When the family visited Spain, they spent a lot of time in Madrid, Seville and Valencia, he said.
When they were home in Boston, Baldwin said the family spoke Spanish and cooked Spanish food. Family friends from Spain often lived with the Hayward-Thomases during extended stays when they visited the United States. “When we weren’t in Spain, we called it ‘we brought Spain to our house,’” he said.
Baldwin’s older brother, Jeremy, moved to Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. Thomas and Hayward also moved there in 2011.
These experiences explain why traditional Spanish language, culture, food and dance are so important to her identity, she said, and she and Baldwin work to recreate this for their children. “I send them to a bilingual school where they have Spanish at school and I speak to them in Spanish at home.” After the pandemic, she said, she and Baldwin plan to spend more time with their children in Mallorca.
“My family, that’s where they have decided to spend their lives,” he said. “I guarantee that they are going to live there and they are going to die there. That is his home and it is because this is not something new, nobody put a map on the wall and threw a dart at him and said, ‘Oh, Spain sounds good.
He said that he did not believe that referring to his trip to Spain in online publications as “going home” was misleading. “Home is where my parents are going to be,” he said. “If my parents move to China, I’m going to go to China and say, ‘I’m going home.’ (Although she has said that her family has roots in Spain, she said that she spoke colloquially. “These people that I call my family, I am learning in this particular situation that I have to say: ‘people that we have considered as our family'”) .
He assured that he did not believe that his story had any connection with cultural appropriation because, as he said, American culture has shaped it as much as the culture of Spain: “Who can say what you are allowed to absorb and not absorb as you grow up?” .
“This has been a part of my entire life,” he said, “and I can’t make it go away just because some people don’t understand it.”