Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some great advice for wanna be expats from Ieishah in Barcelona

One of my favorite bloggers was responding to an American who wants to move to Spain.

While her advice was to a black woman moving to Barcelona, this advice (except the specific catcalling) is universal.

Regarding the catcalls, maybe it's because I'm old or the neighborhood I live in (I notice when I'm by Termini I hear more comments, especially from the African and South Asian men) but all I get is a "Ciao Bella", "bellissima" etc. Not once in all the times I've lived or traveled here has someone made a catcall mentioning my race. Unlike in D.C. where I would get the lovely back handed "for a chocolate girl you're cute" compliments.

I cracked up reading her advice about American privilege. I was at a dinner party during my first trip to Italy and one of the guests told me he had a hard time reconciling his love for Malcolm X and jazz with his strong dislike for America. This was five years ago at the height of the Iraq war .

I wondered why/how this young Italian man connected with Malcolm X in the first place. He's barely mentioned in American schools. Is Malcolm's popularity (like jazz) greater overseas?

Speaking of Malcolm X, the movie was on SKY Cinema yesterday. I hadn't seen it in a while. Denzel knocked it out of the park. He looks nothing like Malcolm but within five minutes you forget and believe it's him.

I digress (which I do whenever I think about Denzel). Here is the LINK to Ieishah's post "Mastering Your Expat Life: Barcelona, The Starter's Kit.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

"...hard time reconciling his love for Malcolm X and jazz with his strong dislike for America." That is really...hilarious, odd, fascinating, etc.

Thanks for that link; that's a new blog for me...love it!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

michelle - you're welcome.

I remember that night like it was yesterday. He didn't speak a lot of English and I didn't speak Italian but somehow we "talked" about music and Malcolm. He was very passionate about both.

fashion survivor said...

I take it he was talking about American policies more than actual Americans. I hope!

As an aside, I was looking for some good expat-in-Spain blogs the other day, so thanks!

ieishah said...

Oh! We could write a book on the weird positioning of African Americans abroad. Some people will say the vilest things about Americans (while eating McDonald's fries, wearing a Jordan jersey and fiddling with an iPhone that's playing Biggie) and then be like, 'Well, obviously, we don't mean you!"

Oh! How about when people talk about how evil Americans brought down their own towers? What's their evidence? Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911! The Zeitgeist Movement! American films! No one sees the irony in arguing that Americans are evil and dishonest using the words, evidence, and rhetoric OF AMERICANS!

I'm yelling. Sorry. It's annoying. Thank you a thousand times for the link love, though!! Gonna try and pay it forward.

annuayim said...

but all I get is a "Ciao Bella", "bellissima" etc.

You've got some super polite cat-callers in your neighborhood! /kidding

"for a chocolate girl you're cute" compliments.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

fashion survivor - You're welcome. I believe so. I don't think he had met many Americans.

ieishah - Prego. It is a weird positioning. I haven't heard anyone outside the U.S. (remember the Rosie O'Donnell scandal) say we brought down the towers. I can't believe people actually think that's true!

annuayim - Arg is right. I used to get so annoyed with those comments. Really Brotherman? Just don't say anything to me.

This Time Now said...

Great post.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

This Time Now - I'm glad Ieishah let me link to it. She offers some great advice.

Sirmelja said...

Thinking about Denzel always makes my brain shut down too :-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sirmelja - ha!