"Wanderlust" -- I'm in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met... The best dreams happen when you're awake!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Foreign and Fearless- One Month!

It's officially one month today that I have survived Barcelona, SPAIN!! Honestly, two weeks ago it felt like I had been here a month and a half if not more..but now..it feels like I just got here yesterday! Most people have been wondering about what Spain is like and what I find weird/strange and what I miss the most from being gone.

The taboo things: 
1.) The ever-famous "Siesta" time! It's typically a time between 2-4pm when the shops close and there is no school and everyone goes home to eat a very large lunch (comparable to our dinner) and then back to work until around 8pm. But because of this, dinner is served extremely late- between 9-10pm.

2.) Water!! Water is scarce here and is very precious, therefore very expensive. Showers are around 5 minutes..and certainly no more than 10! Far different from my half hour shower in the States! Also, when you go out to eat you always have to pay for the water- never free.

3.) Mentality. Back home, over 4,000 miles away, the mentality is "Live to Work" and success is measured by your paycheck, your car and the size of your house among many other material things. However, here it's much simpler and people "Work to Live". They revel in life more fully and simply than I've seen in most Americans. They never eat or drink on the go...ever. Even if it's a small espresso to a sweet dessert. After trying this out, and eating outside, not rushing my meal or my bill (which by the way you always need to ask for) I find that I enjoy my food and company so much more. Perfect opportunity to people watch too, haha.

4.) The amount of bread!! Every meal I've had so far has had some source of carbs- bread (baguettes are very popular), potatoes, rice, or noodles. Another peculiar thing is that the Catalans (northeastern part of Spain) rub their bread with a tomato. It's because when they first came to Spain they were extremely poor and hungry and the cheapest thing they could afford was stale bread that would fill them up, so they rubbed it with a cut tomato to make it softer. The tradition is still very strong..and my lunch baguettes all have tomato on them.

5.) Lastly, affection! PDA (Public display of affection) is very predominate and open here! When I say open..I mean wide OPEN! On the metro, waiting for the metro, waiting to cross the street, in stores, everywhere people are kissing and being intimate in a way that would be a little bit much in the United States. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because the 'home' is considered very private here- not meant for guests (most people go outside to get together).

Of course, I miss the people closest to me back home the most- I miss my mom, my dad, my brother, my boyfriend and friends!!! I wish they could see all the beautiful places I've seen and meet all these wonderful people along this journey! It has certainly been an experience for all of us this semester already! I also very dearly miss Jiffy peanut butter, a working hair straighter that doesn't blow the power, and good popcorn! Skype has at times tested my sanity because it pixelates images, breaks up conversations or drops the call..or honestly all of the above, lol.  Probably the hardest "homesickness" time was my returning flight from Paris (which I need to post a blog for very soon!). I was coming through the terminal to where everyone was waiting for people- like friends and family and taxi drivers with name cards. I couldn't help but tear up at the thought of how bad I wanted to see a familiar face and to run to open arms! From this moment alone...I know I am going to be a complete wreck when I return home, haha. I'm going to have tears rolling down my face and will have to remember to not wear much makeup that day!! But I can't wait to see what next month will bring! CHEERS TO ONE MONTH IN SPAIN! :)
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
-Saint Augustine

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