I didn’t realize it until recently, but Spain is relatively unknown to most Americans as compared with France or Italy, because people don’t know it is a European country.
I am not even kidding. Consider the following occurrences, all within the last 2 months:
A client of mine I’ve been working with for over a year, who knows I am sometimes in the states and sometimes in a place called Spain, responded with “Oh wow, have fun in Europe, what are you doing there?” after I informed her over the phone that I was no longer in the US but was calling from Europe in that moment.
Now remember, she knew I lived in Spain. And yet was asking me what I was doing in Europe, as if it was an exciting new trip.
Confused at first, the question does she not know where Spain is…? creeped into my head, so I tested her with “Well, I live here sometimes, you know that”. Sure enough, the response was “But I thought you lived in Spain?…”
“OH! Gosh, I thought you were in South America somewhere. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Another fine example: A woman I worked with last year contacted me the to see about my availability for a project, and asked me to remind her where I live. I said Europe, and she responded, “Oh yes I remember. Brazil, right?”
Yet another: In a peer meeting/interview for a project via Skype, the interviewer asked me (rather haughtily I might add), “So you live in like, Mexico or something?” when she saw that my city of residence is Barcelona.
And don’t even get me started on the responses I get from random people in Starbucks and in shopping malls.
It sure stands in stark contrast to the replies of “OOOOH you are sooo LUCKY!” when I lived in Italy. But that is a whole different story.