Since it’s coming up to my 9 month anniversary of living in Salamanca, you could say that I know the ‘Spanish ways’ by now. Over the past few months, people watching and making friends with Spaniards, i’ve noticed a lot of differences between the British and the Spanish. Here’s a couple, care to agree or disagree,
- Family is very important
I’m not saying that family isn’t important back home in the UK but there’s more respect and tradition here. Every Sunday you will see big Spanish families coming together and having a big lunch, sitting outside in the sun or going walks together. It’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s big, it’s a typical Spanish family. They also have MASSIVE respect for the elderly over here and everyone dotes on them. NEVER think of trying to overtake an elderly person in a supermarket or grumble behind them because you will get shouted at for lack of respect!
2. They are very relaxed
Bit of a general statement but it’s so true, they hardly get frazzled or stressed about something that’s not important. For example back home people get stressed about having nothing to wear or what so and so said etc but here they hardly care! They just accept things and move on whereas I feel like back home we always are always constantly worrying or rushing around to get somewhere but here life just slowly drifts by.
3. They like to voice their opinions
I think maybe one of the reasons that they are less stressed out is because they voice their opinions when they have an issue rather than just let it build up and be passive-aggressive. When a Spaniard has an issue with you, boy will they let you know! But the issue gets cleared up by confronting it head on therefore I think voicing your opinion is very beneficial whereas back home we are too timid. Furthermore it’s not just personal issues that they voice their opinion on. There are at least 2/3 demonstrations a week in Salamanca – women’s rights, university cuts, pension cuts, anti-fascist marches – you name it. They like to make their voice heard when something is bothering them rather than live unhappily.
4. They eat super healthy
Ok, bit of an exaggeration but the Mediterranean diet is 100x healthier.
For example when you go to supermarkets you won’t find a sweet/chocolate aisle, it just doesn’t exist! If you want to get sweeties you have to go to a picknmix shop specifically for that and if you want to go for cakes you have to go to a bakery. You’re more likely to find a Spaniard munching on nuts and crisps rather than chocolate etc they didn’t even have easter eggs here for crying out loud!
Also eating tapas portions makes you realise how little food you actually do need to be full. For example back home you would go out and order a burger or a roast and the plate is full so obviously you eat it all but with tapas you have one or two then realise hey i’m actually full.
Furthermore fruit & veg is very cheap here compared to back home, a punnet of strawberries is 1,50 euros aka like £1.20!!! soooo good compared to getting ripped off in waitrose or sainsbury’s. Being so cheap a lot of dishes are based around vegetables and fresh fish or meat.
5. Nights Out are LOCO
No one does a night out like the Spanish do. NO ONE
It’s cheap, it’s late, it’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s a blast.
For clubs there is no ID on the doors, no bouncers, it’s very relaxed. But when you get in it’s crazy, people standing on the speakers, bodies everywhere, shakira blasting. Furthermore it’s very cheap you can pay 5 euros at the door and that gets you 10 free drinks. RIDICULOUS i know. However the drinks are only sangria or beer. If you want a vodka or a gin it’s pretty pricey because it’s not a drink made in Spain.
The timings of a Spanish night out are probably the most difficult thing to adapt to because everything is pushed forward 3hrs. For example pre-drinks will start at 11am then you go to a bar at 2am then clubs OPEN at 3am!! Then you leave the club at like 6am. It’s mental and absolutely draining but hey that’s what a siesta is for the next again day!
Back home it’s still kind of girls are friends with girls and guys are friends with guys and it’s strange if a guy and girl are best friends. But here it’s completely normal, if a boy is going out for coffee/pint with you he means to be friends with you, there’s no weird social stigma about boys and girls being friends like there is back home. Furthermore everyone TALKS in Spain. Now luckily in Glasgow everyone does talk because it’s such a vibrant/chatty/friendly city but in some other places in the UK everyone is seen to be afraid of one another and always on their phone. However in Spain if you dared to whap out your phone while at pre-drinks or dinner you will get a slap on the hand. It’s seen as rude. The Spanish really only use their phones to whatsapp, they hardly ever use it to scroll and leisurely pass the time, it;s purpose is to contact friends and that’s that. I think it’s refreshing and that was one of the big differences i noticed when i went back at Christmas how many people were glued to their phones 24/7.
Don’t even think about turning up to your lecture in gym clothes or in a typical ‘west end look’ you will get set back out the door. The Spanish dress up for every occasion. For example to university now i would wear black jeans and a blouse and proper shoes whereas back home I would stroll into uni wearing running leggings, my pj top and an oversized jumper. They care about their appearance here and like to dress nicely. However saying that the boys either dress like their from the 90s clueless movie in track-suit bottoms & slogan t-shirts.
Another great thing is that hardly anyone wears make-up. Rejoice! Hallelujah! As a girl who wears no make-up whatsoever (except mascara & some lipstick from time to time) i always felt out of place back home but here it’s bare-face country. Partly because it’s too hot & sticky to wear make up and partly because no one cares.
Back home everyone is obsessed with their pets and animals however in Spain they aren’t treated with as much love. For example in Glasgow there are a billion veggie/vegan options everywhere and a lot of animal rights charities but this doesn’t exist in Spain. They are big meat eaters over here with 500x butchers down every street and live octopus and lobsters in the fish markets. And the only pets that i have seen are little Chihuahua dogs and a couple of cats.
9. They are LOUD
Warning; come to Spain and expect to get your ear-drum blown off. They speak hundred miles an hour, talk over one another, dramatically shout when their angry, scream when they’re excited, laugh like a fog-horn. Witnessing a Spanish conversation is a novelty in itself. Every conversation is like a play and is very dramatic.
10. OVERALL the Spanish way of life is for me!
RAWR – cool street art in El barrio Oeste in Salamanca
Pretty Street in Córdoba
Markets in Granada
Architecture in Spain is the dreaaaaaam
Hiking Trip in Granada
Brits abroad in Plaza Mayor Salamanca