It’s not a secret that Spain has a dramatically different lifestyle than here in America. Not only the schedule but also: relationships, food, and travel are vastly different than what I was used to. And I loved it. Everyone asked me while I was there what I liked about Spain and I always told them it was the slower paced life. I was so used to rushing around everywhere at home that I forgot what it was like to enjoy little things. The three weeks I spent in Spain really taught me to cherish the time I had with my host family which meant doing everything they would do in their normal life.
A typical day for my family would be waking up around 12pm. This was a hard adjustment because I normally wake up around 9am in the summer, however you get used to their sleep schedule pretty fast. We normally would drink a little coffee with milk or ColaCao which is basically the spanish version of Nesquik, we ate maybe a little bread or wafers with our coffee and then that’s all until lunch. It doesn’t sound like much, but you eat so much in the rest of the day that you need a little break for your body to keep up with all of the food they give you! My host sister and I then would go out to talk with her friends and buy bread for the day. Sometimes my host sister would want to practice her english with me for about 10 or 20 minutes during the day, this was good bonding experience to do with my host sister so I’d recommend trying it. They’ll probably appreciate the english practice!
We’d come home and watch a little TV. It was difficult at first to understand what was happening but once they turned on subtitles in Spanish it was way easier. My host mom was the chef in the house and there wasn’t a single dish I didn’t like. Lunch is the main meal of the day and it’s during siesta so people who are at work come home for a couple hours to eat and rest. My family ate around 3:30pm and we’d probably be at the table until 4:30 to 5pm. I tried to help in anyway I could with cleaning up after meals or help setting up just to show my appreciation for them. Once lunch was over, everyone is pretty tired from the heat so people would go up to their rooms to nap or stay down in the living room and watch a telenovela.
In between lunch and dinner, I’d go out and take pictures and explore my town. I was in a tiny little village about 50 minutes north of Madrid with only 5,000 people so everything was quaint and quiet. We were close to a couple of nice hikes so I suggested it to my host family and they were very open to my suggestions. Most of the day trips get done on the weekends because my host dad worked and there was only one car. We went into central Madrid to go shopping, we also took a trip to Segovia to see the Roman Aqueduct. I was in love with the architecture of everywhere we went, but especially Segovia. I would highly recommend it.
For the final meal of the day, we’d start eating at around 10 or 10:30pm. After dinner, host sister and I would get ready to hang out with her friends. On the weekends, we’d go out to dinner with her friends and they’d be very nice and include me in the conversation and if I didn’t understand something, my host sister would help explain it in a different way or try to say it in English. It’s not uncommon to stay out until 3 or 4 in the morning with friends before going to bed. This made waking up at 12pm do-able.
At the end of the trip, I started to realize how much I’d miss my host family. I’d been with them nonstop for the last three weeks and LOVED IT! My host sister and I are planning on being together again when she comes and stays with me next summer in Oregon for a month. Before I left, my host family gave me a framed picture of all of us in Segovia and I’m not gonna lie there were some tears. This experience absolutely changed my life and I cannot wait to go back to see my Spanish family.