This afternoon my host dad (Jorge) asked me – Lindsey, what are the differences between Spain and America. I’ve had some time to think about this as this is my second go round in Espana (what can I say I love the Spanish)
The truth is there are waaaaay too many to count, but in an attempt to humor him and myself for that matter I decided to compile a short, but I think very accurate list.
- Structure. I grew up in a household where fast food was food group and the car was my kitchen. It didn’t matter where we were, what time it was or what the food was. We ate when we wanted, where we wanted and what we wanted. Here is a little different.
Pasta for dinner? No. Hamburgers for lunch? don’t even ask. Dinner at 6? you must be joking. The structure is intense. Soups, rice and pasta are to had for lunch. Burgers and salads for dinner. For snack (aka America’s lunchtime) fruit. I eat a small sandwich and still get weird looks from the teachers. One time I dared to bring pasta and it seemed like the pueblo was going to implode.
I. cant. stand. it.
For a fully grown lady (I say that only because I pay all my own bills, but by no means am I an adult) it’s extremely frustrating. If I want pizza for breakfast lemme have it, pasta at noon, take a chill pill, pero bueno. I digress.
The only good burger in all of Spain
Also what’s with always setting the table? I literally say down to eat solo style and the mesa was set to a tea, bread, water, glasses, forks and knives. It’s just not necessary and seems like a waste of energy.
2. The Food. Now I know a lot of people say “Omg Lindsey the food in Spain is so good!”. To which I respond, what do you think Spanish food is? Paella? yes, for special occasions – Birthdays, Holidays, and the occasionally visitor – so we’re talking 3-4 times a year. What else you got? Tapas? Ok good, so exactly what do you think is on your tapas? If you guess sardines, sausages, boiled eggs, octopus, morcilla (google it) and tuna, then you are in fact correct. They are, how do I say this gently, not all their cracked up to be. And just like with any other food, if you eat it everyday without change you will get sick of it. But Lindsey, what about the olive oil? Yes they do cook with a lot of olive oil, but not in a good way, my fish, hamburgers, vegetables and everything else is literally boiled in olive oil and let me tell you that shit is not pleasant. Unlike the grease in America that be blot of or that dries, olive oil does not, it pools into your plate, on the crevasses of your meat and especially in your skin. Greasy much? thank you, yes I am. Like really? Me muero.
My friends and I regularly sit down at our dinner tables only to find that our main course for the night is a plate of sausages, pig lips, a bowl of broccoli and other creations. Let me just tell you right now, that when I talk to you and I saw I miss American food don’t you dare judge me. Not until you’ve eaten chorizo everyday for 3 months.
Take a little guess at what this delicacy is.
3. Laundry. Like most European countries, the Spanish don’t necessarily use dryers, so our clothes are set out on racks or other things to dry. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind this at all, except when I do. After living in New York for several year and having to pay for my laundry I’ve learned to stretch things pretty far. This means doing laundry about once a month, so when I need clothes I need them like, yesterday. I don’t have time to wait 2 days for my underwear to dry Ineedthemlikenow. Another fun fact, because clothes aren’t always dried in a dryer they can get a little crispy so they like to use something I refer to as suavizante aka fabric softener aka natures perfume. Unlike the fabric softener of the States this shit reeks, it gets into every pore, invades every strand of clothing you own every hair on your body. It’s strong. Don’t want to use suavizante? Fine, enjoy your crispy pants! Let me know how it feels like have paper cuts on your legs 😀
Can’t live without it.
4. El Rollo. The culture of going out here is totally different than in America. We like shots, large glasses of wine, and to party. However, the idea here is completely different. If you try to drink 3 glasses of wine here like you do in America let me tell you, you will in fact regret it. Not only is the wine 3948903 stronger here but people will think you actually have a drinking problem. No one here drinks to get drunk, but rather to enjoy themselves. Hence why they stay out until the sun rises versus until they pass out. American’s take note. Also la marcha doesn’t end when you’re 30, 40 or even 50. Kids at the bar? no problem, staying out until sunrise at 40? totally acceptable, drinking everyday during descanso, lunch and dinner? maybe not so much, but I’m willing to take one for the team and give it a try.
5. Time. Now I feel like this should’ve been first but this is what I’ve had the most trouble with (living in New York and all) I’m usually always in a rush. But here no pasa nada. People don’t rush, lunch takes 2-3 hours (yes please) dinner the same, and going out to eat at a restaurant? don’t even attempt it if you’re in a rush. It’s just not worth it. I wake up as late as possible, grab breakfast to go (another thing they don’t get). Stuff my face during descanso and lunch (we don’t eat dinner until 9:30 most days) and siesta. That’s fucking right, I siesta every.single.day. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop. It’s honestly something we should bring back to the U.S. I feel better, I treat everyone around me better. Todo esta bien.
That being said, I love Spain, the people, the food, the lifestyle everything, BUT I also am super homesick, miss American food and most of all I miss butter.