After settling down for a bit and getting accustomed to my new home, I can certainly say that I am no longer in Charleston. In general, Trujillo has a much more relaxed atmosphere that’s infectious since, even with plenty of homework and encroaching deadlines, I have barely felt any stress. Part of the reason behind such an atmosphere is probably the daily “siesta,” where practically everything closes and people go home to have lunch with their families, enjoying what is usually the larger meal of the day while relaxing during the hottest hours. Afterwards, stores usually reopen for a few hours and many people lay down for a nap. Plus, this break even applies to schools as the students have classes from 8 am–1 pm, take a siesta, then head back from 5–7 pm.
On top of getting used to an entirely new schedule, restaurants function quite differently as well. Food is only served during certain times, is often in smaller portions than what’s given in America, and the restaurants in the plaza have different tables for customers that are just sitting down for a drink and those that are sitting down to eat, the latter being covered with a tablecloth of sorts. Speaking of tables, the waiters do not come up during the meal to check on the customers, instead relying on the patrons to wave them down if anything is needed. As for tipping, it’s neither required nor encouraged, which has been nice when going out to eat as it eliminates a bit of stress over having to tip the right amount, saves a bit of money, and keeps me from having to do math to give 10%.
Honestly, everything has been a wonderful change of pace as personal/family time is emphasized with the siesta and, as opposed to America, nothing has felt like it needs to be rushed, which has felt amazing.