One of the things I first noticed when I arrived in Spain eight months ago was that my Netflix selection grew bigger. I was excited to explore some Spanish shows and movies, especially because one of my goals was to immerse myself in the culture and try to understand its idioms, inside jokes, stereotypes, etc. During my first couple of weeks I found that while I understood every word said in these shows and movies because I already speak fluent Spanish, the cultural references would often leave me confused and I’d have to ask my host parents what certain things meant. As the months went by, my confusion became smaller and I started to understand more slang words and more inside jokes.
This weekend, I decided to watch two Spanish movies that were extremely popular when they came out: Ocho Apellidos Vascos and Ocho Apellidos Catalanes. Both movies are a couple of years old, but I knew about them and read about their critical success when they came out, so I wanted to watch them. The plot is cheesy as they are meant to be romantic comedies, and a lot of it is based on exaggerated stereotypes of Spaniards, so you can imagine the movie is full of cultural references and inside jokes meant to be for Spaniards.
To my surprise, I was able to enjoy the movies because after eight months of being here I can honestly say I have learned a lot of slang words, jokes, and stereotypes that would have been hard to understand if I had seen these movies during my first month here. I am by no means an expert on all things Spain, and I know these eight months have barely scratched the surface, but it was exciting for me to be able to see both films and understand some of the stereotypes and jokes because I have taken the time to learn about the culture. As my time here comes to an end, it made me feel like I achieved one of the goals I had coming here, and it made me reflect on my time in Madrid in a way that will make me appreciate the couple of weeks left.