Saturday, April 13, 2013

First differences

Okay so I knew that Spain/Europe would be different, but it is kind of hilarious how different it is from the United States. I thought I would share some of the first differences I have noticed.

  • Everything is smaller. And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Cars are tiny but that is because they have to be. If you had a car bigger than a mini two-door thing, you would not be able to drive or park here. Lanes are very narrow. So narrow that they make the 31-W Bypass lanes look huge! A big car would not fit here!!! The parking spots are also tiny haha! 
  • And then let's talk about the elevators. Yes I am very thankful to have an elevator at my apartment so I am NOT complaining, I am simply sharing some of my daily life with you :). We all know that elevators are not comfortable for chlostorphobic people (that would be me). So if an elevator gets full, it can make you feel a little uneasy. I am not exaggerating when I say that the elevators here are tiny. I can put my hands on my hips and both of my elbows will be touching a wall. Now I would like for you to picture at least four adults standing together in one of these things while talking about the I am learning that I have to let go of my personal space (at least in an elevator). 
  • Cups. Cups are small. I really don't know how people here do not dehydrate and kill-over. It amazes me. Their cups are about 10 oz and they only fill it half way. AND that's all that they will drink for an entire meal! I will refill my cup like 4 times and still be thirsty (they probably think I am similar to a camel...). I also carry my water bottle with me to class. My students actually asked me about it the other day. It turns out that this is very weird and uncommon. When they asked me why I carried it, the only reply I could think of was "umm because I get thirsty?" They just gave me confused looks. 
  • Housing is tiny but I think that is normal for a big city. I'm sure that apartments are expensive here. It is just very different from the houses that we have in the states. And because of this, they do not keep extra things. The children have minimal toys and there are no junk rooms or things in storage. There is one small TV in the apartment and it is in the parents bedroom. They kept apologizing to me about it and offered to move it for me. When I told them that I didn't really watch much TV they said ahhhhh you are not a normal American are you? Haha!
  • Olive oil. Who knew that there was a difference, right?! I didn't until I came here! My host father's parents make their own olive oil and sell it. People here literally put olive oil on everything. When we have toast for breakfast, we put olive oil on it. When we have fish, we put olive oil on it. When we have tomatoes with goat cheese, we put olive oil on it. Ham sandwiches...olive oil. Think of it as our mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, honey is THE condiment here!
  • Supermarkets are not common. On our block there is a bakery, a butcher, a flower shop, a clothing store, coffee shop, magazine/newspaper shop, fruit and vegetables store, and I don't know what all else. It really is amazing how fresh everything is. Preservatives are not common and people buy their groceries as they need them. Speaking of food....some of you know that I love chocolate. Like really really love chocolate. And I had no idea what America had been holding back my entire life. I tried some local chocolate the other day and thought that I might be sitting by Jesus in heaven (not as cool, but close). Wow wow wow. I was informed that we put preservatives (wax) in our chocolate in the United States, but here they do not put any preservatives. I mean come on, I was a chocolaholic in the US so it is a good thing that I do not live here. 
  • Lotion. Okay so the lotion really isn't different here, but I'm a dummy and I thought I would tell you what happened. I wanted to put lotion on my legs the other night so I went into the bathroom because I knew that I had seen some in there. It was white and had a pump top, so I assumed that it was the lotion. I was finishing rubbing it in on the second leg when one of my little sisters came in. She had a surprised look on her face and threw her hands out, "nooooooooo, that is for your hair!" She immediately started laughing. Oops. I guess I was conditioning my legs. I knew that it felt a little weird, but hey I'm across the world I figured the lotion should be different!
  • Food. Duh the food is different Kristen! I tried some new food today....I felt very brave. It has been at least 6 hours since I ate the new food and I'm still alive, so I would consider it a success. We went to a restaurant on the beach today and I let my host parents do the ordering. We started with mussels. I know we have these in the US, but this girl does not eat things that look like they are still alive. I ate one right off of its shell. I would compare it to picking a slug up off of the sidewalk and trying to chew it before swallowing it. I'll stop there. Next they brought us fried squid. It looked like mini onion rings so I was pretty excited until they told me what it was. Again, kinda chewy. And thennnnn they brought out fried baby squid. Even though these little guys were fried, I could still see their legs (tentacles? Whatever they are called). I ate baby squid. It all worked out best when I did not think about what I was eating and I would just swallow quickly. 
  • So these are just a few of the big differences I have experienced so far. There are about a billion more hahahaha! I am adjusting well though, so no worries!


  1. Kristen, this all sounds great and you are a great story teller!

    1. Haha thanks Dr. M, I'm having a great time :)