At the moment, I am in Spain for two months and the normal life goes on. Well, I shouldn’t say normal, but it does feel like it’s all very normal.When I first arrived in England at the beginning of this year it felt very strange, new and exciting.In Spain it felt already from the beginning natural and familiar. Apparently you can get used to abnormal situations.
I will describe my situation: while in the Netherlands and in the UK everyone is freezing, the weather here is mostly around 20 degrees. One of the best things of the house where I live is that we have an enormous balcony to enjoy the sun on. I live together with two French people and one Italian. Every day I work from 8 until 5 at the office of winery Vicente Gandia. Most of the time I do research on social media focused on raising awareness of Vicente Gandia in Holland. Sometimes clients that sell Vicente Gandia wine in the Netherlands come to Valencia. Then I help with the preparations and I accompany them when they are in Spain. The Spanish people working at Vicente Gandia are incredibly friendly, they really involve me and make me feel like I’m part of the organisation.
Something I discovered is that the image people have of Spaniards being lazy is not true, at least not in Vicente Gandia. They do take a lot of time to lunch and they like having talks about work unrelated things. But in exchange, they often work longer than their planned office hours and when they work, they work really hard. It is different, one is not better than the other. I personally like this more flexible way of working.
Working from 8 until 5 makes meeting new people outside of work a lot harder than it was in England. I am lucky that my flat mate Edo often invites people over, that makes meeting people a bit easier. Also is working from 8 until 5 and being ‘free’ afterwards still a bit strange for me. I’m used to not having strict schedules and to work on school or projects when I have time, including in the evening.
The lunch is the main meal of the day here, and my bread with cheese often gets weird looks. More than half of the people in the organisation don’t speak English but they still really put an effort in communicating. Fortunately my Spanish keeps increasing. Another cultural aspect that is new for me are the two kisses they give on each others cheeks. I have some problems with this, I am never sure when to do it. This can cause for awkward situations. Sometimes I do it too much or not at the right time, sometimes, I’m already almost gone when I realize all people are ready to kiss me goodbye. When I want to give a hug or a hand it is not unlikely that person is already leaning towards me which creates a lot of half kisses, half handshakes-hugs. But well, despite the awkwardness I am starting to like it, it gives you a warm welcome and goodbye.
One thing I know for sure, I am a very lucky woman. And I have to make sure that I don’t get used to the so many abnormal but very nice things in my life.