Random observations from a Spanish dinner table
Just an interesting tidbit I learned today….
We were all sitting around the lunch table today when Mari (our host mom) brought up a very interesting observation about the way Spanish and American people sit differently at the table. She said that she has found that in America, it is common and proper to sit at the table with one hand on the table/holding silverware (she brought up an example of when she watches the American TV show “Bones”), while the other hangs off of the table either in ones lap or loosely at ones side. In Spanish culture, she says, it is more common to have both hands/arms resting on the table throughout the meal. Looking around the table you had to laugh - because it was true!
Strange though, because I had been keeping both arms on the table more often than not (due to my usual sprawling stature at the table - its too hot to sit neatly :P don’t worry mom my other manners are fine) but sometimes i felt funny putting both arms on the table because i felt as if i was commanding too much space at the table (its a tight fit with all 5 of us). BUT! I’m glad to hear that I was really just following along with the culture from the beginning!
Another aside is one very difficult to get used to. You do NOT start eating until everyone is served and situated at the table. Only when Mari says “vamos a comer” (let’s eat) are we then allowed to dig in. Sometimes its torturous to stare at your plate waiting for that simple phrase, especially when it contains something you’ve been hoping she’d cook again (like white rice drizzled in tomato soup!)
This post was generously shared by API student Michaela Cheevers, from her blog at http://michaelakathryn.blogspot.com.es/. Michaela is a student at Bryant University, attending API’s study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain.