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Daily Spanish Life in Seville, Spain

One summer evening, years ago, my family ate a late delicious dinner. The windows were left open to hear the cicada bugs humming, while we serenaded them with our laughter around the table. You see, my family loves to eat when it gets dark, and in the summer, no one thinks twice when we eat at eight o’clock. And this time, we just decided to make up a reason for it: we were obviously Spanish. Truthfully, there is not a drop of Spanish blood in me, but because naps, late dinners, good food, and running just a tad late are things we excel at, we laughed that somewhere in us, we were meant to be Spanish.

And now, after living in southern Spain for a few months, I can honestly admit we were not too far from the truth.
What does your day look like when you are really Spanish? And what are those things that are engrained into Spanish culture? If you want to fit into the culture when traveling in Spain, or go all out and change your citizenship, here are the first basic characteristics about daily life for you to learn.
1. Spanish time
The clock really seems to work differently in this flamenco-loving country. You may find that your watch actually runs a little fast, because when you make a plan to meet someone at six o’clock, your wrist will tell you something like six-fifteen. Strange? The truth is, things just happen slowly. When you cherish stopping and talking to your neighbors, spending time at your favorite café before the day, and taking a little siesta, you can’t help but start to live at a slower pace. Can it be frustrating? Sometimes. But you may just come away wishing your hometown ran on Spanish time.

 Take a scenic bike trip in an afternoon - like we did in the town of Cazalla

2. Siestas
When the sun hits it’s peak, and you see how it roasts anything that gets caught outside the shade, you’ll begin to understand this magical tradition. Every city is a tad different, but in Sevilla, where I live, everything Spanish takes a siesta from 3:00-5:00 p.m. All the stores shut down, schools get out, and everyone goes back to their homes to rest and eat before going along with their business again. The perfect hour for a small nap or just a great rest.

 Why not try curly, fried squid for the first time?

3. Small breakfast, big lunch, late dinner
Breakfasts are smaller, and simple. Coffee (called café con leche) is a must. Enjoy your tostada (toasted local bread) with olive oil or tomato or splurge and get some Iberian ham on top. Be sure to save room for the large, family-style lunch during the siesta hours. Then, 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. will bring a delicious dinner, and traditionally, tapas out on the street with friends and family afterwards.
 Great dinner with new and old friends, Spanish style

4. Enjoy the day
Finally, to put it all in a nutshell: Seize the day. Don’t let your schedule be so booked with so many good things that you don’t get to really enjoy any of them. And don’t be afraid to linger a little longer. Relationships matter more. If today is a nice day for taking a walk, and you can, then take a walk. You may feel a little more Spanish for doing it, or you may just enjoy life that much more.
 Being goofy, enjoying the day. It is the best.

From my side of the world to yours.
Un saludo.
Jansen Nash is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Seville, Spain.
He is currently a sophomore at Clemson University.

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