What I’ve learnt about Spain in the first week of living here….

So it’s been a week of living in Barcelona now, it’s gone so fast and we’ve achieved so much already. It’s been a minimum of 20 degrees everyday, only rained for about 10 minutes and we’ve eaten a lot of amazing and cheap food. We’ve also been to IKEA about 5 times, assembled ALOT of flat pack furniture, eaten a lot of IKEA meatballs and tried Spanish Domino’s. We’ve yet to go to the beach, even though my Dad asks me everyday if we have or not. It’s on the to do list. Anyway, thought it would be fun/interesting to have a little ramble about some of the (possibly) useful things that I’ve learnt about Spain so far.
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A DNI/NIE card is pretty essential to everything…

We knew that we’d need to get these ID cards within the first month of living here, but from some misinformation we read we seemed to think we could wait until we got here to sort it. Such a mistake! If you’re going to move to a European country, try to get this paperwork sorted before you move. It’s more important than a Passport and is asked for when you want to do a whole bunch of important things from renting a property, signing up for the internet, setting up untilties and even just buying larger household items. There are so places that allow you to use a Passport instead of a DNI/NIE, but it’s way easier and quicker if you have the card.

Insects become a problem…

In England I don’t think I’ve had an issue with insects since an incident when I stepped on a wasp when I like 10 or something. It didn’t even occur to me that being in a different climate would make these tiny creatures so annoying! First day in the flat, we’re sorting through the cleaning cupboard with the past tenant’s supplies where I mindlessly just chuck out four types of insect repellent, thinking “we don’t need these! Let’s make some space!” not at all thinking that this might be there for a bloody good reason. Now, luckily it’s no cockroaches just yet, but for the first time in a long, long time I’m suffering with bug bites. I don’t know what kind, or when they occured, but man are they annoying! I’m currently looking like a dot-to-dot. Buy bug repellent.

Spanish people don’t queue…

We all joke about how English people love to queue, well, we don’t but we do queue for stuff quite a lot and generally in a pretty organised fashion with strict, unwritten rules. Here, you don’t really queue, you kinda gather. It’s a bit frustrating when you have no idea what’s going on, combined with the language barrier. However, this isn’t a bad thing, it means you can take your time and kinda chill where is comfortable instead of being stressed out in a slow moving line, where the person behind you has spacial awareness issues. There’s lots of places that have the old school ticket taking method, which I like and then when it’s a gathering rather than a queue, newcomers always just ask which person they are after and it all seems to run pretty smoothly.

You can get much done between 1-4pm…

If you’ve only ever spent time in a touristy part of Spain, you may not notice this the same as when you’re in the normal, residential areas, but Spain still sticks to it’s siesta tradition. Siesta is when people take time out in the middle of the day when the Sun is hottest to chill out at home, spend time with their family and enjoy a long, relaxing (usually food based) break. So, because of this most businesses, close for four hours in the middle of the day. Of course, you’ll still find supermarkets and cafes, bars and resturants are still open, but anything majorly productive goes on hold at this time. Yes, when you’ve just moved here and have so much stuff to do to get settled, this is frustrating, but once you get into the swing of things it’s actually a really lovely thing. It’s great to see a culture that still supports having time for yourself and having a well deserved break to spend with friends and family, it makes the whole pace of life; calmer, happier and gives you moments to relax and make new memories.

I need a whole new wardrobe…

Before moving to Barcelona, we’d visited about 5 times at various times of the year. The warmest time we’d been here before though was April, so not really that hot. I knew it would get hot at high Summer, but it’s only May and I’m already too hot. I don’t have any suitable outfits, yes I have loads of t-shirts and some odd dresses, shorts and skirts, but being so used to having to wear layers, none of it really goes together. So this is in addition to my existing problem of having put on weight and not having anything that fits me in the first place. So, next on the shopping list is figuring out which size I am in European and finding stores that cater to tall people, wish me luck! I don’t think I like clothes shopping anymore.

Anyway, we’ve got limited internet at the moment, which means the moments I have online are being extremely productive to make the most of it. We’ll have WiFi in the flat in the next week though, I’m currently dreading my phone bill, we’ve been using my mobile for internet tethering. Figuring out what to do about a mobile is next on the list, wish us luck! I’ll update more on our adventures very soon.

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3 thoughts on “What I’ve learnt about Spain in the first week of living here….

  1. Thanks Jayne for updating us! You moving has given a new twist to your blog that I’m really enjoying.

  2. A tip from a Spanish girl.
    Enjoy the weather. Walks through its streets, walks around lakes and mountains, walk along the beach.
    Enjoy the people. Spanish peaple are friendly and kind. Meets many people and talk or just go out to party with them, it’s easier than you think.
    And enjoy the food. Spanish food has many influences from other cultures over the years and has very good ingredients. Vegetables and fruits grow with lots of sun and water and they are delicius. Try Custard Apple (chirimoya), peaches, Persimmon (caqui) and Prickly Pear (higo chumbo).
    I live in Granada, it’s beautiful and you should visit the Alhambra 🙂

    Nice trip!

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