Why I Stand Out
I've been living in Spain for almost 7 weeks now, so I've noticed the things that people here always comment on about my appearance and manner. They've been actually pretty unexpected, so I thought I would share. Here are the top 5 things that make Spanish people give me a second look.
1. My hair
I have, if you haven't noticed already from my pictures, incredibly curly hair. That's pretty uncommon here. I've had a lot of people come up to me and pull on my curls without asking, just to see them bounce back. I have to admit, it's a little annoying, but, like I've said, Spaniards have a very different sense of personal space, so it isn't all that surprising.
2. My walk
I'm from New York. That means that I walk like I'm from New York. If you are unfamiliar with that, it means that I walk very quickly and with a purpose. I think this actually bothers me more than anyone here, because I always end up miles ahead of the people I'm walking with. It's also a bit of an issue because people think that I'm getting impatient with how slowly they're walking, but I'm really not trying to walk quickly!
3. I'm left-handed
Apparently people in Spain still tend to associate left-handedness with the Devil, and therefore try to train their kids out of it. In my class of about 50 or 60 people, I've only noticed one other person who is left-handed, and whenever people see me writing to eating, they comment on the fact that I am. I really didn't expect this, and it threw me off guard a little. I guess I'm an offshoot of the Devil now!
4. I can't roll my "r"s
I know, I know. I'm studying abroad in Spain, I should at least be good enough at Spanish to roll my "r"s. Well, I can't. When I try, it's not the prettiest sight, and people tease me constantly for it (Side Note: A good trick is to make them say "Massachusetts" and they'll immediately stop making fun of you). Oh well. No matter how hard I try, I'll never truly me Spanish.
5. My constant exhaustion
Spanish teenagers have more energy than Jack Russell Terriers! I rarely see any of my classmates yawn, even though more of them skip breakfast and only eat a couple of Oreos or chips during recreo. Whenever they ask why I'm always a zombie by the end of the day, I tend to chock it up to the mental concentration it takes to only communicate in Spanish with so many people for such a long time. And mind you, I'm usually one of the most awake people in school!
I know that this was an incredibly short post, but it's something that I've been thinking about lately. I think that it says a surprising amount about the culture, especially when you consider what people don't mention (This really is just referring to my height. Spanish people tend to be shorter than Americans and I LOVE it).
I came into the program with a relatively high level of Spanish for a non-native speaker, but I can tell that my Spanish has really improved and I feel much... keep reading