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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have always felt that emigration also meant integration. This was borne out yesterday by two incidents that happened, quite independently of each other.
In the morning we heard someone shouting in the vicinity of our back terrace, Mrs H went out to investigate, to return a few minutes later with a very hot Spanish tortilla, still steaming on a plate. It was given to her by one of our neighbours, as she was cooking at the time and wanted "to share it ".
Last night Mrs H invited me to join her at our "local", a very spanish bar a few minutes walk away that we "adopted" some months ago and used only by locals as it is off the "tourist route".
Towards the end of the evening, as most customers headed for home, we were invited to help with the installation of the nativity scene. There is a local competition here each Christmas, where most bars and cafes display their version of the nativity and the mayor awards a prize to the winner.
Our "reward " was a free late night drink with others who helped. As we walked home Mrs H turned to me and said "I feel we truly belong here". I asked why and she replied " because we are accepted ...and that is important ". I could'nt agree more
 

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I really wish I felt like that, but I dont. There are a couple of reasons, one is I feel that until I can speak the language well enough, I cant communicate fully - that said, I'm happy to go and give it my best shot in all situations and have always been met with nothing but kindness and laughter - even with the check out girls in Mercadona, who can be a tad "miserable" alot of thew time lol!! But I think my main problem is that I'm on my own a fair bit and therefore dont go into bars - it doesnt feel right to me to go into these places as a woman alone! When my OH is here we dont go in them much either as neither of us are great drinkers nor great socialisers even in the UK.

I have some British friends here who I go out with from time to time, but again, we dont tend to socialise with "the locals" particularly - well we do, but its in town and there isnt that "community feel" about it. Theres also a british bar I go to occasionally (I use it as a drop off and pick up place when Ruby goes riding) and ...... its obviously full of Brits!

There are two bars in the village here, one thats full of Brits most of the time and the other feels a bit scary cos it only ever seems to be full of spanish men, and as I say, I dont like to go in there alone!!

Jo xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are two bars in the village here, one thats full of Brits most of the time and the other feels a bit scary cos it only ever seems to be full of spanish men, and as I say, I dont like to go in there alone!!

Jo xxx

A strange thing to say Jo...why scary ?
Our local is a "blue collar bar ", full of carpenters, labourers and tradesmen, and they are the most courteous bunch you could wish to meet.
If Mrs H enters with me she is immediately offered a stool by someone. trouble is...she keeps falling off.:D
 

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A strange thing to say Jo...why scary ?
Our local is a "blue collar bar ", full of carpenters, labourers and tradesmen, and they are the most courteous bunch you could wish to meet.
If Mrs H enters with me she is immediately offered a stool by someone. trouble is...she keeps falling off.:D

I guess its cos I'm on my own...... and a guiri!! I dont wanna look like I'm trying to pull - if you know what I mean, besides what would be acheived, I'm hardly gonna find a new best friend in there lol!! - well I hope not!!!!!. I've been in with the kids a couple of times cos they do really nice ice cream and yes they seem nice

Jo xxxx
 

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We have always felt that emigration also meant integration. This was borne out yesterday by two incidents that happened, quite independently of each other.
In the morning we heard someone shouting in the vicinity of our back terrace, Mrs H went out to investigate, to return a few minutes later with a very hot Spanish tortilla, still steaming on a plate. It was given to her by one of our neighbours, as she was cooking at the time and wanted "to share it ".
Last night Mrs H invited me to join her at our "local", a very spanish bar a few minutes walk away that we "adopted" some months ago and used only by locals as it is off the "tourist route".
Towards the end of the evening, as most customers headed for home, we were invited to help with the installation of the nativity scene. There is a local competition here each Christmas, where most bars and cafes display their version of the nativity and the mayor awards a prize to the winner.
Our "reward " was a free late night drink with others who helped. As we walked home Mrs H turned to me and said "I feel we truly belong here". I asked why and she replied " because we are accepted ...and that is important ". I could'nt agree more
Two nice stories that must make you feel very happy - and proud! :)
 

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she was cooking at the time and wanted "to share it ".

We were invited to help with the installation of the nativity scene. There is a local competition here each Christmas, where most bars and cafes display their version of the nativity and the mayor awards a prize to the winner.
Our "reward " was a free late night drink with others who helped. As we walked home Mrs H turned to me and said "I feel we truly belong here". I asked why and she replied " because we are accepted ...and that is important ". I could'nt agree more[/QUOTE]

Thats a really nice thing to share with us .. and especially good for me to hear because i am moving out to Spain in Jan and really hoping to have a similar feeling of intergration !! fingers crossed
 

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Our next door neigbour is Spanish and he took us under his wing from the day we arrived here, and has helped us a lot. I couldnt speak a word of Spanish when I got here so communication was ....... interesting. He speaks french as well so it became a mixture of Spanish, French & English.

We've always almost exclusively gone in bars & restaurants run by Spaniards and they have always been really pleasant, hence my suprise when people post about rude standoffish Spanish people.

Unfortunately we dont live in an area where what Hombre described could happen as we live away from towns. However our friends live in a town below us and in the fiestas during the summer they were invited to paint the streets (as they do) about 2 am one night, and ended up being included in all kinds of things organised by the town and locals
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Our next door neigbour is Spanish and he took us under his wing from the day we arrived here, and has helped us a lot. I couldnt speak a word of Spanish when I got here so communication was ....... interesting. He speaks french as well so it became a mixture of Spanish, French & English.

We've always almost exclusively gone in bars & restaurants run by Spaniards and they have always been really pleasant, hence my suprise when people post about rude standoffish Spanish people.

Unfortunately we dont live in an area where what Hombre described could happen as we live away from towns. However our friends live in a town below us and in the fiestas during the summer they were invited to paint the streets (as they do) about 2 am one night, and ended up being included in all kinds of things organised by the town and locals
I agree 100% with your second paragraph. I have never experienced any rudeness or bad manners from Spanish people...in fact, quite the opposite. They are extremely courteous..total strangers wish us "bon dia" (Catalan) every day whilst out walking. In cafes or , for example, at the doctors, a complete stranger will enter and say "bon dia " , and the whole room will reply.
I do find there is an initial "wariness" with spaniards, but surely that's normal wherever you are. Once they get to know you, they will embrace you.
Learning the language is so important in this discussion. I cannot stress the absolute importance of becoming as fluent as possible as soon as possible.
The respect you receive in return is immeasurable. If we were still in the Uk we would be appalled if immigrants had not learned to speak English after , say, a year or two. Yet I know Brits here in Spain who have been here for years and years and still cannot communicate in Spanish.How they get through life is beyond me, or do they never roam away from their "Brit" enclaves?
 

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I agree 100% with your second paragraph. I have never experienced any rudeness or bad manners from Spanish people...in fact, quite the opposite. They are extremely courteous..total strangers wish us "bon dia" (Catalan) every day whilst out walking. In cafes or , for example, at the doctors, a complete stranger will enter and say "bon dia " , and the whole room will reply.
I do find there is an initial "wariness" with spaniards, but surely that's normal wherever you are. Once they get to know you, they will embrace you.
Learning the language is so important in this discussion. I cannot stress the absolute importance of becoming as fluent as possible as soon as possible.
The respect you receive in return is immeasurable. If we were still in the Uk we would be appalled if immigrants had not learned to speak English after , say, a year or two. Yet I know Brits here in Spain who have been here for years and years and still cannot communicate in Spanish.How they get through life is beyond me, or do they never roam away from their "Brit" enclaves?

I totally agree, I've never come across any hostility or unpleasantness from the Spanish. Sadly, I'm still really struggling with the language, but I always try - I am ashamed that I havent learnt it as well I hoped I would, but I still try and I always apologise for my poor spanish. I havent intergrated into the "spanish" way of life here tho - as I say I'm on my own alot and its not that I dont want to, its just how it is. TBH, I've found that spanish women dont tend to go to bars very much and neither do I . I dont hang around with expats either.

I guess a lot of it depends on where you live. I used to live on a spanish urbanizaçion surrounded by Spanish, who I would try to chat to and they were friendly enough, but they were all professionals who werent around much. Where we live now, is in the middle of nowhere, altho our nearest nieghbours are a british retired couple and theres a Spanish chap who lives in a converted water deposit at the bottom of our lane - but I'm not keen on him - he treats his dogs and horses appallingly, he's a bit creepy and I think he has a drink problem???

But our village has a lot of Brits, who I dont mix with particularly and Spanish who are friendly and pleasant enough, but its not a case of mixing or intergrating as there doesnt seem to be a typical Spanish community here??

Jo xxx
 

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I agree 100% with your second paragraph. I have never experienced any rudeness or bad manners from Spanish people...in fact, quite the opposite. They are extremely courteous..total strangers wish us "bon dia" (Catalan) every day whilst out walking. In cafes or , for example, at the doctors, a complete stranger will enter and say "bon dia " , and the whole room will reply.
I do find there is an initial "wariness" with spaniards, but surely that's normal wherever you are. Once they get to know you, they will embrace you.
Learning the language is so important in this discussion. I cannot stress the absolute importance of becoming as fluent as possible as soon as possible.
The respect you receive in return is immeasurable. If we were still in the Uk we would be appalled if immigrants had not learned to speak English after , say, a year or two. Yet I know Brits here in Spain who have been here for years and years and still cannot communicate in Spanish.How they get through life is beyond me, or do they never roam away from their "Brit" enclaves?
I agree with all of the above, especially the importance of learning the language. We were immediately struck by the warmth and friendliness we encountered when we came here, such a contrast to the surly indifference and downright rudeness so characteristic of the CR. If you ask a Czech friend or aquaintance 'How's things?' a common reply is 'Worse than s***'. That about sums it up.
I suppose living in a place where the sun shines a lot encourages cheerfulness - shorts and Tshirt again today!!:D- but Spaniards seem to have an acute awareness of our shared humanity. I don't think we've passed a single person who hasn't acknowledged our presence with an 'Hola' and cheerful smile.
I think it's extremely rude not to learn the language of your adopted country and as you say we're -rightly IMHO - concerned about immgrants to the UK who don't speak English or attempt to integrate.
As Jo says, it can be difficult to integrate if your village, town street isn't set up to encourage it. Our neighbours are middle-class Spaniards who say Bon Dia when we meet getting our cars out and I have had conversations over the garden fence as it were but I can't see how we would be able to get a foot under the table where we are currently.
Really, though, the situation in that respect isn't much different from middle-class Britain where we are 'keep ourselves to ourselves'.
As Stravinsky wisely pointed out in another thread, we do, as **** sapiens, have a herd instinct.
 

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Great story Hombre. Glad you are welcomed. I am rather hoping a neighbour might offer me her mother-in-law on a plate one day but I guess that is too much to hope for LOL-

Nothing much to add to everything everybody else has said. We all seem in agreement!

I walked into a bar I had not been in for 6/7 months last night to watch the Real Madrid game. The owner treated me as a long-lost friend and even remembered it was agua con gas. Nice feeling of being welcomed. (Mind you a bar that was packed most nights even 12 months ago was strangely quiet and he had a mini blackboard up. "No se permite hablar de la crisis")

I guess I now consider myself more Spanish than English and I suppose I had another Norman Tebbit moment this week. A friend left his Barcelona scarf in the bar we were in - nice guy apart from strange football affinities! I called him to tell him I had found it and noticed the scarf was "Made in Britain". I felt quite irritated by that, to be honest. My gut reaction was that the scarf should have been made in Spain. (If I had thought it should have been made in Catalonia, I´d have the red-carpet from Laporta!)
 

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A friend left his Barcelona scarf in the bar we were in - nice guy apart from strange football affinities! I called him to tell him I had found it and noticed the scarf was "Made in Britain". I felt quite irritated by that, to be honest. My gut reaction was that the scarf should have been made in Spain. (If I had thought it should have been made in Catalonia, I´d have the red-carpet from Laporta!)
Made in Britain :) !!! Good god, don't give it back to your friend - have it framed!!! :D
How many things are "made in Britain" or come to that, Europe, nowadays????
 

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Yes, I was pretty surprised to say the least!

Must have brought Barca luck though - the WORST penalty decision I have seen in 45 years!

(Or was it the 20,000 independence flags?) It will be very interesting to see the results of today's elections. Although they have no "official" validity, they will give an indication of how feelings are running.

I have been in Barcelona several times in the past 12 months and my feeling is that the are gets MORE Catalán with every visit. There is open civic disobedience in that street signs, metro signs etc that by law should be in both castellano y catalán are only in the local language.

What I also know is that unemployment is a fraction of what it is in Andalucia. (Barcelona less than half of that in Cádiz) and that there still seems confidence, businesses thriving and the town centres are not "sprinkled" with Se vende or Se Alquila signs. A shopping centre in Badalona was si busy that it reminded me of Christmas at The Trafford centre (Perish the thought!)

My first ever attempts at speaking Catalán were faltering BUT warmly received. A looooong way to go! I'll wish myself Bona Sort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, I was pretty surprised to say the least!

Must have brought Barca luck though - the WORST penalty decision I have seen in 45 years!

(Or was it the 20,000 independence flags?) It will be very interesting to see the results of today's elections. Although they have no "official" validity, they will give an indication of how feelings are running.

I have been in Barcelona several times in the past 12 months and my feeling is that the are gets MORE Catalán with every visit. There is open civic disobedience in that street signs, metro signs etc that by law should be in both castellano y catalán are only in the local language.

What I also know is that unemployment is a fraction of what it is in Andalucia. (Barcelona less than half of that in Cádiz) and that there still seems confidence, businesses thriving and the town centres are not "sprinkled" with Se vende or Se Alquila signs. A shopping centre in Badalona was si busy that it reminded me of Christmas at The Trafford centre (Perish the thought!)

My first ever attempts at speaking Catalán were faltering BUT warmly received. A looooong way to go! I'll wish myself Bona Sort.
I agree Steve, it does seem to be getting more "Catalanised " up here. We live in a multinational tourist resort (very pretty), but a hell of a lot of the local restaraunts show their menus and price lists in Catalan. I once asked "why "and the reply was "because this is Catalunya ". The local economy heavily relies on tourists from all over the world, yet makes no concessions in helping them to understand basic signs, menus, information leaflets. I love living here but do find it very frustrating at times.Unless you speak Catalan fluently you have no chance of working up here.
 

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I agree Steve, it does seem to be getting more "Catalanised " up here. We live in a multinational tourist resort (very pretty), but a hell of a lot of the local restaraunts show their menus and price lists in Catalan. I once asked "why "and the reply was "because this is Catalunya ". The local economy heavily relies on tourists from all over the world, yet makes no concessions in helping them to understand basic signs, menus, information leaflets. I love living here but do find it very frustrating at times.Unless you speak Catalan fluently you have no chance of working up here.
That sounds similar to the situation in Quebec. There was a law a few years ago which stated that any public sign had to be in French and English with the French words above the English words, which had to be a certain size in relation to the French.
Many cafes and shops had signs in French only and many people spoke no English, or at least pretended not to be able to.
There is in places real hostility between the Francophone and Anglophone communities.
My very old Aunt who has lived in Quebec for over sixty years has foolishly refused to learn French so there is a real comedy when she does her shopping, what with her speaking English and the assistant continuing the transaction in French, both parties understanding one another but refusing to settle on one language.
When I visit I speak French but I have problems as my French is what the locals term 'Parisian French', probably as similar to their patois as Chaucer's English is to our own present-day lingo.
 
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