I just linked up with a really cool travel website called Matador Network. They are featuring my illustration piece, "The Differences Between Spain and The United States," right now, and you can check those out here.
: Cultura (N)
A couple years ago I spent two months backpacking around Europe. About halfway through the trip, I met some friends in Biarritz, an Atlantic beach town in the south of France.
My friends were camping in the sand somewhere outside of town, and I was in a hostel close to the train station. Illegal camping didn't seem like a good idea when they pitched it to me. But it sounded way better when I was hoofing it back to my hostel in the middle of the night.
On that highway, the wind howling around me, I got hit with a strange craving. Maybe it was just habit. Back in the states, after a night of heavy drinking, my friends and I would always eat off our hangover at the local diner.
Or maybe I was homesick.
For whatever reason, as I walked alone on the side of the road, the Atlantic ocean roaring below me, I couldn't hear the waves, or the cars that blew past me. All I could think about was an American diner breakfast; eggs, hashbrowns, unlimited coffee. The works.
Fast forward a couple years later, when I moved to Spain. This time my homesickness emerged with an obsession with Bruce Springsteen. I would walk around Madrid, "Born in the USA" blasting in my headphones, proud that no one on the sidewalk would know or care about the words that I sang.
It didn't matter that the song was satirical, a criticism of America's invasion of Vietnam. It was the chorus that I was interested in, and I sang it without irony, at whatever volume pleased me.
There was something about being in Spain that made me want to capture my Americanism, what ever that was or meant.
It sort of felt like...well, maybe I could explain it with a story like...
Ok, so it's sort of hard to put in words. So I'm going to have to draw out my feelings this time.
Tune in next week for more home sickness, cultural understanding, and expat glee.
Click here for some older musings.
All art and writing done by Matt St. John
If you want to feel super American, check out Sturgil Simpson covering Nirvana here.
EDIT: This post got a lot more attention than I expected, so thanks for reading! That said, I feel that I must mention that many readers are claiming that there is at least one good burrito spot in Madrid and that is Tierra, Burrito Bar. I totally agree too, it's pretty great! Feel free to prove me wrong about other burrito spots in Spain. The way I see it, that's a win-win situation ;).