How did I end up here?
At the mere age of 19, I packed my suitcase and moved to Paris, France, having only visited the country once before. When I was ten, I spent a few hours in Saint Jean de Luz near the border of Spain. At the age of 26, I decided, after getting my bachelors and first year of masters in France, to move to Florence, Italy.
A Jumbled, Beautiful Mess of Cultures
I am a Spaniard/American. Period. There is no more to this, no “but where were you born? Where were you raised?” Where I come from is a question I have struggled to answer my whole life. I was born and raised in a Spanish/American home, even though that home was based in the United States. Ever since I was little, my mom would only speak to me in Spanish and I watched movies in Spanish (even though I begged multiple times to watch them in French). I was being raised in the United States, but my mom made sure that I would be able to communicate with my family back in her country. More than that, my Spanish grandfather always made sure to remind me when I would visit during the summers, that no matter what anyone told me, I would always be a Spaniard. I think he saw that I was torn between two countries and struggled with it. In Spain, I was the American. In the United States, I was the Spaniard. But no matter in whatever “home” country I find myself in, I speak and integrate culturally as if it were my one and only. When answering to “where are you from?” with only one country, I feel like I am cheating on the other one. In the end, I was raised on the road. I’ve been to about ten schools (I feel that somewhere along the way I lost track) and have lived in four states. “Home” to me in the USA is Portland, Oregon. In Spain, it’s Madrid. I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and I spent the most years by my own choice in Paris. In 2021, after having spent the first few lockdowns of the COVID pandemic in France, I decided that life is too short. I had done what I needed to do in Paris, and it was time to set my eyes on another country I had always wanted to experience, Italy.
This is my little space to share my adventures, my insights as a foreigner living abroad, my photography and whatever else comes to mind.
I thank you for reading and following me along on my adventures!
Baci, bisous, besos, xoxo,
P.S. No Longer Kikalavil
This website has evolved throughout the years. It used to be under the name Kikalavil. How come? Kika is what my sister used to call me when we were little. Lavil is a mix of both of my last names. This blog was born under the name of “La Vie Est Belle” (I chose that name before I had even chosen to move to France!), then to Diary of an Expat, and then Kikalavil, the name I had used everywhere else on the internet. With time, I have evolved as well and no longer feel like that name captures who I want to be nor who I am, hence why I have changed everything to just simply be my name.