After the longest summer break of my life, I’ve finally arrived in Spain! My program first met up in Madrid for a short introduction to Spain and its major cultural differences. One of the biggest differences we were briefed on is the offset schedule of the day. This was a tough reality at first, as we didn’t eat dinner until nine o’clock that night (which is early for a lot of spaniards.) However, as I’ve gotten familiar with the change in pace, I’ve really begun to appreciate their use of the day here. Even in a big busy city like Madrid, it’s important to take your time. For example, it’s rare to find a coffee shop that sells to-go cups, as most people sit down for drinks. Not to mention the afternoon siesta helps you stay up for the whole day.
Once we made it to Granada, we moved into our homestays. My host family is two parents and their two young daughters. I’m still getting used to interacting with them, but they’ve been helping me finish or refine my sentences. So far I haven’t noticed anything drastically different in terms of family life, which has been somewhat comforting and manageable. Something I’ve been admiring about Spanish households is their conservation of water and energy. Lights are only on in rooms that are occupied, and showers are very short. These are things that people are very conscious about, something you don’t always see in the US.
The social life here is so different as well. Friends only hang out at restaurants, bars, or parks so the city is usually pretty lively. Granada is a relatively small city, and it’s so much more walkable than I expected which was a pleasant surprise. Today I walked from the old part of the city on the complete opposite side than my apartment and it only took about thirty minutes. I think that’s why many people opt to walk around rather than drive. So far my favorite part of the social scene is tapas bars. This is where most friends meet to chat and eat after their afternoon siestas.
Overall I’ve been really enjoying my time here! Although I feel like I’ve done so much in such little time, I’ve never felt like I was in a rush. I’m really excited by the cultural differences I’ve observed so far, and I look forward to learning more about living in Spain!