Monday, March 18, 2013

Following the Customs

     Going abroad means becoming accustomed to new customs, new social norms, and just general newness.  I learned in Paris many European norms so the "culture shock" that many abroad students experience hit me less this time around.  However, there still are many cultural differences here in Spain that definitely needed some getting used to. 
     For one thing there are different meal times.  Lunch is generally eaten at 2 pm at the earliest and normally much later.  Dinner is rarely eaten before 9 pm and is customarily taken around 10:30 or even later! If you locate my twitter feed on the side of my blog you will see tweets daily on how hungry I am.  If you follow me, I apologize but it has been quite difficult waiting until the end of the night to eat.  However, the best way to immerse oneself into a culture is to strive to keep to the customs!  Every night I eat around 9:45 or later (depending on when my host mother finishes preparing the meal) and I make sure to eat lunch later also. 
      Let's see about other customs, the metro...talking is allowed, no eating, be careful of pickpockets by guarding your bags and valuables...and that's it. 
      As for other customs, I honestly can't remember anything that's very distinctive and different.  For dress, try and look nice all the time and no sweats unless you're going to the gym.  A big thing here is army green colored coats! Luckily I just happened to bring my own and I blend in incredibly well! I can't even stress how many people, men and women, wear this color coat, it's crazy.  Fur coats and leather coats are also very big (especially fur if you're an old lady).  Also, dressing as if you're freezing cold even if it isn't that cold out is very important if you don't want to seem like a tourist.  Even a slight breeze is reason enough for a scarf, gloves and hat. 
      Some other general things include being conscious of water usage...for instance 10 minute showers at the most and being respectful about talking about the world economy.  Here in Spain the unemployment level is about 26%.  So, when we arrived in Madrid our program made sure to warn us not to talk about the US economy, because although it seems bad to us, it is definitely worse here.   
      Well, that's all I can think of for now and here are some random pictures to show you what I've been up to!

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