What's it like to live in Spain?

El Castillo-101.jpg
Q; What do you eat?  A: This.


Alrighty! Well last week I asked you all to throw your questions my way, and you did! Part I here, Part II coming tomorrow.  I think I answered them all.

What's your typical day like? 
Wake up around 8ish.  Still pitch black outside.  Daylight Savings Time, pretty please come soon.  Roll out of bed, get dressed, grab a piece of fruit or some pan de leche(a sweet bread) to eat on my way to the bus stop. I take the bus to school, which takes about 25 minutes.  I don't mind the ride - I either listen to Spanish podcasts or, if  can snag a copy, I read the daily paper that's free on the bus.

My day can go one of two ways.  I split time between two schools - two days at one school, two days at the other.  These schools are sort of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - the angel and devil.  If I'm at the good school, the next few hours fly by as I play with kids and try to chat them up in English.  If I go to the other school, the next few hours drag as I clean out supply closets, correct the teacher's pitiful English, and speak almost exclusively Spanish to the children because otherwise they don't understand a word I say.

After school I come home, maybe stopping at the market on the way, and start making lunch. This is the big meal of the day, and we usually eat it between 2 and 3.  So I'll make pasta, or soup, or anything you can reasonably make on a stove.  Then,siesta until 5 or so.

After that, we either: run errands, play basketball, walk on the beach, hang out with friends, read books, walk in the park, and so on and so forth.  A very light dinner around 9, if we eat one at all.  Sometimes we'll go out for tapas around 7 or so, and we have a little tapas place on the beach that is small and friendly and cheap - a good combination.  A little of this, a little of that.  Then we sack out around 11 or so, sometimes later.

How do you get to work? 
I walk 5 minutes to the bus stop, and then catch a bus for about 25 minutes.  Then another  5 minutes on that end to walk to school. In general for getting around town, we walk everywhere. Already a 45-minute walk isn't feeling particularly long.  But for longer distances, the bus works wonders.  Once we figured the dang thing out.

Do you really eat dinner at 9pm? 
Yes, really.  Small breakfast at 9ish, Big lunch at 2ish, then dinner is around 9 and usually consists of the following: wine, crackers, cheese, chorizo (Spanish sausage), fruit, and olives. Very light, nothing prepared.  Restaurants here don't even open for lunch until 2, and then they close from 4:30 until the dinner crowd comes at 8 or 9. So if you're hungry at 6:30 like a good American, you're totally out of luck. Luckily it's pretty easy to get adjusted to the new time schedule, and after the first week my stomach was used to it.  Now I love it!

Is it as beautiful as I think it is? 
Yes, yes yes.  And no, a little bit.  Yes because this is the south of Spain, and the green hills slope into the sky-colored Mediterranean, and the sun shines on the white stucco houses, and horse's hooves clatter on the cobblestones. Yes because there are pomegranate trees heavy with fruit, and the fragrance of jasmine floats from the trees, and yes because there is a cathedral and a castle that look comfy and care-worn from the centuries of rain and sunshine.  And no, a little bit too, because in Europe there are still dumpsters, and seedy parts of town, and ugly graffiti on concrete tunnel walls. It is lovely, but it's a real place, and it has its charm and its scars, just like everything else.


Boy meets girl. Girl goes to Spain.  Boy comes too.  Hilarity ensues.  Love & Paella