The guitar, the flamenco dress and the siesta hidden behind the Estelada

My mother told me that when she was studying and working in London, the locals hoped that when she opened her suitcase she would take out a guitar and start singing for bulerías. Quite obviously, this has never happened. A lot of people used to ask about siesta, the great Mediterranean diet and, of course, our music and culture.

In 2017, while preparing for my year in Poland, I racked my brains looking for things from my land that I could show to those who live in the country that was going to shelter me for almost a year. I looked through various books and on the web as if it was an archaeological investigation. Everything I did not know about my homeland was a welcomed discovery. I practiced my tortilla skills with delicious results – most of the time.

However, my surprise was huge when my hosts and other colleagues from different parts of the globe were interested only in one specific thing: “What’s going on in Catalonia?”

It was just two years ago when people simply knew about the Madrid-Barcelona axis without any additional knowledge. Now, the polarization towards these cities is tremendous. While visiting Gdansk, we were approached by a man who asked us about our nationality because our appearance made it quite evident that we are tourists. After I tried my best to answer with a very poorly pronounced “Jestem z Hiszpanii”, his next question was: are you from Cataluña? Unfortunately, after hearing that we come from a different area, the man turned around and left without letting me explain where we actually came from.

There are people who not only do not know much about Spain, but also do not want to find out more. Luckily, young people try to be more interested in the world around them.

Being a rather talkative person myself, I always try to explain the situation in the most objective way possible while using my English skills from Valladolid. Fortunately, this task becomes more and more effortless due to the huge number of times the issue comes up in the conversations.

And yet, nobody asks me about the recipe for the tortilla. Has the spirit of independence killed the appetite?