Congratulations! You have survived living a whole month in Spain! During this time you have already had a bunch of funny moments with the lovely Spaniards.
You are getting used quickly to one of the best traditions (siesta, anyone?) and beginning to appreciate the weirdest ones (are you missing your personal space?). Maybe at the beginning you found some things annoying that you will miss when you come back to your country, so try to take the best of the experience getting in touch with Spaniards, and taking into account that what you may consider impolite could be something polite in this culture! Let’s consider some examples:
- Punctuality. We are well-known for not being very punctual, if you hang out with a Spaniard, she/he will not arrive late, you will have arrived too soon! The concept of time among good friends is pretty relative as 10-15 minutes later is considered on time. When she/he arrives, you will hear a lot of stories explaining why she or he is late.Quedamos sobre las 6pm= we are meeting AROUND 6pm, which actually means: we are meeting at 6:15pm
- Touch, touch, and more touch! We love touching, even if we don’t know you, we are going to give you a kiss on each cheek when we see you. That’s a cultural rule! The other one is related to body language which means that everything we try to say is accompanied by gestures (they all make sense to us) and by touching your arm or your shoulder. Believe me, we are not flirting or trying to spread germs to everyone, it is just that we don’t know what personal space bubble means!Ps: yes, we kiss when we meet and when we say goodbye. However, men just shake hands with other men.
- ¡Mañana! That is the Spanish keyword. We really think it can solve all the problems we have. If we need to do something boring or we have to go somewhere we don’t feel like going or meet someone we don’t feel like meeting, we just say: ¡mañana!Let’s check some common expressions:Mañana lo hago: I’ll do it tomorrow (liar…)
Pásate mañana: come back tomorrow (I don’t feel like doing it now)
Mañana te llamo: I’ll call you tomorrow
Nos vemos: we’ll meet someday (Very common expression used when you bump into someone in the street you haven’t seen in a long time, and you both know that nos vemos doesn’t literally mean “we see each other” but “it’s not in my plans but I hope we can see each other in a situation like this one”)
Or worse, all together: mañana nos vemos
- ¿Qué te pasa qué tienes esa cara? Literally it would be: what’s up with you having that face? This actually means that you don’t look good and we are asking if you have any problem. This is not impolite and we really say this to our friends. Directness among friends means politeness. More confianza (reliability) you have, more direct you can be.
- We need bread as you need peanut butter. Bread is part of the Spanish culture since Romans introduced it in Hispania. Besides, Spanish bread has no extra sugar which makes it pretty healthy. Everyday you have to go to the bakery and have a small talk with the baker you know since you moved to your neighborhood. Loyalty to this baker can be awarded with the best bread he has and he keeps only for you because he knows you will always go to his place. Kinds of bread:
Barra de pan (baguette)
Pan de chapata
- “Private” life. We like talking, talking to everyone even if we don’t know them. People older than 45 years old, probably keep this feature more than youngsters. They will talk to you as if you were their kids or even their grandchildren. This is great for practising the language plus taking part in the gossiping activity is good for health (at least we believe that here.)
- Me relié. For those studying in Andalucía the verb reliarse is really important, it means that you were going out for a while with your friends, but life just happens and you come back home too early…next morning!
See you in the next post 🙂