1. Slow Walkers. If you are a fast-pace walker, you would go absolutely crazy walking behind these people. They love taking their time and enjoying the scenery that surrounds them. This is probably a good thing, to be honest.
2. Siestas (Naps) are a MUST here. They have the weirdest open hours for their restaurants and shops. They usually open at 8 or 9 AM. Close from 3-5 PM. Open back up from 5 to 11 PM. Everyday they take a 30 minute nap after lunch then head back to work. That is probably why you never see a cranky Spaniard.
3. Be Blunt. If you want something just say “I want…” (Quiero in Spanish). Don’t say “Can I have…” (Puedo tener). They will just look at you and not understand what you are trying to ask. Just get straight to the point.
4. Short and Sweet. When you are in a grocery line or buying something from a store, don’t ask how they are doing because they won’t answer. Just say “Hola”. I made the mistake of saying “Hola! Como estas?” and she looked at me like I was crazy.
5. Padded Shoes are a Necessity. This trip I made the mistake of not bringing comfy shoes. I found out the reason why these people that live here are so skinny even though they eat carbs constantly (bread for days) … they literally walk around 6 to 8 miles a day (no joke). I am pretty sure they have more ice cream shops than restaurants here, so if that explains all the walking they must do.
6. Minerals in Their Water. I am convinced that there is something in Spain’s water. Every single person I pass on my way to school (30 minutes by the way) is gorgeous! I don’t think I have ever seen so many pretty people in one place. Every guy looks like Mario Lopez, while the women look like Penelope Cruz.
7. Crowded Streets. Like I said earlier, they walk everywhere. The streets here are so confusing and driving a car would take you longer than walking because of all the cut off streets due to the trolley. They also have bike lanes that are bigger than the walking lanes.
8. What Street Signs? They don’t have any street signs here! There may be a sign on a building telling you the street you are on…if you are lucky.
9. Rules Schmulessss. I’ve noticed a great deal of rules/regulations being laid back here. I have only seen one police involved incident and that was because a man was selling knock-off purses on the side of the street.
10. Cooking is Life! The mothers here are very dedicated to their house and cooking. They start cooking lunch around 10 AM when it is served at 2 and dinner at 6 PM when it is served at 9:30. So you probably think it would be very nice to ask your mom if you could help with dinner. Here that screams, “Your cooking is disgusting!” They feel as if you are making a hidden comment that you are helping because their food isn’t good enough. So never ask to help with dinner whatever you do!
11. Expressing Yourself. Everyday I walk home from school around 8 PM and there are performers everywhere doing the flamenco dance, singing and playing guitar, and dressing in weird costumes. It is actually pretty exhilarating to figure out what I will see that night on the way home.
12. 5 Minute Showers. This is one thing I had to adjust to which was kind of a struggle. Since it never rains here, they have hardly any water meaning you can only have a warm shower for maybe 5 minutes then you turn into an ice cube.
13. “Great Job! You Got a 68%!”. Don’t expect to get higher than an 85% here unless your name is Albert Einstein. The teachers pretty much tell you straight up you will never get a 90%. This is another adjustment that has been taking a toll on me. To them, a 80% is like an A back in the States.
14. Jeans are The New Shorts. It is 100 degree weather here and I see 80% of people wearing jean pants! I am really confused about how they are not dying from a heat stroke. My teacher told me that apparently Levis cost 90 euros while in the US they cost maybe $60. I told him I would ship him a pair if he gives me an A… so we’ll see.
15. Taxes Spent Right. Before I tell you how much their income tax is, I want you to look at my photos of all the beautiful landscapes and buildings there are here. Okay…. so their income tax is 50%! Crazy I know! But here they don’t have insurance, instead their tax dollars pay for public healthcare and the parks/landscapes. Even though that sounds outrageous, my professor said that many of the people don’t mind it because they feel like they get so much back in return.
**This experience has taught me a lot… if you haven’t noticed. Even though it is a different culture, I still love every single aspect about this beautiful country! If you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, GO TO SEVILLA! This city is unbelievable!