Almost five years ago I stopped writing a blog. This did not mean that I stopped writing. Following from my last post on September 22, 2013, clearly a lot happened. Ive given some thought recently to whether to continue this blog which so far only consists of a 13-17 year-old Teisi' s thoughts which obviously changed a lot since studying behavioural sciences at university, living in several countries over the years and having dozens and dozens of thought-provoking conversations.
However, the main reason Im going to continue on this platform is the type of topics I am going to touch upon. It is not intended to be a professional blog. This will come, but not yet and not here. I need a platform where I can share some of my most random personal experiences and thoughts to friends and family without sending each and every one of them an essay. So here I go. Skipping the most fulfilling and eventful four years of my life to tell you about my life and opinions of Spain where I am currently based. Very informally. Not to be taken too seriously as most things in life shouldn't (casually dropping wisdom to you right there)
Reading over a couple of the posts, however, I decided that it does not do any harm keeping them here, as they do reflect how I developed during the years and show glimpses of what I started to explore and articulate more thoroughly over the years. However, if anyone does want to entertain themselves then please be informed that I OBVIOUSLY would change a lot of the posts now. Articulation of certain thoughts was clearly lacking, as was knowledge and wisdom. I also tended to share a lot of personal details about the most meaningless incidences and wrote creepy short-stories in broken English. It is almost another Teisi that youll be introduced to if you do want keep reading it.
Most important updates on the Spanish Stereotypes. In the order of importance.
7 important updates on the Spanish Stereotypes. In the order of importance.
1) Spaniards eat late? Yes and no.
It took me a couple of weeks to come to wrap my head around this curious phenomena. At first it took several painful starvation-filled hours everyday to synchronize my meals with my colleagues. Slowly I came to a realization that Spaniards have not been subjected to a weird habitat-dependent selection. I had been oblivious to a fact that yes, Spaniards have conventional meals at unconventional hours, however they have extra meals throughout the day. I have taken the liberty, after a very careful consideration of alternatives, to formally call them the following: “the hobbit second breakfast” and “pre-dinner”. Everyone has breakfast at a conventional time, but everyone also has the most woooonderful hobbit breakfast a few hours later. And although I insist on calling the second unconventional meal a pre-dinner I must inform you that this has not been well-received and hence the term remains highly controversial. Nevertheless as the term pre-dinner captures the phenomenon better, I insist on calling it pre-dinner. It is pretty much dinner, just smaller (as they have a second dinner later) and consists of unconventional dinner foods, such as cookies or a sandwich. Yet as its filling enough it should be called dinner. Pre-dinner, as that’s what it is!!
To put it short, the Spaniards just eat very often, which also means late. Yet saying that they eat late is misleading as they eat aaaaalll the timeee.
Also fun fact: They also eat strange stuff. Who puts a piece of potato(which they deceitfully call the spanish omelette) between two pieces of bread and gives a fancy name "tapa" for it? Ironically Tapa means Kill in Estonian. Or who heats up grapes and hides them between pieces of ham and breadcrumbs. On their defence, gazpacho is lovely.
2) It doesn’t get cold in Spain.
Biggest lie ever. Yes, it does. And the heating is……..inadequate.. to put it politely. And my room smells of gas. It is a constant dilemma: gas chamber vs. ice chamber.
And they have no concept of fire safety (highly malfunctioning gas heaters) nor any other safety (at construction works they randomly throw bricks out of the windows when people are walking by, not kidding). Do I exaggerate? Yes. A lot? No.
3) High on Expressed Emotionality(not to be confused to the concept of Expressed Emotion, mainly known for its implications for schizophrenia).
Oneof the most confusing ones. The second one being my curiously confused state of mind when it finally rains after months.
Let me put it this way- walking through the metro is like being in a telenovela. Fighting and kissing like there is no tomorrow. Did this couple just break up? Yes….. oh wait… no, they are now confusing the metro with their bedroom. What I first considered a “mistake” in understanding one’s location is clearly a common phenomena.
The direction of the passion can fluctuate from one extreme to another very very…very quickly. And whilst I’ve realized that if well-directed, this is the source of the most beaaaautiful forms of art, music, dance and poetry; outside these contexts it can be a whirlwind.
The way emotions are expressed also means that even in formal workplace contexts people can love you and hate you almost simultaneously although I’m yet to determine how coordinated the two can be.
4) Physical proximity and flirting.
Indeed- there are no limits to how close a person can come. No limits related to age, gender nor how well you know the person. Although this was immensely strange in the first weeks, I adapted to it promptly. However, this also means that my knowledge from “The Game” by Neil Strauss is absolutely useless in this environment. Physical proximity, casual touching, the typical manner in which a flirty conversation is initiated, does not mean flirting in most situations. However, with the help of some very interesting conversations, observations and some very awkward displays of ignorance on my behalf, I have finally decrypted the code. When the Spaniards flirt, they do it in a manner which initially seems very subtle. For instance, the normal hello and goodbye kisses are just done in a slower manner, closer to your mouth. Close proximity talking with some weird-ass eye contact is also involved. Maybe its just weird when you're not interested, dunno.
If I had only known all the aspects of points 3 and 4 just a tiny bit earlier..
5) Openness and gossip.
They are so open. Its insane and weirdly charming at the same time. See point 3 for Expressed Emotionality. Topics that I touch upon after Ive known the person for maybe a few months are asked about straight-forwardly within the first week. In all of my first lessons, from ages 8-17, somebody asked about my relationship status. See below, I think it might have been a source for gossip.
I've also encountered several that enjoy gossiping and hence evaluating. They are fascinated by the weirdest gossip, whether it’s the fact that a dog walker has a lover or whether someones “ hello” is too enthusiastic. Kinda ironic considering the point on Expressed Emotionality. Gossip-focused teaching also helps in certain subjects- kids love listening about the lovers of different kings and queens.
Gossiping, a daily captivating source for observations.
Yes. Everyone is called Jorge or Maria. Im going to keep my speculations on the origin of this phenomena for myself at the moment due to potential audience for this post. However, what has excited me the most is of course “Jesus”. I think I would never be able to say “Im dating Jesus. Jesus is buying me a drink” to anyone without laughing with tears and suffocating in the process. High expectations given to a lot of pals here. Yet I must say, all the Jesuses that I've encountered always have the answers to everything. Fun.
This is “the least” important point because there is not much room for discussion. At least not in Madrid. I’m usually not even giving any judgement to their viewpoints, mainly because I’m still not equipped with enough background knowledge.
Not implying there is not much point to discussing the Spanish politics, just saying that you’ll get bored after a few encounters as whoever you talk to has the same viewpoint so it will eventually feel like you’re talking to the same person over and over again. I’ve had one encounter that was different, but the person turned out to also deny the holocaust and be a firm Franco supporter. A curious encounter on its own, but with fixed viewpoints the discussion will quickly turn to dead ends.
Hasta luego mis amigos,
(or perhaps see you in 5 years?)
(or perhaps see you in 5 years?)