Wow, I haven’t written here in forever!!!!! So much to catch up on, but the hardest part is to begin – right?? Anyway, I am studying abroad throughout Europe now, so I will dedicate this blog now to my impressions of each of the country. Also I will attempt to write a bit in each language.
Ahora estoy en Espana, asi que voy a escribir en espanol. No te preocupas, solamente voy a escribir un poquito en las otras lenguas…Me encanta Salamanca, Espana!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok here are a few quick things I’ve learned:
1. Spain is very different from N.Y. – the food is different, the architecture is different, and the culture and laws are different. Well not to mention, the language es diferente, claro!
2. People say “Hola” to every stranger.
3. People take siestas (naps) every day, and all businesses take a break in the middle of the day for this reason. Businesses also close for the weekends. In Salamanca, everything closes at 2pm. on Saturdays, and don’t work on Sundays at all.
4. Only commercial stores and restaurants stay open, but don’t expect to receive anything that they have on the menu. At times they only serve tapas, or kinds of snacks/appetizers. Also, if you purchase a drink, at certain times you get a free tapa per each drink you order.
5. Cars don’t believe in stopping for pedestrians, and a car can pop out of any corner at any time. The streets are not symmetrical, and seem to have no pattern whatsoever. While that makes the city look endearing and antique, it also becomes the reason for the whole car confusion. There are barely any streetsigns or lights…The parking rules in effect are basically to park anywhere, on any side and facing any way of the road..hmmm…
6. If anyone read my 21+ crowd post, this is a good follow up: 21 doesn’t matter in Spain!!!!!!!! Or anywhere else in the world other than U.S., for that matter!!!!! No hassle, no IDs, nothing at bars, discos (clubs, discotekas) or anywhere at restaurants. Wine is common everywhere, and they won’t ask you for your ID.
7. At the same time, smoking becomes an issue. As a NY’er, I’m used to having a smoke-free environment in most establishments, and everywhere indoors. Not so much here…People smoke just about anything, just about anywhere…So I guess it’s no Amsterdam, but it’s definitely way more laid back than anywhere else I’ve been.
8. The food: Well…….what can I say? Every culture has different tastes. I love seafood, but even for me I think there is a bit too much seafood served in Spain. Then again, I’m mostly judging from the school cafeteria, and what they serve here at the dorms. Most of the food is fried and contains fish, you never know what you will get from how it looks on the outside, haha…But some of the soups I’ve tried are delicious – seafood soup, and some rice and potato soup. The seafood paella is good, and so is their pizza. They have french fries, which is just about the average American student’s pick for every meal, morning, noon and dinner. Speaking of dinner, because of all the siesta-ing, the people normally eat dinner at 9pm, which follows the early 1:30 or 2:oo pm lunch. In between, I guess they normally eat tapas and rest, and just relax. Overall, everyone basically just relaxes, it’s so laid back. I love it, but at the same time I am still learning to what extent it gets, it still surprises me…
Well that’s all for now. I know you’re wondering more about my living situation, my studies, and personal encounters…but that’s the general pic I will leave you with for now…