looked a little beyond our political borders.

We do not need to deny our origins or give up all those things that hail from “Home” – Marmite now in tubes is a clash of cultures but essential non the less – but petty nationalism is the fuel of the Far Right and I thought we had all grown out of that.

The founding fathers of the European Union envisaged a “melting pot” of states where residents would be free to travel, live and work amongst the other states in a seamless and macro sense of freedom.

Language is divisive, so it would ease things greatly for me and fellow Mother tongue Anglo Saxons, if you would all kindly speak English. If not we’ll try to meet you halfway and make some crashing verbal abominations. At least we will try to “get by”.

The expression “Expat” envisages that you are somewhere and hail from somewhere else. I don’t accept that you are incomplete without a football team or national anthem to define you. I had a tear in my eye when the Spanish flag was raised over Paris and young Nadal was clearly very moved.

I agree that we will gravitate to those communities where comfort is gained from familiarity. For example, I will always be a Chelsea fan. However, it seems we are evolving. A recent report carried by on expatica.com explained that the process of “time banking” allowed for greater integration between the old and the newer populations of Spain by bartering services - mutual back scratching leading to greater appreciation and understanding of the other.

I really do hope my kids will happily grow up in Spain knowing that their forebears hailed from the UK and Ireland, mainland Europe and Brazil. What does that make them…I guess “New Spanish”. They will visit and probably want to live in the UK, US or wherever the hell they wish. In being raised in such a cosmopolitan environment they will be equipped to relate to many more people from many more countries without being constrained by the notion of a frontier.

Written by: Mark FR Wilkins

About the author:The Rights Group SL
mark@therightsgroup.com
www.therightsgroup.com
0034 600 343 917

© The Rights Group SL 2007 (Marbella)




Right arrow icon Send to friends   Right arrow icon Printer friendly version    Right arrow icon Submit your own article


Comments:

Only registered users can comment on this article. Please Sign In or Register now.

Comment Using Facebook:




Related articles in this category

A Culture of Benidorm

A Guide to Almeria City

A Guide To The Festivals Of Murcia

A History Of The Spanish Civil War

All About Albarino Wine

All About Tapas

All About Tempting Tempranillo

All You Need To Know About Spanish Wine

An American's Perspective of Spanish Food

Avoiding Misunderstandings In Spanish When You Like Somebody

Books Set in Spain - Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Spain

Christmas in Spain

Christmas Shopping in Spain

Devotion - Spain Celebrates Easter

Do you speak Spanish? What do we mean when we ask if someone speaks Spanish?

Easter in Spain

El Grumpy Gringo - Arts & Crafts

El Grumpy Gringo - At the Butchers

El Grumpy Gringo - Get A Heater!

El Grumpy Gringo - Good Old Telefonica!

El Grumpy Gringo - It ain’t ‘arf hot chum!

El Grumpy Gringo - Labels Over Labels

El Grumpy Gringo - Manners Maketh The Man (or Woman)

El Grumpy Gringo - Signposts

Experience Barcelona's Festival Spirit

Exploring The World Of Spanish Wines

Expose Your Child To Spanish

Five Ways Not to Insult the Locals in Barcelona

Flamenco Music - Is it really from Spain?

Follow The Festive Fun Across Spain

From Colonisation To Loss Of Empire; Nationalism And Decline In 19th Century Spanish And Colonial Art

From the Morris Dance to the Flamenco

Gaudi - Barcelona's Most Famous Attraction

Getting Close To The Spanish

Guggenheim Museum Bilboa

Halloween In Spain

Housing Bubble - Underground Living in Lanzarote

How not to give up learning Spanish

How To Kiss A Spaniard

How to Make Spanish Chorizo Sausage

Jamon Serrano - Typical Spanish Ham

La Tomatina Tomato Fight, Buñol Valencia

Language Swap

Learning Spanish - You can do it!

Learning Spanish with Speekee - A Review

Menu of The Day - A Cheap Meal In Spain

Old Friends in New Spain

Pollo al Ajillo - How to Cook the Classic Spanish Garlic Chicken

Processions, Processions, Processions: Semana Santa

Salvador Dali: Son of Girona

Save the Duero

Sherry or Jerez?

Spain After Franco

Spain/UK – A Study of Cultures

Spanish Cava Wine - A Better Alternative to Champagne?

Spanish Culture Has Been Shaped by Numerous Civilizations

Spanish Lies – Book Review

Spanish Sparkling Wine - Four Things to Know About Cava

Sporting Traditions on Gran Canaria

Stub it out in Spain

The Benefits of NOT Learning Spanish

The Magic of the Flamenco Guitar

The Mediterranean Modernistes of Barcelona

The Most Famous Spanish Explorers

The National Art Museum Of Catalonia

The Sirens of La Gomera

The Three Kings - Los Reyes Magos

This Must be New Spain

Top Tips For Learning Spanish - By A 'Mature' Expat

Tortilla Española - Spanish Omelette

Travel, Culture and Study in Spain

Watching TV in Spain

What Makes Spaniards Spaniards?

What We Can Learn From The Spanish

When Cultural Characters Conflict

Why is Spain One of the Most Corrupt Democratic Countries in the world?

Why Spaniards Can Survive La Crisis

Zapping in Spain

Click here for a list of all the articles from our magazine 

Spain insurance services


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x