Tuesday, May 14, 2013

¡Qué extraño!

For those of you who do not speak Spanish, "¡Qué extraño!" is the equivalent of "How strange!" Obviously, while living in a foreign country I have encountered many different things that I find strange. My family has also found a few things about me to be strange. I'll share a few of those first.

-One night I had just gotten out of the shower and was sitting on the couch. I told my parents I was about to go to bed and they exclaimed, "With wet hair?!" When I told them yes, they could not understand how I am able to go to bed with wet hair and not wake up sick in the morning. It was kind of a funny conversation.

-The first day I was here, all my family drank was water. The second day though, at lunch my mom asked me what I wanted to drink. Naturally I just said milk, since I'm used to drinking milk, and they looked at me and said, "Milk with your lunch? That's interesting." Haha. They do not really just drink milk here. And from what other students here have said, if they do drink milk, they drink it warm.

-My family finds it very strange that I do not drink pop. They also found my roll-up Vapur water bottle to be very cool and had never seen anything like it.

-Today I was watching TV with my dad at lunch and there was a chocolate fountain in the background of who they were interviewing. He pointed and said "Look at that! It's like a fountain of chocolate!" I said yeah and explained what it was and he thought it was so cool and could not believe it was real and that we actually have them.

-One difficult experience I had yesterday, was trying to set up my cellphone when everything was in Spanish. It was much more difficult than I thought to navigate through the menu and figure out the settings, but all of a sudden I came across how to change the language and that helped tremendously.

-Another thing I find really strange here is the sidewalks. They are very, very narrow, and in many places they can only fit one-person wide. It makes walking and talking with someone quite difficult, and it's kind of awkward when you encounter someone trying to walk the opposite way.

-Toilets. The toilets here look just a little bit different than in the US, but you flush them by pushing a button on the top. Took me a while to figure it out the first time, but I have the hang of it now. They also have different style toilets for the men in the bathroom.

-Here in Spain, people smoke in public. I always see people walking around and smoking or standing on the corner with cigarettes. I am very not used to that and it's really disgusting actually.

-The people here drive kind of crazy-like. They all have manual cars so there's a lot of jerking and starting/stopping. They don't stop for pedestrians until the last second so I can never quite tell if someone is going to stop or not. They also just kind of park wherever, which is really interesting.

-Another thing I've had to get used to in Spain is the besos, or kisses. When you meet someone for the first time, you do not shake their hand or give them a hug. You do the double kiss thing on both cheeks. It was super weird and awkward at first, but in these first days I've met tons of people and now it's just natural to do. Besos are also used if you see someone on the street you haven't seen for a while, or want to thank someone for a gift, etc. When little kids do it, it's so cute :)

-The light switches here are very different and look like large white toggle squares. The one really nice thing though, is that I have two light switches in my room: one by the door, and one right next to my bed. It's genius, really. I can get all settled into bed while the light is still on, and then just reach over and turn it off. Brilliant.

-All of the rooms, including the kitchen, living room, and stairways have doors. So if you are trying to go from room to room, you have to walk through a few doors. I was pretty clumsy at navigating through them at first, but it has gotten much better now.

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