Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Monday, November 2, 2015

16 Even More Random Things This American Has Noticed About Spain and Europe

First, I noticed 14 random things about Spain and Europe. That was like, whoa, Random City, population, me. Then, I noticed 21 more random things. I felt like arbitrary things were following me just so I could notice them. And, now, the whimsical bug has bit me once again, as I present 16 even more random things that I have observed, noticed, judged it to be random, wrote it down, organized it, and now I am sharing it with you. That's how the process works.


1. Bikes are expensive, even second-hand ones. I didn't even know €17,000 bikes existed. They do, in Europe. The good ones at the local store are about €500+ and the cheap ones are at least €150. I distinctly remember being able to buy a "good" new bike in the U.S. for $100 or less; second-hand would be no more than a child's allowance ($15-20).
€47,000 bike!

2. In sports, you'll see the lineup of the players online or in a pamphlet, and it states the player's birth year instead of their age. People will also ask you what year you are when you try out for a team. So, if you're "99", you are not almost 100 years old, but rather 15 or 16, at the time of this writing.

3. Small trash cans. Why are they so small? To fit in the cabinet under the sink. I say build a full sized cabinet next to the washer machine (yes, it's in the kitchen) and put a normal sized garbage can that doesn't need to be emptied every 39 minutes. You're welcome, Europe.

4. Europe's geographic location (and polar ice cap proximity in relation to the magnetic field of the moon?), causes it to have colder mornings and warmer afternoons. In the U.S., noon or 1pm is usually when it is hottest. In Europe, midday is at 3pm or 4pm, when it is hottest. 


5. Filling out envelopes with the return address on the backside lip of envelope instead of on the top left corner of the front.

6. I understand peeling potatoes or oranges, but the Spanish peel EVERY fruit and vegetable. I'm not sure if they are worried about chemicals on the skin or what, but it strange for me to see someone peel apples, nectarines, and cucumbers. I have not been ostracized or ridiculed for eating my produce with the peels, so I'm ok if they don't want to eat them.

7. They pull on your ear for your birthday, once for each year or decade, depending upon your age and the amount of time and/or exercise the ear-puller wants to pull for.

8. When you hear someone talking about Jesus in Spain, it's usually not referring to Christ, but rather because Jesus is the guy with whom they work or play padel.

9. The Tooth Fairy is a rat named Ratoncito Pérez. Yet, despite the affection shown toward this character, people still seem to be frightened or disgusted when they see mice.

10. Fútbol is very important in one's life starting at an early age. Because I teach in Spain, I interact with children more, so maybe it's the same in other parts of Europe, but I know for sure in Spain it is a family value. Deportes in the newspaper really should just be called "fútbol and occasionally some other sports".

11. I had originally noticed that relish was not sold here. I thought that my culinary deprivation would end there, but it didn't. Other foods they don't have here or have a very limited selection of: marshmallows, corn dogs, graham crackers, peanut butter, koolaid. This is a non-exhaustive list. (insert sad face / better health)

Things I thought were true about Spain until I moved here:

In USA, Spain = Mexico (or Latin America)

12. Spanish don't eat spicy food - you won't find hot tamales and jalapeños here. Most of the Spanish people I know don't even like spicy food.

13. They are not all tan with black hair - they have people of all shades and colors of hair and eyes.

14. They weren't in WWII - I just figured they didn't do much in the war and that's why we never heard about them in history class, but apparently they were having a civil war instead.

15. Spanish isn't the only language spoken here - euskara, galiciano, valenciano, catalán, among others, are all spoken by a number of people here.

16. They all don't know how to dance or have rhythm  - just like some black people in the U.S., there are some Spaniards who don't know how to dance or keep a beat.

What do you think?

This list is based on my experiences and I'm curious if you agree of disagree. For the non-Spanish/Europeans who have visited Spain/Europe, what experiences you've had? For the Spanish/Europeans, how do you feel about these, or the alternatives, from other countries/cultures?
Also, if you want to know a little known fact about me, check out Where Are You From?

Thanks for reading! For more on my life in Navarra, check out VEN con TMax.

(some of the images/videos used in this post are from other sources and not my own)

Location: Pamplona, Navarre, Spain


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