¡Hola, chicos! Time is just flying by. In only two weeks, I’ll be volando home. I didn’t think that a month would feel so short, but it does. Still, I’ve been trying my best to absorb the culture as much as I can. Here are the little things I’ve become to pick up on. I learn new things every day so I’ll add on every once in awhile.
- Poco sol, mucha illuvia
It’s finally gotten warmer, brighter, and drier, but after days of bounding out of the casa in shorts and sundresses only to run back to grab a sweater and/or umbrella, I’m not holding my breath.
Sweaters all day, every day, in junio? Thanks, montañas.
2. No tipping?
In the United States, restaurants can pay waiters and waitresses less than minimum wage because they make up the difference in tips. In España, that’s not the case, so tipping is miniscule or nonexistent. You can leave only small change or a euro or two at full restaurantes and nothing at all at cafés. The one time I tried to give a tip to a taxista, he stared at the extra coin and handed it back to me, shaking his head.
3. ¿Espacio personal? What’s that?
I should have expected that of a country where people of both genders greet and say goodbye to each other with kisses to both cheeks (beso beso), but personal space is practically nonexistent here. People cut each other off on the streets, crowd really close together, and feel free to touch you.
4. No washcloths?
My hotel in Madrid didn’t provide washcloths. I thought that it was a little odd but didn’t make much of it and dried my face with a towel. Then, I went to live with Laura and Malena and still no washcloths. Mis amigas en el grupo say it’s the same in their casas. When some people sought them out in stores, they had to use the ones used for dishes. A little extraño, no?
5. As for meals. . .
Since my life, if not structured by school, tends to be planned around meals, it really threw me off when mi almuerzo was at two or even four in the afternoon, and mi cena was often not served until nine or ten at night. These two meals are also huge; lunch, especially, is much bigger than I’m used to. Not to mention, desayuno is totally different in España.
“¡Al revés!” cried Laura when she discovered that I ate eggs and jamón for breakfast sometimes back in los E.E.U.U. In España, eggs are for lunch or dinner or tapas, in a good tortilla española, for instance.
Desayuno, then, consists of a café or chocolate with un pedazo de pan most of the time. Since it’s so small, and I get hungry quickly, that necessitated a pincho (a snack, usually pan) at around eleven or twelve.
You can think of Spanish mealtimes like this:
- Merienda (afternoon snack)
- Tapas (pre-dinner nibbles)
This isn’t hard and fast, but meals tend to be frequent and long and leisurely. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve easily spent more than una hora at lunch and dinner and have seen españoles dawdle for hours in a café sipping café, nibbling postres, and smoking.
Still, when Laura serves almuerzos and cenas like this. . .
Who the hell am I to complain?