Hello! Guess what? I am in Spain right now. It is still shocking to me that I am an ocean away from my friends and family. However, I have been making some new ones here. It has been one week since I landed and I already found a great, supportive friend group. Of course, they are from the US. They are part of my program and we have been together every day for classes and activities. So making friends have not been a problem, luckily!
However, I have experienced some cultural shocks. Here are some that I noticed, both good and bad:
People from Salamanca can be very blunt at times. I’ve noticed this by going to stores and restaurants. Customer service is bad compared to the US. For example, I went to a Tapas place (places that sell small foods before the big meals), and I was trying to gain the attention of the servant for a good 5 minutes while other people were ordering before me. My mentors advised me to be more demanding when trying to get their attention. It is no hard feelings, just business. So maybe I should appreciate the customer service in the US, its is really friendly compared to here.
Food. So, there is some really tasty foods here. Including tortilla de patata, paella, jamón serrano. But there is some dishes that lack flavor. Spaniards cook with a lot of olive oil, garlic, and a little bit of salt. They do not use any other seasoning from that. Also, they do not use pepper nor anything spicy. It will take me a while to get use to this food.
Eating hours. I am use to eating lunch at noon and dinner at 6 PM. In Spain, the hours of eating are very different. I eat lunch around 2:30 PM and dinner at 9 PM. The amount of food is also very different. A lunch meal is much bigger than a dinner meal. There is times when I feel very hungry between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner. However, that is when the tapas come in play. I usually eat a small snack like an empanada or a bocadillo between these times. Something I enjoy from the different eating meals is that there is a set schedule to eat. Businesses and schools close during the lunch hours so everyone can join their families to eat lunch. Families are much more closer this way as they talk about their day or the politics of the country. I got really close with my housemother, Manuela and roommate, Bryce through these lunch meals. I really enjoy it.
Walks to class. Although Salamanca is a city, it almost feels like a town. Everything is walking distance from my house. Not many people use cars nor public transportation to class or work. People really enjoy walking here and I can say that I do as well. I enjoy walking to class every morning and passing through beautiful buildings like the Plaza Mayor or el Palacio de Monterrey. Although, it is a 20 minute walk, I enjoy every second of it. Below I have attached some of the beautiful sites I walk by to class. Enjoy!