I’ve never really felt the need to be showy about my US citizenship.
If I have my passport in an airport, I find without being conscious of it, I hide the front that says “United States”.
If Im in a foreign country, I try to speak the local language.
I do not own an American flag.
I do not have any T-shirts that glorify or praise the U.S.
I don’t pretend that the U.S. hasn’t done/or does some pretty fucked up things or that sometime it makes me ashamed.
I am grateful for the all opportunities, security, education, health care, comfort and the material possessions I have been given.
I am happy to be taking a break from the United States.
Having said all that there are the rare occasions when I feel very connected to the United States, my home and my culture. These occasions are mainly holidays such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, and the 4th of July. Seeing as I have now been in Spain for a decent amount of time I was very much looking forward to this years Halloween, which of course was last Monday. Halloween is wonderful time of the year that offers some of the best activities around! Getting spooked, eating too much sugar, wearing costumes. Its a fantastic tradition! There was no way that Spain was going to stop me from celebrating it this year either! When it comes to Halloween,…I am proud to be an American, and I’m going all out!
I was actually quite fortunate to be placed in a school that not only recognizes Halloween, but actually celebrates it too! The school put up decorations and Tina and I organized a little powerpoint presentation about Halloween for the kids. They really liked it, and we gave them candy…but made them say ‘trick or treat’ first. Thats fair. The only thing was that I work Monday-Thursday. Thursday I went to Madrid, Monday was Halloween I was supposed to work, but that Tuesday I had off for All Saints Day.
Im going to insert here that I have a strong work ethic. Hard work goes a long way and with so many places and people economically struggling, jobs should be taken seriously. But I take Halloween pretty serious too. I felt that in this case it would be better to just ditch school on Monday, than risk receiving the NO WAY! for asking the day off. That way Id have Thursday-Tuesday free, and on the 31st would be able to connect and uphold the culture and tradition I value so greatly ; )
I got scolded for no call no show Wednesday at school. Needless to say it was absolutely worth it.
As far as my costume I went dressed as a Mexican Wrestler, or una luchadora Mexicana. These wrestlers have special outfits and masks so it was fun playing the part! I basically went in black leggings, my underwear, a red cape, red gloves, a short black wig, and a painted mask. I proudly displayed my patronage to Halloween in the metros, streets, and bars of Madrid and got a few looks in the process!
But before I went out on town, I made a visit to one of the biggest cemeteries I’ve ever been to. I had a pink carnation to give to one of the graves, and I wondered through the quiet peaceful concrete jungle of tombstones searching for a perfect place to lay it down. I was pretty impressed not only by the size of the cemetery but just actually how much cement there was everywhere. Being an old cemetery there were many graves that had started to deteriorate or had collapsed. I spent 1.5ish -2hours there. I could have spent longer.
Then I went back to the apartment and started to get ready. I ate a quick salad. I hadn’t eaten really anything at all that day…I mean I was planning on going out in my underwear…so that killed my appetite. I did break down and eat some potato chips…but thats all. I bought and drank champagne to celebrate and Lambrusco because its cheap, sweet, and weak and used those 2 as my pre-game. That was around 10pm.
By 4:30 am I was being kicked out of the metro for sleeping and bumming. So I left and hung out on some doorstep and ate some pizza and counted all the people who were just openly peeing on the street.
I tried to last all night, I really did…but the Spanish are another breed of partyers. La fiesta is some serious business around here, and I guess I just wasn’t ready to handle it quite yet! But I had 6 very fun festive hours out and about partying in Madrid. It was my first time going out to clubs in Spain on this trip. Tina and another American girl came out, so did Luis and Jhon the guy I met on the bus a few days back. We simply had a blast!
So my Halloween and the days leading up to it were perfect. I can’t wait to celebrate Thanksgiving now! What am I going to do without an oven though? Hmmm…