Hugs and Kisses in Spain

By Cathy Ingram, Sevilla Spain Fall 2012

Alright so I have learned a little bit more about some differences in Spanish culture vs. American:

1. Sur Names: So in America when a woman gets married she changes her last name to her husbands. Well here, the woman takes on the name of the man but keeps her own name as well. THEN, when they have a child that child takes on the name of the dad and mom. Then, the next child keeps the double name of the parents and takes on the name of their own parents. So what ends up happening is that these people have ridiculously long last names, but most people only remember their last name up to their grandparents or great-grandparents which would be about 6 names deep. Lots of names.

2. Greetings: I thought that I would get used to this but because I am an American and grew up with handshakes and hugs, this whole kissing as a greeting thing is hard to get used to. Especially today when I met with my intercambio. It was super awkward, but it was my fault because I forgot that kissing on both cheeks is a greeting. Another time, I almost kissed someone for real! Talk about a real awkward moment! I would like to say too, I miss hugs. I miss the warmth and love of a hug from friends. So I better get a lot when I come back people! 😛

3. Ummm…: So I didn’t even realize this was an “American” thing, but people can tell you are American or not a Spaniard, even if you are speaking Spanish, because when we first speak or answer someone, we always say umm or uhhh. I noticed that my professor today never said umm or uhh but sometimes she’d say emm or nothing at all.

4. Olive You: So dang. People put olive oil on everything! I have yet to have a meal without anything with olive oil. Salads, meats, sandwiches, pasta, bread, etc. all of them with olive oil well except the potato salad we had for lunch today, but then again I’m not even sure that, that didn’t have olive oil in it. But olive oil tastes so good here! I am SO going to have to bring so much home with me. This stuff here is so legit. I don’t mind cooking everything in it or having it on other stuff.

5. Products: I know they have products for hair, skin, and zits, but it looks like a lot of people don’t use them. I have so many products that I brought from home and I just feel so spoiled because, in my mind, I need these things. Now I know there is a difference in needing an inhaler and needing to go shopping. I just feel like the whole, “I need it” to go shopping, is taking things a little too far. They don’t seem to have face wash or lotion or other products, and yet the people here are some of the most attractive and beautiful people in the world.

6. House Rule: Now that it is colder, I got yelled at for not having something to cover my feet, like shoes or slippers.

7. Walking: what they do! It’s unheard of to carry your driver’s license everywhere because most people do not have a driver’s license. I think that is so crazy, or well different because EVERYONE in American has a license. It’s like a right of passage to get one. People make it a big deal; there are celebratory dinners and pictures taken with your license when you get it. Here, it’s just so expensive and difficult to get a license, parking is basically impossible and you can walk to just about everything or take the bus, so there is no need for everyone to have a car.

8. Dog: Alright now, who trains these dogs here?!?! They hardly bark which is a trait that I love! None of them are on leashes and they will follow their owner everywhere they go or wait outside a store while their owner goes inside. They are so well behaved and nice! Yeah the poop, but it’s like they even know where exactly to poop! They go right next to the buildings, not in the middle of the sidewalk. I am honestly very impressed. I want a dog from Spain! 😛

9. I already talked about other differences in my previous blog. I love all of these cultural differences and learning how Spaniards do life over here! Very cool!

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