I have been living in Trujillo, Spain for about two weeks now, and many different things have shocked me culturally.
To begin, the timing of everything done here is much later. It is nice because it feels much more relaxed. They begin their days later, eat lunch later, and even sit down to eat dinner earliest at 8:30 pm. During these meals, the foods are very different from the typical American food. I have been fed many different foods, and all of them I have enjoyed and gone back for seconds. It is nice because every meal must incorporate bread. The bread here is amazing. It doesn’t taste like any other bread I have ever had. Also, many people like to eat greek yogurt for a desert here. Every night, my host family ends the dinner by asking if I would like a yogurt. Then, we typically all go to the family room to watch tv and chat. To keep warm, we all put our legs under the “braserro” which is a space heater under a table which every Spanish family typically owns. I had never seen such a thing, but it sure keeps you warm. When we have been sitting around the table I have learned many new words in Spanish that I have never heard.
It is very helpful being surrounded by Spanish speakers all the time because it really opens your vocabulary. Not only have I learned a lot of new Spanish language around the table, but I have noticed how much closer the families are here to one another. The whole family typically gets very close to each other and is giving each other constant hugs and kisses. In America, I feel as if we keep our distance even if we are near our immediate family. This definitely has made me feel more comforted and a part of the family. My host family is always telling me about the farm they like to visit daily.
The first weekend I was here, I experienced something I didn’t even know still existed. My host family took me to a farm to brand cows. I didn’t know people still did this now days, but it is a long living Spanish tradition to do so. I found it so fascinating how this cultural practice had so much to it. We spent the whole day at the farm eating amazing food while playing with all the farm animals. The families danced around the fire and sang until the sun set. These cultural practices have changed my view on this country, and I am excited to continue to learn new practices.