Sunday, October 30, 2011

Culture Shock

I've been working on this list for a while, and I can't believe I forgot to write about this. Overall, I feel like I've adjusted pretty well into Spanish life and culture, but there are a few things that I didn't expect. Some are silly, some are awesome, and none of them are a huge deal, but they are things I notice. I'll probably keep adding to this list as I think of things.

  • Buying milk in "bricks" and not having it be refrigerated. Bricks are what you buy drinks giant juiceboxes. I'm totally fine with them, but not when it comes to my milk. I prefer to buy milk that's cold and in a plastic bottle.
  • Buying barras de pan (basically baguettes) every day or 2. I love fresh bread, and I'm so sad when it goes stale. I usually eat it too fast for that though.
  • Having no idea what the brands are. I could be buying store brand, or name brand for all I know. I usually just go with what looks best or is cheapest. This will hopefully last in the States.
  • An elementary school day here is from 9 to 2. It's awesome. The kids have a recess where they eat a breakfast or a snack, and then they go home for lunch.
  • Teachers here work 30 hours a week.
  • Always being concerned with bus fare. Not as big a deal now that I have my bus card, but I do have to reload it with more salvo fairly often.
  • I don't have a microwave in my piso! Shocking and a tragedy.
  • I had no idea how to use the washer at first...hooray for learning new Spanish vocabulary. I forgot to add in the spin cycle, so my clothes were DRIPPING wet.
  • Every apartment has a clothesline or drying rack for drying clothes on their terrace. Except us, we don't have a terrace, but we do have a drying rack. I thought it was tacky at first, but it's normal to me now.
  • Buying notebooks with grid lines instead of college ruled.
  • I teach British English. So I now have to learn new phrases in English too. (School bag = backpack, rubber = eraser, director = principal) Good thing I have a British roommate!
  • A teacher here told me she wants to go to Route 66 for her honeymoon. That's so random, and not that cool to us in the States, but it's super exotic for them here.
  • I've met almost as many people from the UK as Americans. Plus some Australians and Germans. We sang Happy Birthday in Spanish, English and German at a party on Thursday.
  • There's no tipping at restaurants. There's also no tax. You pay what it says and that's it. It's glorious,
  • Buy a drink (beer, wine, tinto, mosto) and get a free tapa. Tapas here are very small though, so it takes a few to fill you up.
  • Discipline in schools is different. Kids don't sit quietly very well.
  • Living in an apartment building with a locked front entrance. I have issues with this, because our lock is hard, and I've just started getting it open on the first try. I also have a video camera intercom to buzz people in with.
  • We buy so many huge water bottles. It seems wasteful, but you can't drink from the faucets here.
  • Eating dinner at 9 or 10 at night. Not only do they eat late, dinner is small because they eat a huge lunch. I still haven't figured this out.
  • Using 24 hour time on everything. I am getting really good at converting times though.
  • Having to recharge my cell phone with more salvo every few weeks. It's no fun when you can't call or text because you have no salvo (credit) left. Thank goodness for toques! That's when you call, let it ring once, and hang up without getting charged.
  • The school buses here are what we would call Charter buses. It's pretty cool.
  • I paid almost €4 for a little thing of peanut butter. I didn't know how much I missed it until it was gone. I ate it all in a
  • I still can't get used to having conversations in Spanish. Mostly because I can't believe that I can do it. I still make grammar and vocab mistakes, but I am definitely getting better.
That's all I have for now, but I'm sure there are more. I mean, it's only been a month and I've only been to 3 cities. (Sevilla, Almería/Roquetas and Jaen).

Abrazos y besos de España!

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