Normally lists have a number applied to them, but this list is open-ended, so I'm not going to put a number on it. Maybe after I move out of Spain, but even then I'm sure when I'm not living here I'll think of things that I love[d] about the country, and add them on when I please. First I'll give you a bit of history...
I first moved to Spain in 2009, and lived and studied abroad in Getxo/Bilbao (Pais Vasco) in the north. It blew my mind to see that there were other ways of living, eating and being, and really expanded my mentality and desires for the future. I knew as soon as I was packing up to go back home, that someday I'd move back. I didn't know how, I didn't know when, but I did know. Skip forward three and a half years, some grammatical differences, and here we are, I'm back! This time, I moved to the south (Andalucia), to the magical, amazing city of Sevilla. I'm currently writing this from my couch in Sevilla, where I've been living and teaching since January of 2013 (in Sevilla, not on my couch...). And, I am going to be staying another school year...I think.
So, in the course of the 2+ years I've spent living in this great country, I've definitely had time to notice some things. These are some of the things that have caused me to fall in love with this country:
- Life seems to move at a slower pace. If you are walking around, chances are you're going to be thinking, "Why in the heck are they walking soooo sloooowwwlllyyy?" And then suddenly the person in front of you will stop (perhaps outside a ground-level apartment window) and just start chatting, as if nothing else is going on. I gather that the point of life isn't so much to race around, make money, and get on to the next thing, but instead, it's about spending good, quality time, with people you enjoy and love. And that, I LOVE.
- That it's perfectly acceptable to eat lunch at three in the afternoon, or dinner at eleven at night. These times aren't going to blow anyone's mind, but if you try to have lunch at noon, well, they might not even have the kitchen ready for that kind of thing yet. (This one is a double-edged sword, since I'm not such a fan of 10pm dinners.)
- I love that the aforementioned lunches aren't considered abnormal if they last for more than an hour, two hours, three hours. It is so incredible to pass two hours at one meal with people. Laughing, eating, enjoying life, and very importantly, the food.
- THE COLORS. Oh my GOSH the colors in Spain are amazing! Well, it's different in the north and south, but here in the south, there are beautifully ceramic tile walls all over, potted flowers on most balconies, orange trees lining the streets, and brightness everywhere you go. So. many. flowers!!!! Definitely can be attributed to so much sun, which is another thing I love about southern Spain.
- Seeing little hoards of tiny, tiny, tiiiny (short) old ladies walking around chatting. It's so obvious and cute that they've probably all been neighbors and best friends their entire lives, and it's so cute when they're either holding each other, or holding their canes, and just shuffling along down the street hanging out. Perhaps I find this so intriguing because I'm not sure if my gypsy-traveler self will have this kind of experience in my life, as I don't really stay in places too long.
- Pretty similar to above, but I love so much seeing someone hanging out outside their friends apartment window. I sometimes wonder why they don't just go inside, but then think, it's so sensible the way they're doing it. Also, one person being in the street, yelling/conversing up to a higher level with whoever they happen to know inside. Kind of like the couple times I would call my family in the living room, from my bedroom, because I knew it was just as effective as physically shortening the distance.
- That because people tend to live in flats and not houses, they spend A LOT of time in the streets, the plazas, the squares, and at the bars. As someone once told me upon arriving to Sevilla, "Nosotros vivimos en la puta calle." Translation: We live in the f-ing street. I love, love, love how much life there seems to be here, because everyone is living in the effing streets. The outside tables at tapas bars are always full (crisis, what??), and any plaza/square there is, is usually to be seen featuring gossipers, children playing, and hanging out. It adds an energy to Sevilla that I have yet to feel and find anywhere else.
- The fact people have beer whenever they feel like it, and no one says anything, or makes a "what are you thinking" face. Many of my workmates will have a beer at the bar across the street if we have an hour w/o class, then return to teaching. Most of the time, they have two. In the States, if someone saw a teacher having a couple beers between classes, they would probably be investigated and fired. Granted, the beer down here is very low % and watery, but still...
As I said, this list will continue to grow, but for now, these are the things that jump into my mind. I feel like I'm selling it a bit short, but, well, that's what there is for now. :)
Come to Spain anytime, and ask me any questions you have, whenever you want! I'm not an index, but I think I can give you some solid suggestions!
Blessings, Love & Light all!