Thursday, March 31, 2011

"How can you tell I'm American, my clothes?" "No your clothes are fine, it's the fact that you look afraid when you walk down the street"

There are many reasons why I love Spain. Many of the them are half joking, because the culture of Spain and the United States is so vastly different. Here are some things I’ve noticed.

1) Beer:

Beer is basically like juice here, in the sense that it’s a drink for any time of the day. In McDonalds I see parents with their kids enjoying a cerveca. Today, there was a run at the University, and there were no water stands, there were however, Coke and Cruzcampo stands. That’s exactly what you need when you just ran(granted, it was around the school, I think the slowest time was about 3 minutes) is an icy cold Cruzampo. I like the mindset of these people.

2) Fashion

The fashion in Spain is infinitely more elegant than the fashion in the United States. Apparently, if you wear sweatpants to class, the teacher will give you a worse letter grade because it is disrespectful, I would have failed college by now if that were the case. Sandals? Are you kidding? We aren’t cavemen here in Sevilla, we wear 4 inch stilettos to class. Oh yeah, because that’s practical. Short’s are only acceptable when worn with tights, even fishnets. In America, a woman with tights, fishnets and heels would be a hooker, in Spain, it’s fashion!

Sidenote: babies under the age of 3 are almost ALL in shorts and brightly colored tights, even the boys. It's awesome.

3) Public Displays of Affection

PDA in America does not fly, the most anyone will do is hold hands, maybe a peck depending on who you’re with and your level of intoxication. It is not uncommon for me to walk through the park and see two people furiously going at it, even go so far as to be straddling the other…in a park…in the daylight. More power to you, honestly, Mozel Tov, but don’t look at me like I have 5 heads if I’m looking at you. You’re the one devouring your significant other, not my fault.

4) Food

Food is a social time in Spain, and it meant for enjoyment, you do NOT get any food on the go, unless it's a bag of jamón flavored chips (yes, ham chips, I kid you not). Coffee to go exists here, but is only really acceptable at Starbucks, which is really only in Spain for Americans anyway. If you ask for the check before you're done with your meal, the waiter will ask you if you didn't like the soup, in very broken English. I would know, because that happened to me last week, all I wanted to do was pay, and he was disturbed about the fact that I didn't lick the bowl of the soup I ordered. A person never eats or drinks by themselves, and there is never a thing as too many tapas, which is something I can get very used to.Peanut butter is super hard to find and 4 euro, that is not something I can get used to.

5) Overall demeanor:

As you can see from the title of this post, I once asked one of my Spanish friends, Alberto how he can tell I was American. I wear scarves, I try not to wear flip flops and was doing my best to fit in. What he told me is that Americans almost always look frightened when they walk down the streets. I started to wear sunglasses so no one could see the fear in my eyes, and it worked for a while. Now I've pretty much figured out how to act like a local.

a) Walk with a purpose, you should look like you know where you're going, even if you have no clue.

b) Look ahead with that icy Spanish stare, like you could turn anyone into ice, because sometimes I think Spanish women can.

c) Don't rush, this is Spain, people can and will wait for you, 15 minutes late is early here, walking with a purpose and walking fast are two different things.

d) Never, ever move when someone is walking toward you, walking in the streets here is a huge game of chicken, and the other person has to lose. It's frightening, but if you move pre-maturley, you'll look like an "extranjera"

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