Posted by: Cat of Sunshine and Siestas | January 21, 2009

Spaniards and the Inauguration

Yesterday I was so anxious about the inauguration an the start of a new presidency, I could hardly sit still. The historic day was darkened by sad news over here in Spain, and I forgot to cancel a class to watch the ceremonies.

What hs stood out most in m mind was the reaction of Spaniards. News pages here in Spain have uploaded videos and transcripts of the speech translated into Castillian and Obama and his supporters’ faces have crossed every broadsheet. Yesterday morning, I read an article on the bus called “Los Siete Pecados de Bush” – Bush’s Seven Sins. While Bush has been shown recently as aged by office, Obama is either shown as relaxing and portraying how normal he is, or looking serious while making a speech. Although President Zapatero warns that Obama can’t solve all the problems that face the US and Spain alike, Spaniards are ever-confident in a president that isn’t theirs. I got lots of congratulations, handshakes, the like. My students in 1D, instead of applauding when I walked down the hall, chanted “O BA MA! O BA MA!”

But by far the most surprising was how all of the women were asking me about what I thought of Michelle Obama’s dress. While I hadn’t spent a lot of time looking at it (I’m listening to his speech for the first time right now, nearly 24 hours after he spoke it), I wasn’t thrilled. Listening chatter about it around the brasero and in the car, they seemed to criticize everything about it. I told them the two dresses were designed by minorities and that, to me, was the message, they just shrugged it off and commented on how the boxy jacket made her look fat.

There’s an interesting saying in Spanish: “Cuando los Estados Unidos estronuda, nos refriamos” -When the US sneezes, we catch a cold. How very true.


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