So I figured it might be useful/interesting if I compiled a list of things that were most surprising and/or difficult for me to adjust to over here.Hopefully it can give you guys some more insight than your text book!

1. Ok, so first and foremost, unsurprisingly is the language barrier. I think about how weird it was when I would hear a group of foreigners speaking in their native language in the States and then I think about how I’m now part of that group. I can’t begin to explain the amount of times our Senora has taken 30 min to explain something she thought we didn’t understand, when in reality we did and just didn’t know how to tell her what we needed to say.Then again, she’s also a fiery old Spanish woman and doesn’t give us much time to explain ourselves. The first week of class was pretty rough too. I literally had headaches when I got home just because all you hear all day in class is Spanish. When you’re speaking/listening/reading everything in a language that isn’t the most automatic for you it starts to get very frustrating. Luckily everyone in my program is from the US so I can always get a break when I’m hanging out with them.

2. Secondly, I’m going to go with the amount of PDA that is displayed in this country. There’s a huge contrast between what’s accepted publicly here vs. the US. Not a single day goes by when I don’t see a minimum of 5 couples making out in the streets. And its not just like making out, it goes way beyond that.However, for the integrity of this blog I won’t go in to details.
And, side note on the PDA, the guys over here are beyond aggressive. I really wasn’t aware that it got much worse than American guys, but the guys here put them to shame.Comments, gestures, etc.., happen regardless of the time of day, regardless the age of the guy.

3. Siestas are very real, and happen no matter where you go. It’s crazy because you’ll go into the city like the middle of the day (1-1:30ish) and almost every store is closed. This makes no sense to me as to why all these businesses would want to close. Clearly nobody is working at this time so why not stay open so people can shop? But they don’t, and it’s very annoying when you need to go buy things, and they don’t open back up until around 4.

4. Their street driving is very odd. Mostly because there are a TON of little alleyways that most cars can’t even fit through, but are still used by them. I get the mopeds and motorcycles going on them, but when your side mirror is scraping the brick wall beside you I really feel like you need to reevaluate if you actually want to be using the alley as a means to get somewhere.

5. There are a bajillion stores that line every main street and every alley. I get the idea that they want to go to specialized stores for food (fruteria, panderia, pescaria, etc..) but there are so many shoe and clothing stores that sell exactly the same products as the one 2 doors away from it I have absolutely no idea how they all stay in business. I was discussing with some friends one day whether they collaborate and choose which sizes/colors each is going to sell so people would have to go to different stores for different kinds, but if this doesn’t happen I am at a loss as to how they all make money.

6. There is no way to generalize the people. Only after I was asked this question did I realize this. There’s no general way of dressing, of appearances, of personality, you can’t put them into any kind of group at all. I’m still trying to figure out what’s considered “in style” over here because most of the time the girls look like they picked about 5 things out of their closet and threw them on. I don’t understand it, it’s definitely a European thing.

Of course there’s more, but I’d say those have been the majors so far.I wasn’t sure exactly which pictures to include with this so I just picked some from a recent trip we took to Ronda, which is east of Granada towards the coast.It was really pretty, but it rained almost the entire time so it was hard to appreciate completely; especially since our entire trip was a walking tour of the city.

Hasta luego!

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