Today or tomorrow marks the half way mark of our program. People keep telling me different days and I dont feel like counting myself so today seems fine to me. I cant believe that it has only been half of the program but I also feel like it has been flying by too fast. In celebration I am posting all of things I have learned being in Spain so far.
1. Siesta time exists. It is quite genius to be honest. I wish America could catch onto this tradition. Siesta time here is when everything in town closes from 2-5pm and everyone goes home to take a nap. After the nap they open back up the stores and stay open until very late into the night. I swear this town is the busiest around 8pm or so. The only time I recall complaining about siesta time is when Chloe and I forgot about it and tried find some food to buy but everything was closed.
2. Anna Maria has a bunch of mirrors alls about her house. Everywhere I turn. It is almost out of control. This has recently become a depressing fact because I now get to see 50 times a day that I have gained weight since I have been here.
3. When spaniards say that everyone is welcome into their house, they dont mean it. One day over lunch Anna Maria was going on and on about how awesome her house is compared to other homes offered in the program. She continued to say that our friends in the program could come over. I validated this offer and she confirmed her openness to guests. The next day I asked if two of the girls in our program could come over to use the internet and eat here. She understood my request and looked at me as if I said the most insulting words she had ever heard in her life. I will never ask again.
4. I now in my life have motion sickness and it is quite annoying. Never had a problem with it until about 2 years ago. Sucks because I love roller coasters too much but it wont stop me from riding them. This issue has been brought too my attention more frequently here because we ride buses for long hours at times on weekend trips. We ride metros, train, and buses everyday so I cant exactly avoid it.
5. If someone sneezes here you can either say "Salud" or "Jesus". They like to use "Jesus". Interesting.
6. Everyone here is obsessed with scarves, not just Anna Maria. Nuf said.
7. Children and teenagers here love Americans. Anyone older thinks we are annoying. Kids get all excited when they find out we are from America though. We asked directions from middle school aged kids on the streets and they got all excited. After finding out that we were from America one girl jumped up off the bench all excited and yelled "I love America!!!!" and then with a fist pumped in the air, "Go USA!!!!".
8. I never knew how much of an influence the states had on the rest of the world. I was shocked to hear that the only music people really listen to here is American music. It plays on the buses here and it is blasted loud from all the cars on the road driving by. Its nice, but surprising. Movies here are all American movies. All the shows here are even American shows with Spanish words over it so the mouths moving and words dont match. Oscar watches Sponge Bob eeeeveryday. I have also noticed that any shirts that have words on them are in English. Our mom here has this tea cup that say something like "To my wife: I love you all you life" in English. I dont know, I just dont think I would enjoy a shirt with Spanish words on them nor would I enjoy listening to Spanish music all the time in America. It was just odd to see how much Spain is affected by America. Like that teenage girl said on the street, Go USA!
9. I have never disliked bread so much. I am fed bread everyday for breakfast and I have the hardest time. Dont tell Anna Maria, but Chloe and I most mornings will just stuff the bread or crepes we cant eat in the morning into a napkin. Then we either eat it later, or offer it to someone at school. I mean I like bread, bread is great, but in the morning at 8 it just seems like too much of a task to accomplish. I am used to eating nothing, or fruit for breakfast so this has been quite difficult. One thing I will never deny for breakfast is the hot chocolate she makes us.
10. Every mom here is an expert seamstress and a great fixer upper. Anna Maria can fix ANYTHING. Literally. Also the nicest lady in the world besides my mom.
11. Every male Spaniard might be a perve. Might. So far it has been true. If you hearing any sudden noises, just dont look, its another perve. Kissing noises, whistles, startling shouts are common ways of getting our attention. And it works. Who wouldnt look around at what was making that dreadful noise. I have gotten used to it though.
12. Porn on the streets is just fine. Especially on the billboards at the bus stops.
13. Having a boyfriend and basically making babies in public is also just a-okay here.
14. I really enjoy hearing what English phrases people know when shouted at us. "Hello, How do you do?" I also seriously love realizing that someone around you speaks English. It is so refreshing and you want to be their best friend so that you can talk to them in English all day.
15. Cops are everywhere here. It is extremely relieving to know that on almost every block there is a policeman. They also drive through parks in police cars almost every 15 minutes.
16. Chloe and I pass this African man everyday on the way to class. He is pretty young, has dreads and wears a red coat. Chloe never recognized him until a couple weeks ago, I explained him as our friend we pass in the red coat. He is no longer our friend upon hearing how he whispered creepy nothings into the ear of one of our classmates while passing her everyday too.
17. Never walk in the park next to our house after dark. Gangs reside there causing mischief and fireworks that sound like guns. No way are these kid gangs. Full grown men gangs. Outside our window.
18. There are a lot of parks around our town. In one of the parks I discovered this play ground for adults! This play ground is the coolest because its an out door weight room. They are a bunch of weight stations that use your weight against yourself. Its pretty sweet. This is just another one of the things on my long list of things I think America should adapt. Maybe we wouldnt be so obese.
19. Milka chocolate is the best chocolate I have ever tasted in my life.
20. Parking here is out of control. People here create their own parking spots wherever they want to. You want to park on the sidewalk? Well sure, go ahead kind sir. You want to leave your car in the middle of the streets and think it is okay as long as you have your emergency light on? Why not.
21. No one here ever gets married or wears wedding rings. They just move in with eachother and have kids. Anna Maria says that it is more of a religious thing to get married.
22. The news here on tv is not as screened, filtered, or reduced to insignificance as America.
23. Anna Maria cooks this mystery sea food soup. I no longer trust sea food here unless it is shrimp.
24. Just when you think you are progressing in speaking and understanding Spanish, you find that you actually know no Spanish at all.