16 May 2016

I’m about to start my seventh week of life here in Spain and so I thought I’d write a blog post about a few of the cultural things that I’m learning to love…

Kissing

Most Spanish people greet each other with two kisses (one on each cheek). When I first arrived this was very weird for me and I was having to be pulled into kissing absolute strangers. However, now I willingly kiss someone when I first meet them or every time I meet them and I now find it very endearing and love seeing people greet each other in this way. A little cuter and much more friendly than the British handshake!

Weather and life outdoors

The weather has been beautiful here! Throughout October it was 30 degrees most days, very strange for me. It’s hard for me to accept that it’s the time of year for Halloween and Bonfire Night when the sun is shining and it’s too warm to go out in a jumper! As the weather is so lovely here (haven’t seen rain in about 4 weeks) most people are out and about until 11 o clock at night eating tapas, drinking and socialising. I just love the hustle and bustle of life here.

Public Transport

Despite the fact that most of the time the people here are really laid back, everything is ‘mañana’ and turning up 10 or 15 minutes late to a class is ‘no me pasa nada’ (including the teachers!) public transport is always on time. And it’s amazing! I never have to wait too long to catch a bus and the trains run to the exact time that they say they will leave. Sometimes this can be a little too direct as as soon as you are on the bus they shut the doors even if you haven’t paid yet and if I’m standing up I often get thrown around a little bit. But that’s all part of the fun!

P.S the trains are suppperrrr comfy and Virgin could learn a lot from RENFE (the train company here).

Friendliness and relaxed atmosphere

I love how relaxed everything is here. You basically cannot do anything wrong and everything is ‘no me pasa nada’. Nobody rushes around to get to classes, it’s all ‘I’ll get there when I get there’. In fact, nobody rushes to go anywhere. The people here seem to have all the time in the world (apart from when you’re at the supermarket and you must pack your food into bags and pay at a speed of 200mph). They have a ‘fiesta’ almost every other week which is just a day to chill, sleep and eat food (absolute heaven) as no shops are open.

Greetings

Everybody greets each other, whether it’s on the stairs of my building, in the supermarket, at school and it definitely doesn’t matter if you know them or not. I think it’s great and us English people need a bit of this in our lives. After all, a smile and a hello or ‘buenas’ is like sunshine on a cloudy day.

Cities

There is so much to explore here in Spain. I love the hustle and bustle of life in my city. Last weekend I visited Sevilla which is beautiful and there is so much to see and do. I love learning about the different cultural elements of the places that I visit! This month I’m visiting Granada and Madrid and I cannot wait.

Siestas

Whoever came up with these needs a round of applause! Having a break in the middle of the day is one of the best things and when it’s so hot outside it’s also incredibly sensible. It’s really nice to have time to yourself in the middle of the day. I didn’t understand why Spanish people needed siestas until I lived here but a) it’s too hot to be outside and b) when you wake up really early and eat tapas till really late you kinda need a nap in the middle of the day!

You can read the rest of Rebecca’s Spain highlights here or delve into more insights about her Year Abroad at her blog.