My Secret Talent

Living in Gijón these past few months has tuned me into an expert in a certain area of study.

Sadly, I am not amazing at preparing Asturian cuisine, nor have a become an excellent Flamanco dancer.

No, what I now excel at is being able to pick out my fellow Americans from among a crowd of Spaniards.

Call it a gift, but I am not lying to you when I say that my know-how is so fine tuned that my identity tracker starts to take affect from as far as 100 away.

Check it out for yourself!

My Super Accurate Step-by-Step “Spot the American” in Gijón Guide

From 100 Ft

The very first thing that screams USA to me is the height and skin tone of the person approaching from a distance. Don’t let Diego’s height fool you! Most Spaniards (men and women) are shorter in comparison to Americans – so if I spy someone tall and lanky I immediately hone it!

Also, many times hair and skin color of the suspect can serve as initial clues to the person’s identity. Does the person being tracked have light hair and/or pinkish undertones to his/her skin?? If so, than it’s possible that we have someone from the US on our hands! (The majority of the native people here have dark brown hair and eyes with an olive skin tone – think Penelope Cruz!)

"Please, I'm identifiable from 500 ft"

From 50 ft

The height and skin color of the suspect alone don’t tell the whole story – both Americans and Spanish people can truly come in any size or color :-).  However, as the target approaches I being to pay more attention to clothing details. For example, a guy wearing a baseball cap might as well be whistling the Star Spangled Banner.

In addition to hats, typical American clothing items I keep my eye out for are any combination of the following: flip-flops, shorts (especially cargo shorts for boys and Nike Tempo shorts for girls), and high school/college/sorority/fraternity t-shirts and sweat shirts.

Gotta show the world the source of my $80,000 school loans

Brand names of the clothes are important to keep in mind too! If I run into anyone wearing something from: The North Face, Under Amour, American Eagle, Hollister, Abercrombie, or Vera Bradly I label them American because these stores are non-existent in Spain.

From 25 ft

The potential American is practically upon me now! (So close I can see the “whites of their eyes!) 😉 Now the remaining details of the person begin to fill in. If I’m somehow still not sure if my target is from the USA I inspect him/her for specific behaviors that only us Yanks seem to do consistently – like tote a reusable water bottle. If the person is wearing a backpack, I scan it for accessories like those “mountain climber” clips or mini bottles of hand sanitizer.

Just in case I accidentally touch a European... 😉

Finally, if my target is young girl (whoops, didn’t mean for that to sound creepy!) a  tell tale sign of her “American-ness” is that she wears some type of head band or elastic to hold back the fly away hairs from her pony tail 🙂 Gotta love our practicality!

The perfect accessory for both a softball game and site-seeing around Gijón!

 From 0 ft

Now I am so close that I can hear the person speaking. Using English is a “give away” (duh!) – especially American phrases like: “Oh my God!”, “What’s up guys!”, and “Have a nice day!”.

Side note: the first time that Diego visited the US he was surprised that people wished him a “nice day!” every time he left a store. Here it’s customary just to say “hasta luego” –  “see you later”.

Lastly, loud laughing and gum chewing, I have noticed, are things we Americans seem to do more than Spaniards and people from other countries.

There you have it! My step by step guide to identifying Americans! 🙂 I love it when I encounter my co-patriots around here, even if I don’t greet them or introduce myself, I always get a kick out of running into people from my own country half way around the globe!


4 thoughts on “My Secret Talent

  1. This post was by far one of the funniest! I was laughing so hard that David made me read it to him. I especially like the “whistling the Star spangled Banner” part. Hehe

    • Thanks Erin!! Seriously though Diego and I are experts at finding the Americans!! For me the most hilarious thing we do is carry those little bottles of hand sanitizers (and some people have them dangling from their purse or backpack!) Pretty sure we are the only people in the world who do that 🙂

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