It is often said that the life of all Spaniards is one huge fiesta. When they get tired they have an afternoon nap – siesta, and then keep on with the party. Spaniards themselves do not understand how foreigners can sum up their entire life philosophy into two simple words. To live carelessly and happily until old age you need to follow various traditions:
“Man is by nature a social animal” and Spaniards are by far among the most sociable. In the street, at the station, at the shop – there is surely someone who picks up a conversation with you. Locals always have something to say and they share their life story with strangers with an enviable ease. You smile, comment briefly, in turn share your story and then each one of you goes their own way. This sort of relaxed social interaction paves the way to making friends on the road.
You meet someone and Pow!, they’re already leaning down to kiss you. This Southern European culture enjoins that there’s no need of unnecessary distance between people.
Spaniards don’t merely break the ice, they melt it with an enormous blowtorch. When you’re at the store the shop assistant, naturally, asks you: “Honey, would you like a bag?”. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t met before and you haven’t even kissed yet.
Worship the bars
Nothing beats the Spanish bar culture. In big cities, like Madrid and Barcelona, it is hard to observe how the locals live. However, if you set foot in some non-touristy place at midday, it will most probably be half empty. In case you happen to arrive during the afternoon – you’re surely not going to see any Spaniards. Only the Chinese shops are open at this time!
Spanish people are night owls – they come out after dark and they swoop straight towards the bar. At dusk all main streets and squares are crowded with people. Work is work, it can be unpleasant and not very well-paid. When you come at the bar, though, your real life begins and in it there’s no place for negativity. As per usual, sipping on a cold beer, locals are telling humorous stories.
Never stop having fun
Finally, you decide to go at the bar to see what’s that incredible magic that binds all Spaniards together. You order a glass of wine and an elderly man, possibly older than your own granddad, pours your drink. It’s almost midnight, the music is loud, a group of drunk youngsters is having a weird dance just a step away – what is this gentleman doing here? This is completely normal. According to Spaniards it’s never too late to have fun, to live well, to go to the bar, to work at the bar. Actually, after you retire the fiesta is just starting!
Make small things even smaller
Living in Spain, it be challenging to feel like a successful expat. People here move slowly, they often bump into you without excusing themselves, they get in your way without even realising it. That is not, by any means, a sign of bad education. To Spaniards these are small, unimportant things, which are not worth taking a notice of. Best case scenario is they’re going to tell you “no pasa nada” (it doesn’t matter) and they’ll keep on. I’m often advised to be “tranquila” (calm), which for locals seems to be a natural state.
Sometimes they have no change and they give you an extra euro, and again – it does not matter. No one will ask you to break your money. Why would they lose their time with things that are so unimportant?
To live like a Spaniard is to take pleasure in living, to belittle all difficulties and to celebrate excessively on every occasion. Be more sociable, kiss more often and finish up every day with a pint of beer in a great company!