miércoles, 17 de junio de 2015

Those oddities you didn't know about Spain...

Salvador Dali, Spanish Artist and an oddity himself

So you have finally decided to fulfill that dream of study abroad. And you have chosen Spain as your destination. Well, congratulations! you are about to experience one of the most joyful and nice countries in Europe. Nevertheless, Spaniards have ways and customs that might surprise you (and maybe bother you) somehow...so better get ready for some of this:

- Not everybody speaks English: Sure English is pretty common nowadays, specially among the younger generations but...don't expect the taxi driver or the boy who works in that little store around the corner, yes, the one selling almost everything, to be fluent in other language rather than their own. To compensate that, there's this second fact
Probably the first reaction would be something like this, a big "What?" while staring at you like if you were from other planet (you actually kind of are...)

- Spanish people are very expressive. They might not fully understand you but you will realize they will do everything they can to communicate with you, hands moving, mimic, speak perfect Spanish very loud and slow....(even tho this won't help). If you put some effort you'll see communication is possible, and fun.
Yeap, the whole facial range, or even more

- And linked to that expressivity, Spanish people are veeeery talkative. Spaniards talk. Either sitting on a bench in the park, over a coffee or beer in a terrace, or after lunch or dinner, we like to talk and enjoy our close ones company. That talking after lunch or dinner is called "sobremesa" and can take hours...so you meet friends for lunch and then you realize that is already dinner time, so you stay with them for dinner...and then it's 2 in the morning and you get back home after the longest lunch ever. Yeah, we love those things.
Bars and restaurants are commonly crowded

- Of course, something that most foreigners don't realize, don't understand and can be a big issue at the beginning of your stay: Spanish people eat very late. When I say late means lunch is served after 1 p.m., being 2 p.m. the real lunch time, but this can be delayed till 3, or even 4 in the summer time. And you will never have dinner before 9 p.m. Forget about it, it just won't happen. Good thing is that most of the places have "pinchos" (little, and sometimes not that little, sandwiches of many different kinds) all day long. So don't worry, you won't starve.

This could perfectly be an after lunch meeting with friends, yeap, sunset time

- Tapas are for sharing. You can not order "croquetas" or "tortilla" or "jamón" and expect the whole thing is for you. No my friend, tapas are for sharing, food is for sharing and enjoying with family, friends and loved ones. Don't be surprised if somebody takes the last bite out of your plate. The good thing is that you can take food from other plates too.
Patatas bravas, calamares fritos y chorizo...you could try all of them! Remember: sharing is caring

-"Siesta" is a myth. Don't get me wrong, it does exist but, against what most of people think, it's not a daily life habit. "Siesta" as it is conceived in Spain, is reduced to weekends and holiday time, is the time to rest after lunch and, including the eating time, can take 3 hours. Now, it is true that some shops closed during this period, but mostly not to take a nap....I already mentioned the "sobremesa" and how talkative Spanish are, right?.
ok, maybe sometimes we take a nap....sometimes...
- Punctuality is not among Spanish virtues...I can see some of my friends' eyes poping out of their sockets while they are reading this...Let's face it guys....Spaniards are not really the first ones to get to the meeting point. Of course it's not like when you get stuck in a traffic jam in Jakarta and you realize that you will be, at least, one hour late, nothing can be compared to that, but we make good use of those "cinco minutos de cortesía" (grace period) every time we can. If you are meeting a group of Spanish and they are late, don't take it personal, they need five minutes more, that's all.
Just 5 minutes, I'm almost there
- When meeting someone, it is customary to give one kiss on each cheek. Honestly I don´t know where this custom comes from, but it's the way it is. Don't be scared if a beautiful girl/boy is been introduced to you and she/he throught her/him self into your arms and kiss you. It's not love, it's a common greeting, sorry.
kisses, kisses, kisses...

- Spanish food is not spicy and very seldom hot. Spaniards are very proud of the Mediterranean diet, even in those regions that are not in Mediterranean waters. Further more, Spain is the number one producer of olive oil in the world with 44% of the world's olive oil production. That is more than twice that of Italy and four times that of Greece, and we use it to cook every meal. Don't ask for "jalapeños" you are in the wrong country.
Some says this is Spanish gold

- Not all Spanish are flamenco dancers or bullfighters... It might sound strange or maybe disappointing to you, but it's true...As a matter of fact, flamenco is popular mostly in the South of Spain, while in the North it's not common at all. And reciently some of the regions banned (or are in process to) bullfighting. So, yes, even tho Spain is not a very big country traditions and customs vary from North to South, East to West, giving each part and region a very specific and unique taste. More to explore and discover!

These are some but I bet that not all....and of course, all said is not 100% true....I know very punctual people for instance.

What do you think?. Were you already aware of any of these things?
Spaniards, did we miss something?.

Give us your comment and opinion guys!, and remember, sharing is caring.

Enjoy your time in beautiful Spain!