Bienvenido en Espana

Near the end of the spring semester, I piloted my survey in English on peers at William and Mary to find any glitches there might be. There were many. However, with those sorted out, I took every free second of three days and translated the survey into French and Spanish in preparation to send them out to citizens of these countries. Having fine-tuned the English one as well, I began to send it to participants: citizens of Virginia Beach 18 and older. My participant pool right now comprises contacts and coworkers of my parents, to get some semblance of sampling (because they work VERY different jobs) and I will add other contacts for numbers as I see fit.

Also, I am relying on my parents to help distribute the survey because I am currently working remotely: from Spain. Having spent extensive time in America (my home) and France, I am in Granada to get a small sample of white/Arabic relations here in Spain. Even though this is just my third day here, I have already run into two circumstances of note that I will share with you here.

I am staying with a host family. They are aware that I am doing research on Euro-Arab relations and are being mostly helpful. But really, all they want to do is teach me Spanish (which, I promise, I’m trying my hardest to do!).  I was riding in the car with my host father on the way to pick up two of the daughters from school and we passed through a neighborhood that he claims is mostly filled with North African immigrants. (Reminder: Granada is in Andalucia, the southernmost region of Spain, and is therefore very close to the Northern parts of Africa). He said I wasn’t going to like his saying it, but he didn’t like the neighborhood. He pointed out a woman in a hijab and shook his head. Due to my parsed Spanish and his displeasure, the conversation ended there.

Later in the same day, the daughters and I were exploring downtown Granada. They do that quite frequently, since they live in the city. To get a good view of the whole city, we went in search of a mirador: a scenic view. They are the most common in the Arab quarter: the Albaicin. As we climbed flights and flights of stairs, we began to notice a dark-skinned man with a small turban on his head–seemingly a citizen of the neighborhood. When we stopped to take a picture, he did as well. We stopped in a public plaza and told a woman about it, as well as to ask for directions. The man in question was doing laps around the plaza, but the woman agreed he was watching us. We stuck with her and her husband for a little while, until we were sure the man had gone away. As we got to the mirador, being sure to stay near other people, just in case (we never saw the man again), one of the daughters explained to me how most of the inhabitants of the Albaicin are good people, but occasionally you get one like the man who followed us. When I said that was true of any group of people, she was quick to agree.

Even more than I thought it would be, the race relations are very prevalent here in Granada. So much so that my host mother has a friend who specializes in Euro-Arab relations at the University of Granada. She is going to get the two of us together, and I am very much looking forward to that and the rest of my 2.5 weeks here! Hasta pronto!