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Emily: Six things about Spain

November 6, 2011

I have been in beautiful Espana now for two months, and some days I still feel like I just walked off of the plane from the United States. BUT more and more, I feel like I am finally understanding some of the things that happen here which don’t necessarily happen back in the United States. In the off chance that any of you reading this blog post decide to come to Spain (Barcelona in particular), I hope these thoughts can help prepare you!

1. You know that medium or dark roast coffee you picked up this morning from Starbucks or Caribou or Dunn Brothers? No, not the latte, not the cappuccino, not the mocha–the plain ole coffee. That doesn’t exist here. Only espresso and espresso drinks. 

2. You know those days when you see a random person on the street, and you are having a great day and want others to join in the awesomeness so you decide to go up to them and say “Omigoodness! Your dress/coat/shoes/shirt/pants is/are wonderful! Where did you get them? They really bring out the color in your eyes!” You both leave the encounter with a smile on your face. Score! That doesn’t happen here. If you see a random person wearing clothing that you like and you tell them, they think you are a crazy person and will run away. Literally.

3. You know how sometimes you may want a glass of wine with your lunch meal but pass because you are worried about what others may think? Here, there is nothing wrong with having a beer, glass of wine, or glass of sangria at 11:00 AM–so next time, don’t feel guilty and just pretend you are in Spain.

4. You know how you base a waitress’ service on how much she interacts with you and smiles at yours silly jokes, and doesn’t complain when your three-year old child breaks something and there is glass everywhere (believe me, this seven-year waitress could go on and on about this topic)? Here, once you get your food, you eat your food without interruption. If you need the waiter/waitress you must get their attention–this includes when you want your check.

5. On the topic of food…You know how when you go to most restuarants in the United States and you order something but it wasn’t prepared how you expected/wanted. So naturally, you complain and then the waitress/mananger/owner takes 50% off of your ticket OR let’s you re-order something free of charge? Here, if you order it, you pay for it–whether or not you eat it. 

6. You know how we sometimes arrive early to meetings in the United States? If you arrive 15 minutes early in Spain, you will be waiting 15-25 minutes until the next person shows up. 

Number 2 and Number 6 I still struggle with every day. But, instead of trying to change these things about me, I have decided to embrace these differences in culture. 

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