Archive for the ‘living abroad’ Category

Diferente dos

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I’ve been in Spain for two weeks now.  It definitely does not feel that way.  I haven’t been home sick, so that’s a plus! But here are more differences that I have noticed over the weeks.  I wanted to post these before I post the next blog!

1. The building floors began at 0 and go up positive and down negative. For example, a house in America can have a first floor, a second floor and a basement. In Spain, it would be first floor = 0 floor, second floor = 1st floor and basement = -1 floor. Yeah, it makes sense to me, but the whole 0 floor gets me all the time.

2. Beaches in Spain: women are allowed to go topless and babies can be naked. There are some nude beaches but you have to go find them haha. I think it would be cool to say that I’ve been to one, but not take part in it!

3. There are so many pigeons in Bilbao, like there are squirrels on the UMW campus. I prefer the squirrels, because they don’t poop everywhere and they cannot fly!! Also, you can get really close to these pigeons and they don’t fly away just walk faster.  Becka and Haley tried to grab one, I would definitely try it.  But I don’t want the locals to think I’m crazy or something…

4. Families and their kids play on the wide sidewalks throughout town, like in the city!! It’s like normal. Kids ride bikes with parents and there are numerous play parks for kids. I feel like it’s more accepted here, in this busy city than in most American cities. But I found out part of the reason is because a lot of people (adults—between 18-26) don’t have jobs so they go out and do things. The unemployment rate is 28.6% !!! That’s crazy and unbelievable!  They do appreciate their environment and enjoy it while they can.

  • Also, that’s what most host families become host families.  They cannot get a job so they get paid good money to care for a college student.  I could dig it.  I mean it’s sad, but you have to do what you can!

5. People tell me wifi is scare, but it doesn’t seem that way! There is wifi in plazas and in coffee shops and such. We just can’t do anything without wifi. America needs to step it up with free wifi in plazas or at parks (if this isn’t already a thing)!

6. People stare a lot. It’s kind of uncomfortable. They stare for a long time too, like I smile back and they look away like I didn’t catch them staring… Yes, it is apart of their culture like I stated in my earlier post, but it can get uncomfortable.  I’ve learned to say HOLA or smile.  One time I did give them a nasty look, but that wasn’t a good day.  They just know we’re Americans and want to admire and observe us! Different right?

7. There is no HUMIDITY here. It’s amazing. When we went to the beach it was nice not having my towel drenched in sweat! I’ve never experienced that before. So it’s so great! The downfall is iI’m dark-skinned so ash is noticeable on me and my skin gets so dry from no humidity.  It’s so crazy!

8. School is really cheap in Europe.  We talked about this in my IB class, which I found interesting.  It makes me want to move to Spain and go to medical school here!  Why not? WHILE IN SPAIN…..  The bad thing is that the job opportunity sucks here.  A fresh out of school doctor gets paid like €2.000 ( which is less than $2,000)

9. There is very little handicap accessibility.  It’s sad, the entrances to most places/building has a little step.  That is nothing.  I was surprised by this.

10. So let’s talk about the bars.  Some places with a bar do not open their kitchens until 8pm or 9pm.  So they serve pinxtos, which are basically small plates of food to go with your drink.  An example is, tortillas de patatas or a mini sandwich.  They are so good, but it sucks when you go with friends before your host mom has made dinner (remember they don’t eat till like 10pm) so you want to go out and look for food, we have to wait till places are open.  It’s a little different and sometimes stinks because you have not had food since 1pm… yep the ultimate struggle!

11.  The stairwell is backwards here.  Look at the picture and the upward stairs are usually on the right.  THEY’RE ON THE LEFT HERE.  I’ve ran into people because no one knows to walk up them.  We’re not use to this!image

12. Everyone smokes here.  Literally before class Thursday all the teachers were outside smoking! I just walked by all of them and said Hola… It has to be a European thing, because even Erin said people smoke out Italy too. I mean I guess it’s culture! I don’t know if you know this but in the UK they are trying to make a talking cigarette pack to try and make smokers stop smoking.  How crazy is that.  They mentioned it on Live with Kelly and Michael (yeah I still watch it when I have time)!

I kind of like it here…

Friday, July 5th, 2013

I really do.  Okay, so Bilbao is a city but it doesn’t seem as hectic or dirty as the cities in America.  I don’t like comparing, but let’s compare a few things.  

  • First, it is so clean here; yes they smoke a lot (it’s Europe) but the streets are pretty clean.  The metro is so nice, extremely nicer than the ones in DC (haven’t been on the ones in NYC).  The downfall is that it ends Sunday to Thursday at like 10:45pm and Friday and Saturday it runs all night.
  • People stare a lot and it’s a little strange.   I mean different; it’s part of their culture, which I can get use to because they’re basically admiring me (that’s what I’m telling myself!).  
  • Bilbao is near a river (Ria de Bilbao) and a 30 minute metro ride to the ocean/Bay of Biscay!  DC isn’t really near a body of water… 
  • DC is probably twice the size of Bilbao.  It also isn’t very well know, so when tourist visit they stick out like a sour thumb!
  • Continuing off that… DC is so diverse I love that so much!  You basically get food from everywhere.  I would never be homesick. 
  • Bilbao is pretty safe.  I think the professors keep telling us to not go to this part of town that is far south but other than that it’s quite safe!  Ehh DC is safe if you know people from there and familiarize yourself with DC.  Then you will know what parts are not safe, like the SW region!
  • Everyone in DC basically knows some kind of english.  Bilbao’s main language is Spanish or wait is it Basque? Yeah either way it is not my native language.  I could learn, but Basque is a whole other language! Wahh!!

I just adore cities.  The idea of walking around to a shop and saving money (that I do not have) sounds awesome and possible.  And cute shops are everywhere! I want to live in one after college! Who wants to join me!?  (:  Anyway, school here is really cheap but the job situation here sucks.  So I would love to go to Medical school there and then move back to the US and find a job!  That’s possible right? Yeah, let’s do that!