Laid-back lifestyle of people in Southern Spain

Posted on September 21st, 2011 by

Sometimes when I walk to class, I still get a little upset that I am spending at least an hour and a half everyday just walking and I could have done something else more helpful within that time. What keeps me from complaining all the time is the fact that most other Spanish people are doing the same thing, everyday.  I feel like in this culture people almost never feel that they need to hurry.

People in Sevilla walking to work in the morning

I remember going into a Starbucks in Chicago one morning; it was really crowded of people and they were all either working on their computers or discussing something about work with their friends or co-workers. The line was long and I ordered when I was in line to this lady with a microphone, so that when it was my turn, I could just pick my drink and leave. Now I am here in Sevilla, a city in Southern Spain where the people are said to be more relaxed, people sit down to enjoy their breakfast. They do not eat a lot for breakfast here, usually just a toast and a cup of “café con leche” (coffee with milk – a typical coffee beverage here) but they take time for it. My señora watches the news while many other sit down in restaurants on the streets reading the papers, talking with friends. Fast food does not seem to exist here. McDonald’s is considered a restaurant and according to a teacher of mine, the meat that is used in McDonald’s is of the best quality here.

A "tapas" place where people sit down to have a drink and talk to their friends

Another restaurant on the street

When people bump into each other on the streets, unlike in the States where we just say “Hi” then keep walking, Spanish people actually stop and talk. It is considered rude here to see someone and continue walking. Even when they are in a hurry, they would stop, tell the other person that they are running late for something, and say goodbye then leave. One of the manners in Spain that I find it different from the States is that people here hardly invite friends over to their houses. Whenever they want to meet or to hang out, they meet at a park, most often in coffee shops or small restaurants to have “tapas.” That is possibly why people are seen on the streets all the time, and yet they never seem like they need to rush.

For one of a class project, I was asked to interview people on the streets of how they compare the people in Spain and in the U.S. Four out of six people I interviewed said that people in the States tend to be more work-oriented and Spanish people care more about their family. I found that to be true. Schools have not officially started for me yet so I have quite a bit of free time. I was at Gustavus, I always had some sort of activities going on and never had to ask myself what I should do today. Here in Sevilla sometimes I get really bored with all the free time and “siesta” time. I kept thinking about what to do to be productive and I got frustrated when I could not. My señora has a farm in the countryside and she only goes there once in a while and most of the time she stays home, watch TV and cooks. I once asked her if she ever felt bored and she said she never thought of it. She also could not understand why I was frustrated that I was having breaks. People here are just relaxed all the time that I doubt that stress would ever exist!


One Comment

  1. Chad Graham says:

    Sounds like the perfect place for a Jamaican :)