Sunday, February 17, 2008

Culture and differences

Well here I am in Spain after the long Journey half way across the world! It was pretty stressful to start off my trip. Between the five connecting flights to Madrid my luggage was lost and sent from London back to New York and then finally to Madrid to the Seville airport. However, I did get a few new outfits from the delayed arrival of my clothes. Things have all seemed to work out in the end and I am so thankful for that. Before I left Alaska, in the last week of preperation I went to a Chinnese resturant where I got a great fortune cookie.."Find release from your cares, have a good time" how fitting! I am known to stress but since being gone I have learned to be a little more relaxed (I only get to class 15min early now ha.)

Like many countries or even states, Spanish culture is unique in its own way. The traditional greeting between people is a kiss on the left cheek then a kiss on the right. Everyone says hello and goodbye in this way. I found that even young people use this as much as saying goodbye, beso beso (kiss kiss). Even in a large room with six friends you go around saying hola mi nombre es Britta hola! For every person! Many times it's very tiring but it is just how things are.

*When eating at the dinner table the polite way to eat is with both hands placed on the table. Your hands in your lap is considered rude, always have your hangs resting on the table during a meal.

* The Service is much different. In the United States everywhere you go people are always rushed. Here in a resturant (from working at the Beartooth) the servers are not waiting for their next turnover and how fast the busser can clean up but instead they too wait until you are comfortable and ready to order. In most cafes you have to signal to the server that you are ready. It's not that they are ignoring you because you are American it is just another custom.

* Spanish time is also very different from US time. In Alaska I would call it "my moms kind of time". When a spainard says they will meet you at a cafe in 30min, what they really mean to say is that in 30min they will think about leaving but wont arrive for another hour. Momma you would fit in so well here, I love you!

*Bathrooms and Kitchens! Bathrooms are very very small. I think that is the one thing that I miss most (besides for Family and Friends) a good shower. Alaskans are very spoiled with all our water and in Spain water is very important. The water pressure in the flush of my toilet is stronger than in my shower. Showers are always quick and sometimes cold. Katherine you don't know what a quick shower is until you visit me. Sunday mornings in our house (In Alaska) would be preferable any day compared to how quickly the hot water runs out. I do not know how these women in spain cook, but Dad I am telling you that you can not burn anything or our apartment complex would have the fire truck here all the time! The kitchen in my home can maybe fit two or three people.

*Forget Trucks! No one here owns a car larger than a four door car. It would be a waste of space cars are parked everwhere. Autobus is the only form of transportation worth taking. Taxi is worth the money if you are traveling in fours but I always walk or take the bus in Sevilla.

* "Public restrooms".... Do not exist. If you happen to fall across a restroom somewhere, do not expect it to have toilet paper! I still forget that! So I always bring my own just in case. Not at all like Alaska where you can just pull over, the only trees here are parks full of kids and fountains, honest.

1 comment:

Mack said...

Wow, Britta! Very thoughtful and well written! Longest post so far, lol, not surprised it was the first one. Remember you'll be looking back on these later in your life so it's best to be detailed! But awesome job.