Maybe they won’t notice that I haven’t said anything for the last hour? Yeah, they all think I’m having a great time. I’m laughing at jokes I don’t understand in all the right places. They bought it.
Now, if I can keep up my façade for the next three hours, I can gracefully exit this party to go home and ugly cry. What, this doesn’t sound familiar to you? Well, you must be one of the lucky ones whose personality hasn’t taken a nose dive since moving abroad. I guess unicorns do exist.
I’ve had to make many adjustments since deciding to remain in Spain for love and I’m cool with most of them. Things are gonna be different living in a new country but why the hell am I different now? That is NOT cool.
I’m funny damn it! I can talk about stuff. I’m smart. Why doesn’t anybody realize this? Oh yeah, I forgot my personality doesn’t translate.
I Got the Power!
If I get the chance to engage with someone in English, I am on fire. You wanna talk about politics? Trump is a dick. Am I right or am I right?
You wanna laugh until you pee yourself a little? Pour me a cosmopolitan and I’ll work the room like Chris Rock at the Apollo.
Oh, you want to speak in Spanish? Hmm, gotta go. Any time I work up the nerve to speak in Spanish, I think I come off super quiet (I don’t even swear) and boring. I’m still surprised I have Spanish friends that actually want to talk to me. Man, they must be desperate for friends.
My identity is so warped in Spain I have names for my two distinct personalities: Curly Gurl and Spaghetti Head.
I have naturally curly hair and Curly Gurl speaks English (sometimes Spanglish). I ain’t ashamed of it. Do you know how many verb tenses there are in Spanish? No fucking puedo!
Spanish is My Kryptonite
Spaghetti Head speaks Spanish, only when spoken to, and usually stutters or says umm a thousand times before answering back. It’s bags o’ fun.
I hate Spaghetti Head. When I’m her, it feels like I have chemically straightened my hair and flattened out all the things that make me Janine. I’m left with a dry and brittle personality that I wouldn’t even want to hang out with.
Over time, my Spanish has improved a lot but it always feels false when I have to communicate with people as Spaghetti Head. Yes, I’m speaking the language of my adopted country, as one should at least try and do, but it doesn’t feel like me.
Don’t get me started on trying to use Spanish expressions. I know them all (especially the filthy ones) but I feel like an imposter when I use one. I picture myself as one of those douchebag expats (you know the ones) trying to prove that she is native now.
It’s weird though. When I’m chillin with my Spanish speaking friends, they all seem to laugh at my jokes in all the right places. Does that mean I’m speaking fluent Spanish (hot damn!) or is the constant humidity in Spain turning my straight hair curly? Hmm.
Special thanks to Tall N Curly for letting me use her amazing comics for this post. If you like her work, go to www.tallncurly.com to check out more.