As a child, Jesús Gonzalez Perez began to form his most early conclusions about Americans, and Texans specifically, from watching Western movies with his father. “Those were his favorite kinds of movies,” he says in his smooth, matter-of-fact way, “and if we wanted to see a movie, that is what we watched.” From such movies Jesús imagined Texas as a “wild” place where the people were “serious and brave.”
Thirty-three years old and a middle child of four children, Jesús says some of his favorite things are being a tio (uncle), playing guitar (although he admits he’s not very good at it), reading (he enjoys books on the history of Spain and cuentos or children’s tales), and visiting with friends at bars.
Jesús believes that being at some of his favorite bars with friends, laughing and talking about life is his way of self-care. “I enjoy listening to the music and talking with people and learning. I can do that in the corner bars and share a little of myself and gain a little of the people around me. I am better for this.” He says the best thing about Salamanca is the university because it brings diverse cultures to the city, adding to its identity and charm.
This writer would have to agree, seeing as how you can spot so many different people of different backgrounds on long walks through the streets. Before coming to Spain I expected to be an outcast here and quickly made up in my mind to put on the fasçade of indifference. And though I have gotten a few second glances and curious looks, mostly no one makes any special efforts to figure out what I am doing here. I appreciate that. Salamanca is a place where you can feel, not only welcome, but a part of its growing identity.