Now over a week in to my trip, and speaking Spanish about 90% of the time I’ve begun to notice what the big difference are between the US and Spain besides the obvious difference of language.
- People take more time in Spain. Here there is rarely an option of “Take-Out” even with things as common as Starbucks almost everything is served on real plates and in real mugs. So food isn’t just something you do, it’s time to talk to friends and family, there is no rush to how long it takes. Furthermore, though people have cars the use of public transport is much more wide spread. That and (God forbid we do this in America) walking. People wait for the bus, trams, and metro — and as far as I’m concerned there’s no exact schedule it just tells you when the next one is coming. I’m still getting used to this because even my normal walking speed is too fast here. Everything is done with a little more time (and no one seems to mind they just enjoy it.)
- Bikes are their own separate entity. The bike lanes aren’t in the street like in the US…they have their own lanes on the sidewalks and although not as wide as the street it’s pretty significant how much space bikes have.
- People waste less here. Lights aren’t left on if there’s no one in a room. Air conditioners aren’t used for the most part at night, instead windows are opened to let the breeze come in. People take shorter showers, even toilet’s use less water. In the hotel I stayed at the first couple of days, you had to put you hotel key in a slot to even activate the electricity for the room. Comparatively, the US wastes so many of it’s resources when you look at countries like Spain.
- Everything is public. There is very little concept here of privacy this extends from businesses to just displays of affection. Yesterday we went to the Seville branch of the Institute of Women and I was blown away. This is an institution that offers many services such as: Psychological Help to Women of Domestic Violence, Sheltering of Battered Women and Kids, Lawyers, and more….all for free to the women who seek it. How you ask? They are funded by the Government because they get some of the tax money. Yes you read that correctly. And there’s no uprising, it doesn’t matter how much money a women who goes there has anything she receives is free because everyone’s taxes helps pay for the center. (Meanwhile in America, Planned Parenthood is being defunded….I’m looking directly at you GOP).
- Everything is smaller… or maybe in America everything is bigger. From portion sizes to cars comparatively America has super-sized everything. Even the “trucks” that I’ve seen here don’t compare to the midsize cars we have back home. It’s really strange at first but when I think about it, in general people live in closer proximity to one another here. I haven’t seen any “houses” really. Mostly everything is apartment buildings that are above first floor businesses.
- Physical activity is a given. Especially on the weekends you see people outside running in the mornings through the parks and on the streets. Speaking of the parks, in one that Jordyn and I routinely pass on our way home, Prado de San Sebastian, there are areas for kids to play on that definitely have a physical exercise component to it. They even have a mini-zipline. (Videos of me on the zipline will be up shortly). There are always kids out playing soccer or basketball and they stay out for a long time.
- Lastly, with the exception of meals (and siesta) it seems like most of your day is spent outdoors here. Whether it’s sitting in a park, going for walks around the neighborhood, or just sitting outside of your building talking to neighbors, people are always outside. There’s very little sit inside all day and watch tv or be on the computer. I think this is the thing I’ve begun to appreciate the most, because honestly, with such beauty all around staying inside all the time would just be a waste, in my opinion.