1) Me? Interesting?
For the first time in my life, I was different in a good way. Because I was so obviously different from everyone else, the Spanish people and other exchange students from places like Korea, Switzerland, and Ghana were automatically interested in my life back home. They wanted to practice English, know more about American culture, and if the television descriptions were accurate. ( Most of the time they weren’t but on average , foreigners know a lot more about American culture than vice versa). I can think of two separate occasions when, after telling someone my family was from Philadelphia, they started singing the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
2) Tapa Culture
Nothing will ever compare to trying plate after plate of new dishes with a glass of genuine Sangria. Another fun fact: Granada is one of the last cities in Spain that still honors the age-old tradition of free Tapas with every drink.
3) “Hola, Guapa!”
Who wouldn’t like being called good-looking at every greeting?
4) Not Very Similar, Not too Different
Granada ran on a different language, schedule, and culture than I was used to but there was a large population of English speakers. That came in handy when I missed the language or was in serious need of directions. Also, being able to walk everywhere reminded me of NYC.
I talked about this in my last post but my Señora really knew how to cook! Everything (except for the pea soup) was delicious. Also, the fruit and vegetables more fresher than anything I’ve ever tasted in the U.S. I miss biting into tomatoes like apples.
1) The Stares
Being obviously different meant I never exactly blended in. While it served as a great icebreaker most of the time, there were other times with my differences got me nothing but stares. The worst was when people would actually stop in their tracks to watch me walk down the street or when looks were clearly unfriendly.
2) Lack of Personal Space
Spaniards are a bit more touchy-feely than people are in The States. Strangers are greeted with hugs and kisses on both checks. I didn’t mind that aspect. What I did have a problem with was the lack of proper lines and how you had to be pretty much knocked down on your back before the guilty person would say “Perdona”. For example, I was once shopping in a store when another shopper hooked a wire hanger through my belt loop because she was trying to get to a rack without asking or waiting for me to move.
The majority of it was delicious but I was served things that would make most, especially someone who had just given up vegetarianism, a little queasy. Think raw meat and virtually every, and I do mean every, part of a bull.
As you all can see, the likes far outweigh the little annoyances and I would return in a half a heartbeat.