Ooh…That Feeling of Spain!
Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I wasn’t aware of Spain. I can’t imagine now what that was like, because for years now it feels like such a deep part of me. I’ve been pondering this allure of Spain more this week, as I think about my mother returning here after months being in the US. It takes me back to how I felt about Spain when I couldn’t be here. Do you know what I mean? That sweet, substantial pull, like a gravity all its own, tugging at your heart-strings to return…ooh…what is that feeling of Spain?
First Encountering Spain
I first paid more attention to Spain when it became of personal interest to me. Family history interest, that is. During my early twenties I started learning more about my family history that originates in Asturias, one of the verdant northern regions of Spain. When the opportunity came about to obtain my own Spanish Nationality and have dual citizenship, I dove headlong into the process, and along with that more family research.
A Mother's Feeling of Spain
Above Image – My mother performing for a documentary.
My mom has since conducted a lot of family research, providing an invaluable and fascinating treasure trove for me and my brothers. She had her own love affair with Spain, coming for her first time in 2011 on a one-way ticket to Barcelona. Good thing it was one-way, because she never did need that return flight! She stayed and fell in love with an Extremeño, and for years now has been living with him in the peaceful, charming village of Higuera la Real in rural Extremadura.
She’s got her lovely artist studio he built her in their house doblao (like an attic, but way nicer) and they renovated his home together. It’s so cozy, charming, and authentically Spanish. A beautiful space that feels wonderful inside and out.
My mother feels connected to Spain through her father who was from Tuña in Asturias. They were very close so I am understanding more and more how strong the pull of this land must feel for her.
The Allure of Spain
Even before I got my Spanish Nationality, I made my first visit to Spain. It was in 2010, when I spent the summer in Barcelona’s beach neighborhood of Barceloneta. It was a fantastic experience. While some personal things occurred that were stressful and unpleasant, I still hold only the good memories of great times, and especially of how Spain latched ahold of me.
Since that time, the feeling of Spain was with me. When I left and returned to the US, I would be somewhere or doing something and all of the sudden would feel a tender, endearing sensation right in my center. It held with it familiar feelings that I came to know as Spain.
Sometimes it was the smell of woodsmoke from a blazing fireplace, or a tantalizing glass of deep red Spanish wine, or maybe hearing Spanish guitar music…and I would feel transported. Even if I was standing in downtown Denver, I would suddenly feel like I was in Spain. Or like Spain was there with me. Maybe similar to feeling homesick? Yet it felt better, nicer than that. It was at times a little sad and bittersweet, yet endearing.
To Feel Spain in Your Blood
Above Image – Tuña in the region of Asturias, where my Spanish family was from.
Over the years, I made three more trips to Spain, and one of them lasted 5 months. With each trip I felt more and more enchanted with this country and more drawn to connect with my family history. After each of those visits, I would feel Spain so deeply when I was not there. I wanted so much to return and live in Spain as my home base for traveling the world.
Now here I am, living in Spain. It will be two years in June and I am so happy and grateful that I am at home in Spain. What has happened to the feel of Spain? Oh, it’s still with me. It’s simply evolved. It’s one of the most wonderful feelings of fulfillment and delight I have experienced in this life so far. Each day, I get to feel Spain; be with her and see her, walk with her and learn from her. I get to travel Spain, discover, enjoy and get to know her more.
Above Image – A mural in Tuña, Asturias, telling the story of General Rafael Del Riego.
We hear about how things can run in our blood… I never paid much attention to that saying before. Yet it is true for me, because I’ve come to discover with Spain, that she runs in my blood. There is truly a deep connection for me with this country and my family ancestry. Their connection with Spain must have been so deep for its energy to have passed down to me now; to have drawn me back. Turns out, that generations of my family were very intertwined with Spain. We’re talking historic novel / amazing movie-line stuff here! As a writer, I’ve got a lot of incredible content to work with.
Spain for Me, Spain for You
I do feel Spain. I feel Spain in my blood; in the deepest parts of me. There’s no question as to the fact that we’re part of each other. Even though I wasn’t born here, I feel like being here is a return to Spain. I don’t expect it to be the same Spain of my ancestors or to owe me anything. Spain is my heritage and I’m glad to be changing and growing, carrying on with her.
Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego
Writer & Film Co-Producer
I love traveling and tend to be a slow-traveler, taking time to enjoy places and especially the local culture. ‘Eating and drinking’ my way around a new place and meeting the people, is how I love to travel. Enjoy my other writings and published poetry on my site AmaliaVida.com.