Cultural Differences in Spain - Part 2
In general, the people here in Andalucia are much more relaxed, and spending time with friends seems to be the highlight of most peoples’ day. Sevilla contains thousands of little cafes and bars, and they constitute an integral part of life here, because they serve as gathering places for people to come and “tomar algo,” (drink something) and simply talk. Of course, people in the States do this too, but on a much smaller scale….you don’t just see people relaxing outside in New York City! In most Spanish bars, it is common to sit down and have your coffee or tea brought to you in real mugs or glasses. Seeing people walking around with disposable cups is pretty unusual; they don’t order something unless they have time to sit down and talk for a time. Also, people pay the bill when they are ready to leave, not right after they have just ordered. This makes it easier for them to order more and allows them to sit and talk without feeling rushed.
From 2-4 in the afternoon is “siesta.” While most people do not actually sleep siestas, all the shops close and people go home for lunch or sit outside to eat, drink, and talk. Once I got over the annoyance of not being able to run errands during this time, I came to love seeing all of the people come out from their work onto the streets (it can get really noisy!), walking home to spend time with their families, or relaxing outside at a café or bar. At around 5:00 in the afternoon, “siesta” ends and people return to live as usual, but throughout the evening the bars and cafes remain full of people. Seeing people walking around with disposable cups is pretty unusual; they don’t order something unless they have time to sit down and talk for a time. Overall, the Andalucian culture seems much more people-oriented and it seems less preoccupied about doing things than simply just enjoying people.
Kristie Eshelman is from Grove City College, and is currently studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain where she is also serving as an API Cultural Liaison.