i married a spaniard

As some of you already know, my husband hails not from the good old US of Hey but rather from a city on the coast of Northern Spain by the name of Santander.

Me in Santander looking pretty.
Me in Santander looking pretty.

Santander is the capital of the Spanish region known as Cantabria, and though the city itself was officially founded in 1755, its origins date as far back as 26 B.C. It is a beautiful port city with mild, oceanic weather and a population of almost 200,000 people, and because I have no shame and will try to hook readers any way I can, I will now casually mention the fact that the 2001 Nicole Kidman movie The Others was filmed there as well.

*clears throat*

So anyway. As you can imagine, It’s all kinds of interesting being married to a Spaniard. He and his family have welcomed me with open arms into their rich and celebrated culture, teaching me more than I could have ever thought possible about their beliefs and traditions and stuff and junk and whatnots. And I hope you’re interested in learning about these things too, because I was just settling in to tell you ALL about them, whether you wanted me to or not.


Here we go!

1. In a Spanish family, you must NEVER. EVER. put your shoes on the table or your purse on the floor. Putting your shoes on the table risks bringing all manner of bad luck upon you and your family, and a purse on the floor means your ass ’bout to be as broke as all hell. FOR REAL, SON.

However, dirty socks on the living room floor are perfectly acceptable. Apparently.

If you have a keen eye, you will notice that there are FOUR socks here. Which means that a) the original pair of dirty socks had a pair of dirty sock babies, or b) this was done on two separate occasions. I’ll leave you to solve the mystery.

2. If you have any knick-knacks or tchotchkes in the shape of elephants, they must always have upturned trunks and face away from the door or else BAD LUCK. While this superstition is not Spanish per se, I first learned of it from my husband and his family so in my mind it counts. (There’s also some debate about whether the elephant should face towards or away from the door. My husband’s family says away.)

Now hear this. I may believe in a mysterious bearded man who walks on water and lives in the sky, but I absolutely refuse to assign destiny-altering powers to inanimate objects. Mainly because I AIN’T CRAY. I do want my house to look good, however, and having decorations facing *backwards* is a concept I find totally and completely ridiculous. It offends my sense of design on a deep and almost visceral level. Thus, my husband and I have committed to waging a long, drawn-out, incredibly passive-aggressive battle over this particular item:

2014-07-07 14.59.09
I think this elephant candle holder that I got for $2 at Kroger looks completely stupid facing backwards (as is pictured above.) So after my husband goes to work I turn it around. Then when he gets home he turns it back. This has been going on for five years.

3. Spanish people eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I know this doesn’t sound so bad, but let me clarify — it’s not like you’re allowed to eat these twelve grapes calmly and at your leisure. Oh no. You have to eat one grape per bell chime at midnight — if you’re shitty at math, that’s one grape per second for twelve seconds.

Think about that. I mean really think about it. Actually, no. Go into your kitchen and get just one single grape and see how long it takes you to eat it. I bet it takes hella longer than one second. What I’m trying to say here is that eating twelve grapes in twelve seconds is pretty much impossible, which I guess is why it’s supposed to bring you a year of good fortune if you can manage it. But I’ve been with my husband for thirteen years and I don’t remember anyone in the family EVER actually doing it.

(SIDE NOTE: I hate fruit, so I try to bypass this particular tradition when and if at all possible. Unfortunately, I usually get suckered into at least making the attempt. When that happens, I just eat one single grape over the course of twelve seconds and then sneak the other eleven into the garbage. ¡Feliz Año!)

4. In a Spanish family, getting off of the phone can take anywhere up to 100 hours. Seriously. I’m not kidding around. This is my husband getting off the phone with his mother:

Husband: “OK. Ok, Mamá. Adios.”
Husband: (listening)
Husband: (listening)
Husband: “Sí. Sí.”
Husband: (listening)
Husband: “Sí, sí, sí. Adios. Sí.”
Husband: (laughs)
Husband: “Adios, Mamá. Adios.”
Husband: (listening)
Husband: (listening)
Husband: “Ok. Sí. Adios. Adios. Adios.”
Husband: (listening)
Husband: “Ok.” (laughs) “Sí, sí, sí. Adios.”
Husband: “…what?”

5. The country of Spain has generated some amazing food phenomena that fortunately have nothing to do with grapes. Check it:

  • Olives and olive derivatives everywhere;
  • Paella (Rice with all kinds of delicious shit in it. My wonderful mother-in-law makes it with calamari, scallops, shrimp, sausage, and chicken);
  • Torrijas (French toast on Easter);
  • Turrón (nougat candy on Christmas); 
  • Croquetas (and tapas in general…yum);
  • Churros con chocolate;
  • Churros con chocolate; and did I mention?
  • Churros con chocolate.


There are so many more things I could write about but I’m running out of time and space so I’ll have to come back to them on some future occasion. For now, I feel the need to mention that — in all seriousness — I truly love my Spanish husband and his family. Very, very much. I tease them about some of their cultural “quirks” just as they tease me about some of mine. And isn’t that what an increasingly global community full of international families should really be about? Making fun of each other’s shit and then laughing about it?

However, there is this one thing that is currently driving me completely fucking NUTS:

Me: “What are you watching?”
Husband: “Wimblundon.”
Me: “It is NOT pronounced that way. I’ve told you a thousand times.”
Husband: “Fine. How is pronounced?”
Husband: “That’s what I said.”
Me: “No it isn’t. Repeat after me. WIM. BULL. DONE.”
Husband: “WIM. BULL. DONE.”
Me: “Yes!”
Husband: “Wimblundon.”
Me: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Lucky for him he’s hot.

Another picture I took in Santander because butts.
Another picture I took in Santander because butts.

38 Replies to “i married a spaniard”

  1. That’s about how long it takes all the women in my family to get off the phone. Every.Single.Time.

    1. Thanks Kate! I’m just waiting for someone to get in my face about being all “racist” but in the meantime I ‘m going to happily take as many compliments as I can get 🙂 <3

  2. Marriage licenses should include a stipulation that you are A-OK correcting your husband’s obvious pronunciation of obviously easy words. Mine is from Maryland but talks like he’s from Swamp People and I’m constantly biting my tongue during conversations. I don’t know if “constantly corrected me bad grammar” is a legit reason on a divorce decree.

    1. I am willing to give my husband a *little* bit of free reign with mispronunciation because of his incredibly thick accent, but at the same time, he knows DAMN. WELL. that it is not pronounced “Wimblundon.”

      Though I do take pride in the fact that I finally broke him of the habit of calling it an “Egg MackMoofin.”

  3. HOWWWWW did I not know this about you??? My husband is from Peru and we experience eerily similar situations to what you describe here. He always drops the “e” of of any word that begins with an “e.” So the Ford Escape is called the “Ford Scape.” And they rub eggs on their babies to vanquish evil spirits or something. And yes, putting your purse on the floor “makes your money go.” Nothing translates well.

    1. EXACTLY about the purse translation! It “makes money go” or “makes money go away.” Like it’s going to get up out of the purse and walk out the door all “SEE YA.”

  4. I once dated a Lebanese guy who grew up in Belize. No, this is not a limerick. Anyway, I had to do the FROZEN grapes at midnight thing. YUCK!! They were sourish. Never again. I’d rather just drink wine.

    1. And I don’t know why but my parents-in-law always insist on getting these HUGE Sam’s Club genetically engineered grapes the size of your head. CAN WE NOT JUST GET TEENY ONES PLEASE. THANK YOU.

  5. dos socks + dos socks = kids/husband at large.

    You are hilarious. And you knocked the MIL ball out of the park if her Paella recipes tastes half as cray cray delish as it sounds.

  6. When I was in high school and college, my dream guy was a hot latino–with all of the culture and accents that go with it. I married the whitest white Irish man ever. But it’s okay–‘cuz he’s hot.

    P.S. “Making fun of each other’s shit and then laughing about it?” YES.

  7. HAHAHAH…awesome.

    Although, I think his mother and my mother might be related, even though she is not Spanish. It’s impossible to just ‘end’ a call with her.

  8. My husband is of Latvian origin (his dad was born there) and was raised in Philly. The raised in Philly part is what I hear about often.

    “I grew up in that neighborhood!”
    “That’s nice honey, I have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.”

    “Oh man I could seriously go for a REAL cheesesteak at [insert location here].”
    “Yea well, we’re in Vegas. Go to Capriotti’s.”
    “Meh. It’s not the same.”
    “No shit but at least it’s something.”

    In all fairness though, he has to put up with my daydreaming about the SF Bay Area so it works out.

    Now, about that butt. That is freaking hilarious!

  9. Oh man, I love Spaniards. I studied abroad in Madrid and before that time I never understood just how slow moving an entire population of people could be. It was like someone took a giant bucket of tar and dumped it on the city and then had people walk through it to get to their churrros. That was the pace. I never learned about not putting my purse on the floor, but I’ve also been broke for years so that may explain it.

    1. Speaking of purses, when I was in Barcelona I liked watching the tag-team purse thieves. They were awesome. One of them would be in some kind of costume and distracting tourists on La Rambla, the other one would be snatching wallets out of open purses. That really does make you broke as all hell!

  10. My French in-laws say the same thing about shoes on the table. Then they buy my kids tons of shoes and make me hold them until we leave. Dude, they’re still in the package. Sure I can’t set them on the table? Or maybe you could give them to me as we’re leaving? Yes, I know I’m complaining about free shoes but still.

    And my French husband usually says most words correctly but instead of “reassured” he says “reinsured.” Like, if our baby is crying, “she just needs to be held to be reinsured.” She needs coverage from an insurance company that insures insurance companies? I think she’s a bit young to be worried about that. Maybe let’s just hug her.

    1. Amen to the one word that they constantly say wrong. Husband says the word “conscience” as “conscious” and it drives me bonkers. “He doesn’t have a conscious!” *face palm*

  11. After reading this, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend has a Spanish background. Whenever people try to say bye to him, he starts blabbing until they literally start walking away while he’s talking. And he doesn’t seem to notice!

    But I guess he must be only be part Spanish because he doesn’t eat grapes. And I won’t even try the 12 grapes at midnight thing. I’d probably end up choking on them.

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