Hola! I have been abroad for almost two months now. Granada, Spain is a beautiful city with the Albaicín, the gorgeous Alhambra, and amazing food. My daily routine here consists of coffee, Siesta, and late dinners.
I especially love this city and its coffee. One of my favorite things about Spain is how people take their time to drink coffee. Coffee is not typically taken to go here: it is more common to sit and enjoy your coffee. Coffee and a croissant or pastry are also super common combinations for breakfast. Cafe con le, or coffee with milk, is very popular here and is my go-to drink. Most cafes also have an assortment of pastries, tarts, and cakes to choose from. I occasionally get churros and chocolate with my coffee. Spain is known for its amazing churros which taste amazing with coffee. The waiters give you a lot of space when eating and it is common to stay in a cafe for an hour or even more so I sometimes bring a book to enjoy at a cafe. I usually skip breakfast or eat in the car on the way to my university back home so slowing down to eat meals and drink coffee has been very refreshing.
Lunch here is way later than in the states at around 2:30. Lunch is the most important meal here and is generally the most filling meal. I stay in the residencia so I have lunch with my friends every day. I love having space in my day to see friends and having a similar schedule to everyone else here. It makes making friends and meeting up with friends way easier. Lunch is followed by siesta time (nap time). Siesta is from around 2-5 pm when most shops and places are closed and Spaniards have a break in their day. I usually take a siesta during this time or use this to hang out with friends and relax after classes. It is nice to have a break during the day.
I think the biggest shock for me here was how late dinner is here. Dinner is from around 8:30 to 10:30 pm. Dinner is smaller than lunch and is another mealtime to connect with people. It is nice to have meals with friends and catch up with each other as well as practice my Spanish.
The pace and schedule of life in Spain are so different from what I am used to back home but I have learned a lot from the Spanish culture. Having mealtimes to connect with people allows me to return to my studies feeling happier and refreshed. Spain has taught me how to slow down and enjoy the moment, take care of myself, and not feel guilty for taking a break and reflecting on life. Food is used to connect families and communities. I love that meals are a time to connect with family and friends and that is something I hope to implement when I get back to the states. I think it’s important to take breaks during the day and remember what is important and be grateful for the people around you.
Samma Elhammady is a student at University of Houston and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying with ISA in Granada, Spain.