Things That I Now Accept as Normal, But Are Actually Really Strange…
Ok, so I realize sometimes that there are many things in Spain (or maybe just Seville) that are really WEIRD although I don’t notice them quite as much anymore. The majority of these things are related to the high school that I teach at, which has been quite a strange experience in general. Here goes…
- The boys’ bathroom has NO DOOR, so you can see, and technically make eye contact with, the high school boys while they are peeing… umm gross, right? Not to mention that the lack of door isn’t helping control the smoking situation; when I walk by the boys’ room it’s a cloud of smoke!
- Again about bathrooms. There are about 50 teachers at my school of about 1,000 students. There are 2 bathrooms for teachers. Each one has one toilet. Today I really had to pee but never did because the bathroom was always occupied… frustrating. Also, when you do get a chance to pee, people always come in to wash their hands or look in the mirror while you are in there and it is just uncomfortable! Lastly, Spanish women never wash their hands. I feel like I’m bothering someone every time I come out and wait to use the sink. Ahh!
- Everyday around 3:00 in the afternoon (siesta time by the way) a gypsy man comes to our street to play his piano/accordion thingy. His wife holds out a basket for money. I’m convinced that if anyone ever does give him money, it must be to shut him up. It’s seriously surreal. Video to follow in the next week!
- Spanish people litter, a lot! Last summer I literally cried after seeing Ale’s beach ruined by Spanish tourists. There was trash EVERYWHERE. Floating in the water were cans, plastic bags, potato chip bags… it was disgusting. And it starts young. At my school the hallways are full of trash and food remains after snack time. In 30 minutes the students destroy the hallways and the patio. There are no janitors. I’ve almost slipped on spilled sodas, luncheon meat, and plastic bags. I don’t understand why people can’t just throw things in the trash!
- Spanish women love to match. It’s quite strange and childlike. They will wear a blue shirt, blue shoes, blue purse, and blue earrings together. Usually the exact same shade of blue. Why?
- Ale tells me the American series that I watch (like Californication and Weeds) are near pornographic. Sometimes it’s true, but I explain to him that people pay extra for these channels and people make a conscious choice to have them. Here, basic cable is very limited, but the shows show more than enough skin. The most typical teenage series “Fisica y Quimica” (like a Spanish Degrassi) shows teenagers having various forms of sex, and their teachers on the show do even worse, from sleeping with students to having threesomes with other teachers, or going to swingers clubs. The reruns play every afternoon around 4:00 pm, right after Spanish lunchtime. It’s prime time for all their teenage viewers. I seriously can’t imagine having children watching this show, as it makes me, a 24 year old adult, uncomfortable at times.
- In Seville the natives only drink coffee from breakfast time until 8:00 pm at the latest. After that, it’s almost impossible to find coffee in most bars and restaurants. Coffee and dessert is virtually unknown here. My parents wouldn’t survive!
- Greeting card companies don’t exist! I’m sure there are a few companies that make cards, but it’s not nearly as common to give a card for special occasions. I’ve never signed a card for anyone at my school, nor have I received one for anything, not even from Ale!