YOU COME TO SPAIN FOR A LIFESTYLE CHANGE IN GENERAL BUT THEN A LOT OF PEOPLE LAPSE INTO THEIR OLD HABITS FROM BACK HOME, WATCHING TOO MUCH TV, NOT GOING OUT AND NOT BEING OPEN TO NEW EXPERIENCES. HOWEVER FOR THOSE WHO INTEGRATE INTO THE COUNTRY THERE ARE THINGS THAT THEY DO MOST EVERY DAY AND HERE IS A LIST OF TEN OF THEM THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL MUCH MORE LIKE YOU ARE LIVING IN SPAIN AND BEING A PART OF SPAIN.
1) Have a siesta without feeling guilty. I have said before in my 100 Reasons to Move to Spain series on YouTube that siestas are one of the great reasons to live in Spain. If you look on twitter it is the main reason people give when they say they are moving to Spain. However most people get to Spain and their conditioning doesn’t allow them to have a siesta without feeling extremely guilty. Don’t go there! The siesta is a fantastic thing to do and it doesn’t necessarily need to be after a long lunch (See number 3) If you feel tired then just chill out, lay down and spend twenty minutes getting forty winks. And just one tip don’t have a two hour siesta or longer. I used to do it and it just kills you for the rest of the day and then you won’t be able to sleep very well later on because you won’t be tired. Siestas rule but anything over 45 minutes isn’t a siesta really, it´s just going back to bed.
2: Go into your local bar and have a conversation. There is one thing that you must do in Spain, get out of your comfort zone. If you are willing to take this step there are two possibilities, firstly everyone thinks you are the local nutter and secondly you actually start to speak in another language and get used to speaking it outside of the classes you are taking (You WILL be taking classes won’t you?) The more you get out of your comfort zone every day the better your language skills will be and bear in mind one more thing, you might actually become friends with the other regulars in the bar.
3: Aim to take at least two hours for eating lunch out and make sure you have some wine with it. Not every day of course on this one because even though eating out is cheap in Spain it is much cheaper to eat at home. However you should always try to have a weekly meet up with friends, go for a menu of the day and talk for a long time afterwards while finishing off the wine and maybe ordering a cognac or two (and maybe even continuing the “sobremesa” into the evening).
4: Take Some Time Out To Daydream and Look Up. The number of people these days who walk around with their eyes constantly on their Smartphone never looking around or looking up is amazing. (Yes Guilty as charged here too at times) Looking up is important when living in Spain because there is beautiful scenery in so many places and the cities are visually stunning at times. Equally, daydreaming is welcome as Spain needs some ideas and you imagining what you can do in this wonderful country to help make it better is needed. One small thing though, if you are walking round in the city make sure to look down every now and again to avoid potential traps in the form of little presents left by our canine friends and not cleaned up by their owners, a constant menace.
5: Go Into Local Shops and Ask For Things Rather Than Shopping in Supermarkets. It is easy to go to a supermarket and never actually say a word to anyone while buying 100 Euros of produce. It is not so easy to go into the butchers to buy your meat, go to the bakers for bread and cakes and then to the fruit and veg shop for everything else. This small change in your habits will be not only more beneficial for your language skills but also it will help you to get used to using the type of language that you use everyday in Spain and get to know the names of everything. So vocab improved, pronunciation improved and getting to know the people who live and work around you, what’s not to like?
6: Walk Around Smiling and Saying Hola To People. Again in Northern Europe people walk with their heads down, on non rainy days because as previously mentioned they are buried in their Smartphones and usually, when it is raining, because you are grimacing against the wind and rain as it lashes into you. However don’t make the mistake that the father of a friend of mine made years ago. He was walking around doing this but saying “Hello” to everyone. My friend asked him to please just try to say “Hola” if he could. However next day when he went out the first person he walked past got a resounding “Aloha!”
7: Make time every day for a coffee with friends. Chatting and talking about life the universe and everything is an important part of life in Spain and this is best done in the company of friends in a greasy spoon corner cafe. Make sure you do this often because firstly, you get to meet up with others and laugh and secondly, you get to have great coffee. One caveat, NOT IN STARBUCKS!
8: Be Grateful For The Weather And Climate. I woke up last week with the rain hammering down on the air conditioning unit outside and my thoughts were immediately, “Cool! It’s raining”. With 320 days of sunshine every day in the vast majority of the Spanish mainland (We will exclude Northern Spain and the Green Coast for obvious reasons) days of rain are welcomed rather than feared and when they come they are generally a welcome change. So when you are shading yourself from the sun don’t say “Jeez it’s hot” Just say “Nice innit!”
9: Do Some Promotion of the Country. Spain needs help. If you are here and enjoying it let everybody know. Tell them on Facebook, share pictures on Instagram, make people jealous on Twitter, mail people regularly and phone people you know. Everyone can complain and most people only like to tell everyone else when something has gone wrong. Make sure that people know that your life in Spain is not as bad as the media paints it to be where only the negatives appear on a regular basis. Rejoice in the diversity, the rituals, the differences and the general weirdness. Enjoy it.
10: Relax, slow down, chill out and enjoy. I know it may seem a bit much to try enjoying your life in Spain 😉 but slow down and take advantage of a more relaxed way of life and a general calmness. If you can do this then you never know you may find that everything becomes a bit better.
So there you go, a guideline for a better life in Spain. 10 things you should try to do daily, (or at least weekly in a couple of cases). What else would you suggest? Let us know on SpanishPropertyMagazine@gmail.com