Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life in Spain: Living with the Locals

Number one hands down, only regret I have from my time abroad is not living with a local. Not because I ended up not caring for my living situation in the end, but because there are so many cultural experiences I missed out on during my stay.
I was hopping to live in a place like this with character, but I did not . . .

1.) Learning the Language
nor this . . .
There is no point in living in a different country with a different language and not learning how to speak that language. The best way to do this is immersion. Speaking your native tongue will become a comfort and if it's spoken in your living quarters all the time that's nice, but it's not helping you in the language growth department. Whether it's discussing your plans for the evening or trying to figure out your weekly chores it will all take place in the language you're trying to learn. And your roommates are going to support and help you learn because the sooner you learn the sooner they'll stop having to speak real slow when talking to you.

2.) How the Natives React
Did you know Spanish people don't sleep the entire siesta? I didn't until my routine of sleeping the entire siesta was set in stone. Had I lived with locals I would've known that while a little nap is acceptable siesta is actually the time to accomplish everything on your to do list that doesn't involve outside sources. Get your chores done, do your homework, prepare dinner, and call/write your loved ones. Being as I would love a set aside time for that here in America with my never ending schedule I wish I would have used my siesta more wisely back in Spain.
3.) The Going's On
definitely not this . . .
When I first arrived in Spain everything we did was heavily populated and tourist attraction labeled. Then as my friend group moved from expats to locals or at least expats who had lived in Jaen for years I started discovering other hangouts. I was attending music shows that were heavy in Spanish attendance and discovering happenings going on in my town that all the Spanish knew about, but very few outsiders. And just a heads up this is how you transition from an outsider to a person no longer on the fringes of your community, and what better way to do that than through the people you live with.

4.) Connections
If you fall in love with your city you are going to want to return and visit in the future, but traveling to Europe is not cheap- now you have people to stay with when you return. Not to mention you have people who probably have family and friends located in all those hot spots you want to visit before returning home- now you've got a couch.

Seriously though, immersion is what most people moving abroad are seeking and there is no better way to complete your immersion experience than by shacking up with a few locals. Yes it will be difficult, but few easy things are truly rewarding. No sense in just dipping a toe into the water of living abroad, might as well cannonball right on into the deep end.
and definitely not this cuteness!

Maybe it was obsessing over dreamy apartment photos like the above that caused my loveless relationship with my own place, hmmm. Hopefully you get such stylishness- it doesn't help when your verbs just aren't conjugating correctly and you keep getting stuck on kitchen duty!

Until Next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be blessed . . .

Photo Thanks to,,, and apartmentsIlike.wordpress

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you didn't have the cutest place/experience. I lived with locals and then lived in 3 other apartments of various oldness/Ikea decked out ness. But nothing compares with living (and loving) locals. They're awesome and help you see how ridiculous we are sometimes.