I am a newbie to this whole blogging thing so bear with me through my first couple of posts! The reason why I want to have this blog is so that I can update my friends and family back at home with everything that is going on while I am here. I will try to update often so check up on it as much as you can. Check out this pic I got of the river here in Spain called " El Rio Quadalquilvir". Es muy Bonita!
Well, where to start? I have been here for two weeks now and it feels like I have been here for months! The first week was hard for me to wrap my mind around this whole experience. Usually when you get to a new place you are very excited and are in the "honey moon stage" and then after that stage your excitement starts to decrease. For me when I arrived it was just the opposite. It could have been a combination of lack of sleep and being stressed from all the traveling but the first few days were really hard for me. At first I was just still in shock that I was actually in Spain and that it wasn't just for a short vacation. Now after being here for two weeks I have been MUCH better. I have made some good friends that I know I can go to when i am feeling home sick. It is interesting because three of my close friends here that I have met through the program are from the Chicago area and we met after we got off the first flight in Madrid.
Everyone that I have met through this program has been SO nice. The people that are in this program are similar because we are all here to learn about the Spanish culture, have a desire to travel, and have put our lives on hold in order to do this experience.
This picture is at the top of a Cathedral tower in Cadiz. One of my highlights of this trip so far! You could see a 360 view of all around Cadiz, it was breath taking!
In my blogs I want to focus on our cultural differences. Let's just say, I have seen A LOT thus far. The biggest difference I have noticed is that here in Spain, you work in order to live, unlike in the United States where you live to work. Here a job is just a job. Family is their number one priority. Another thing is that here in Spain people do not give tips. How hard would you work as a waiter if you got paid the same no matter how well you did your job? Because their pay is the same no matter how hard they work, customer service is very low. I found that out one night when I asked for a glass of water three times and they never brought me that water. In America we are so Spoiled. When we order food we ask them to hold things, put them on the side, add extra, etc. Here if you ask for much more than whats on the menu you get nasty looks.
Also, I don't know if it is because i'm Blonde/ American/ etc. but people here constantly stare at you. Do you think that I cannot see you? If you are going to awkwardly stare at me at least say something!
One thing I really like about the Spanish people is that they do not "sugar coat" anything. It is nice when people are blunt and you know that they are telling the truth. For example, Some of my friends and I were debating on getting a smartphone plan Vs. a pay as you go plan. We could have easily been swayed either way and the guy at the phone store convinced us to go with the cheaper phone plan. Let's just say, this would have not have happened in the US. It's assuring to know once in a while that a sales person is not ripping you off.
Alright well that is all for now, my host family just got home from the weekend get away in Cadiz. I should probably go socialize with them. Take a look at some pictures that I posted on face book. I will end this blog with a picture I took in Cadiz. Even the dogs take Siestas here!