Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

With setting up life in a new country, adjustments are bound to be made.  Listed below are some of  the unexpected differences that initially I was caught off guard by, but have now become accustomed to here in Sevilla.
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Afternoons are family time: From 2 in the afternoon until 5 most everything is closed.  Many school-aged children come home for lunch and siesta time is spent as a family.  Frustrating as it can be at times when craving an afternoon snack from the grocery store, its refreshing to be in a place that is so dedicated to family time and enjoying life.
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Sundays are D-E-A-D: Absolutely nothing is open on Sunday’s.  You’re hard pressed to find a tapas bar or cafe.  Sundays are to the week what 2-5pm is to
weekdays.
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Peeing in the street: I have learned that all of Europe is a bathroom and anyplace outside is fair game.  On the side of a historical landmark, in a park where children are playing at 2 in the afternoon, “sure why not”, tends to be the attitude.  That kind of stuff in America gets you slapped with a heavy fine.  If Spain were to take a similar approach, I think their economic problems would be solved in a matter of weeks.  No joke.
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Everything happens later: Mealtimes, going out at night, everything.  Being punctual for the most part isn’t all that important.  The joke here in Andalusia is there’s only two things that start on-time: bullfights and the AVE (bullet train).  If you’re told to meet up at 10, better show up closer to 10:30 or 11.  Its awesome.  The only time I’ve ever been late is when meeting up with Americans.
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People can do there business anywhere, so why not dogs too: Sevilla is gorgeous and filled with incredible architecture, but its hard to keep your head up unless you want to step in a present from a dog.  Although it is illegal to not pick up after your pet, the law isn’t enforced at all.
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Parking is like peeing: You can do it anywhere.
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Dos besitos (two kisses): Greeting someone?  Outstretch your hand and you’ll get a look of disgust, maybe confusion if you’re lucky.  Regardless if it is someone you’re meeting for the first time or an old friend, a kiss on either cheek is the appropriate greeting.  The only exclusion to this rule is if it is two males, then its a firm shake followed by what I can best describe as a bro-hug.
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Trash and Recycling bins are everywhere: On every block there are big dumpsters that are used by everyone.  It took me 3 months to realize that this is socialism.  Convienant stuff.
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“It was only 20 dollars, wait euros”: Yup, there’s a difference.  The exchange rate is sitting at about 0.7 dollar to every euro.  It used to be painful, but I’ve become a fan now that I have a job that pays in euros.
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40 degrees is blistering: Getting used to the celcius scale isn’t quite as tough as the exchange rate.
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“No thanks” means “try harder”: I give credit to the American Pie movies on this one.  It seems many Spanish men (at least in the younger generations) have a mentality that American girls equal easy.  Five months into living here and I am yet to figure out a phrase that will make them back down.  Spanish men at bars are like Pokemon in the wild; it takes multiple attacks to get away and even then, its not guaranteed that you’re in the clear.  Who knew, the hours I spent on my Gameboy Color playing Pokemon as a kid were preparing me for my time in Spain.
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“Hola” no, “Adios”: If you see someone you know on the street but are just passing by and don’t entend on making conversation rather than say “hola” (hello), you say “adios” (goodbye).  I come from the state of Minnesota-Nice, which means saying hello or waving to anyone who lives in your neighborhood regardless if you are friends or even know eachother as well as smiling at virtually everyone, so this was one of the most interesting adjustments.
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The night ends with the rising sun: Going out at night usually doesn’t end until morning.  The early hours of 5-7AM are a great time to people watch because you can witness both the dedicated runners and late night partiers (high-heels in hand); one’s day just starting, the others ending.
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