The Spanish Way

Authored by:
Danny S.

Danny S.

How Long Have I Been Here?

So far I have officially lived in Spain for a little under two months. Within those two months I have spent 16 days outside of Spain. So for the purpose of this post, I have spent one month in Spain thus far. Leading up to my move here I read a lot about cultural norms in Spain, and things that may take adjusting to. This is a list of things I have noticed personally. Some I had heard about before, some I was surprised were real, and some are just funny!

Sunset at Siete Tetas
Sunset at Siete Tetas

Unexpected Spanish Ways

  • All the windows are always open in homes, which I love! It is a stark difference from Florida where it was in my lease to NOT open the windows due to the humidity and bug problems.
  • There are awesome blinds that are on the outside of the windows that can close all the way blocking light (great for a morning to sleep in), or they have little holes to let light and some air in without overheating when its hot out.
  • The trash truck can come at any time, including 2:15 a.m. Its not uncommon to hear someone leaf blowing at 10 p.m. either.
  • They play a lot of music in English, but the surprise comes when they play songs even I don't know!
  • Way more people smoke here than in the US. I find this surprising because in general they lead healthier lifestyles but so many people smoke. Young and old.
  • Germs are not a thing. People here cough into their hands, not elbows, if they cover their mouth at all. There seems to be less care with food handling at restaurants and such too which is a little off putting to me.
  • There are SO many stairs! The metro by my house is 3 sets of stairs down. Each set has about 60 steps (I've only kind of counted). There are escalators and I seem to be the only one that takes the stairs. My apartment also has an elevator (which not all do) and I am on the 5th floor (ground floor here is 0). I take the stairs unless I'm carrying a lot of bags. My legs are going to be so muscular!
  • PDA is real. People in the park are on top of one another and its totally the norm.
  • The weather here is very dry. I knew this but wasn't prepared for it. Also, it went from 90s to low 70s within 1 week. Summer ended real quick. 
  • Kids are out LATE! Especially before school started, there were kids in the restaurant/bars at 11:00 at night running around. Its not uncommon to see kids playing on a playground well into the night either.
  • Nighttime feels much safer here because there are so many people around. I haven't seen a dark abandoned night street yet, except my neighborhood because its mostly old people.


As far as adjusting goes, I'm doing just fine! The first few weeks were very warm and there aren't a/c units in a lot of places, so evenings were a little hard to sleep. Occasionally I struggle with the language barrier but not nearly as much as I expected. I have to hang dry my laundry because dryers aren't the norm. So basically, I play charades a lot and my clothes are not quite as soft as I'm used to. That's really all the adjustments I've had to make so I'd say things are going really well!


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