Sunday, March 27, 2011

las diferencias y las similitudes

Some differences between North America and Europe I have noticed:
-using useful and reasonable public transportation
-walking as a form of transportation
-listening to random people on the street (because if they're talking in Spanish you want to see if you could understand them and if they're talking in English it's nice to understand them and usually pretty comical and if they're talking in a different language it just sounds cool)
-talking with family more often on iChat
-being kinda more outgoing in a different way, as in just going out and doing stuff with people who want to do stuff and then getting to know them instead of only really doing stuff with people you already know (I really noticed this the other day while sitting in the park doing homework and chatting after lunch on Sunday and half the people there were just like friends of friends or people we had just met at church that morning and we were from all over the US, Germany, and Spain but chilling out in a corner of Parque de los Principes together)
-bidets in most of the bathrooms in houses
-smaller public bathroom stalls with bigger doors that go to the ground
-trollview and marketplace come around noon instead of 3 to 4 in the morning (The receiving of trollview is no longer a bad reminder that I should have been in bed/finished my homework hours ago but reminds me that it would be lunchtime if I were in the US but I have another 2 hours and also that it's like 3 in the morning there.)
-emergency vehicles have different sounds
-everything is smaller in Europe: cars, coffee, houses, yards (if they have them), roads, people...
-women don't really run (if I run on the path in Sevilla along the river there's a few but the majority is Spanish men, American women, or boys soccer teams conditioning)
-old buildings are normal and abundant and pretty much every city and many towns still have part of the city wall and old fortresses
-getting to visit with your brother, sister-in-law, and nephew that you normally wouldn't see in the middle of a semester, which brings me to note some...

...differences between Spain and Italy:
-parking spots (There are painted out, clearly marked, relatively large parking spots in Italy. In Spain there are a bunch of cars lined bumper to bumper wherever they can get away with it, which is pretty much wherever they want.)
-assigned seating on the coach busses. I was a bit confused when Italians got on the bus and started asking me to get out of their seat and had to move a couple different times because I had no clue where on my ticket it said my seat number, "poltrona" would mean "chair." Another difference is that they aren't as picky about eating on the bus and they take shorter rest stop breaks at gas stations that are more like those in the United States than the rest stops in Spain.
-not as many people chilling out in the streets. They still have a break where stores are closed after lunch and they eat kinda later but they don't have the whole tapas thing where they go out and have some tapas and a drink after work and they didn't have tables and chairs set up outside of every restaurant and bar.
-hearing Italian instead of Spanish (they're more similar than you'd think but they sound very different, it wasn't hard for me to understand the general meaning of signs or menus in Italian but it's hard to understand them speaking)
-good pasta and non-cardboard-crust pizza in Italy, the gelato's pretty much the same because the gelato in Spain is Italian and apparently it's easier for touristy shops to copy the gelato than it is to copy the pizza and pasta

Some similarities between the United States, Spain, and Italy
-not waiting for the walk signal to cross
-not liking to have to search for a parking space
-restaurants wanting as much of your money as they can get
-people talking about silly things, people arguing, and people being loud on the phone
-groups of teens being obnoxious
-driving on the right side of the road
-Chinese restaurants
-people being curious about what they don't know (it seems that Americans idolize Europe and Europeans idolize America)
-springing ahead and falling back (though the time change happens in a different week in Europe than the States)
-living far away from some people and closer to others
-Jesus being Lord of all

caracoles sólo tiene una casa

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