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By Jamie Isabel Rosado

I was both looking forward to and dreading my visit to Spain. I knew that it would not be pointless but I wondered how much I could learn. Although I have never been to the city of Cadiz before I have been to Spain over six times and have seen the country extensively. I also have spoken the language and eaten the food all my life. After circumstance derailed my plan to go back to sites I have already been to, playing tour guide to my friends. I began to think about Horace Miner’s article on the Nacirema. In that article the author does an analysis of a “strange new culture” and it turns out to be about the American people.  I began to pay attention to the little things others may not notice or not be able to fully understand.

As I walked down the Main street of Cadiz I stopped to ask a man for directions and before answering me he asked me where I was from. When I told him his reply was “I knew you were a colonial,” then he told me where to go. While in Sevilla I inquired of a museum attendant as to the price of entrance and he also asked me where I was from. After I told him he said that today the museum was free for colonials and their friends.

The first time I came to Spain I was somewhat taken aback by people always guessing where I was from based on my choice of words. It would be unfair to saw that English speakers don’t do the same thing but though we may do it we don’t preface the answer to a question with “Where are you from?”  The last time I was here was two years ago and every time someone would ask me where are you from I would respond with one phrase, “Vale” or basically, does it make a difference? That would always elicit a laugh and an "of course not."

One of the few complaints that SAS people seemed to have about Spain was the casual indifference they received from the general population.  I had to run to catch the train back from Cortadura. I was on board seconds before the train doors closed and had to walk up the moving train  to get to a vacant seat. As I was walking the train suddenly rocked and I lost my balance and was forced to drop one of my bags to keep my balance. After I had recovered my wits I picked up my things and sat in the last vacant seat. The first thing to run through my head once settled was that nobody had seemed to notice my acrobatic act. Then I began to relax and began to have a conversation with the man sitting across from me about the Journal of Infectious Medicine he was carrying and comparative rates of infection. As our conversation winded down to an end, he asked me “are you all right?”  Yeah I said I’m fine.  

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