Los Estados Unidos

Over the past several weeks I have spent living with and getting to know my family, we have discussed los Estados Unidos, the United States, a lot. They always have questions, but I have quickly discovered that they know so much about our language, culture, and conventions already—much more than I had known about Spain before this summer. For example, my hermana, María, loves American music. She listens to Green Day and Avril Lavigne every day, and she enjoys watching our music videos on Youtube. She is extremely curious about everything she sees or hears in these, always questioning what a certain phrase in a song means, or inquiring if the popular girls in America are really always cheerleaders. She also told me that she wants to go to college in the United States for a couple of months (at first, she had Harvard in mind, but I’d like to think that I have convinced her to go for Notre Dame instead J). My hermano, Miguel, watches American TV shows and movies. One day, as soon as I arrived home after class, he came racing up to me to show me that a character in “Malcolm in the Middle” had been wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt during an episode. From these popular movies and songs, my Spanish siblings are aware of American holidays, customs, cities, and more.

My Spanish papá’s perspective is different. He is more interested in historical and current events, which I have found produce a more negative image of the United States in his mind. He is constantly mentioning Trump’s latest news-worthy decision or tweet, and he has told me several stories, one about an American sea vessel claiming treasure found in Spanish waters and another about the United States (in his version) unrightfully detaining a Spanish lawyer. From these conversations, I have gathered that while he admires many things about the United States, he does not worship it in the way many adolescents do; he considers that our country, at times, has acted and continues to act entitled, racist, sexist, and more. It has been very interesting to hear about their views of our country and culture.