There are many stereotypes about the Germans and the Spanish, about their cultures, their behavior and their habits – but what is true at all and what is only warmed up again and again? I hold in me now 22 years of German culture but the last four months I could get an idea of the Spanish way of life in the beautiful city of Seville. Till now this was very amusing and exciting, but sometimes also exhausting…
The first time at the supermarket I felt like I was at the fish market in Hamburg. From there, I know the advertising of food in an elevated tone, but that I could meet this behavior in a supermarket, this was new. That’s why I initially cringed as a lady shouted directly into my ear, that today I get the oranges for just 1 € / kg. Another phenomenon is that the cashiers have no hurry, no matter where you are, but this does not seem to bother the residents. There is no hurry – “tranquilo”. In Germany, however, it must move quickly, be it in the supermarket, on the way to the restaurant or while shopping, time is running so you are running!
Especially in the restaurant can be observed several differences. While in Spain small meals are taken often during the day, like small tapas with beer at lunch time, the Germans have often hearty meals and large portions. At home the time for dinner is usually round about 19 o’clock, in Spain this is pushed back about 3 hours and is protracted a long time. When it comes to paying in Spain usually one person pays, one day pays the one person and another day the other person. At this point in Germany the coins are unpacked, so that the bill can be split in the minutest detail, but why – in the end it comes out the same right?! When my friend visited me recently and unpacked her coppers in the tapas bar, I quickly felt home again.
One thing that really surprised me, but I found very German, are the queueing people at the bus stops. In Germany who gets in first, sits first in the bus. None would stand in a row orderly to enter the bus.
A very huge difference is also the volume of conversations. The Spaniard roars, whether it’s quiet or noisy around him. Even when he whispers it seems loud to me – there are various theories, one says that the Spaniards spend most of the time under the sun, and where lots of people gather, it must be spoken louder to understand each other.
Another difference I was plant on my first day at work, namely twice on each side of my face, in total more than 30 times. The Spaniard is warmhearted and he is used to more body contact. In Germany this is different – they kiss when they know somebody really good, but usually there is only shaking hands.
Speaking of close, hardly any Spaniard does feel deeply connected to his family. This unconditional sense of belonging has been lost to us in Central Europe. Here in Spain it is an expression of a lifestyle that integrates every individual in a beloved community.
In general the Spaniards a very helpful, but usually you have to ask for it. When you meet Spanish friends at a pre-party a ‘botellón’, hardly anyone will hand the drink on to you on his own, you have to ask for it. At this point you should open your mouth, if you don’t want to go sober in the club.
A difference I really like is that the Spaniards don’t take life so serious and instead prefer celebrating life. If you walk Sundays through the city, you meet people everywhere in the streets, with a glass of gin tonic and smiling faces. Besides not only the young people celebrate but also the older ones. You can find yourself in the middle of the night in a traditional bar in a flamenco show invited by an older gentleman to dance with him. Of course the Germans like to celebrate, if you tell a Spaniard you come from Germany is the first thing you hear is “Oktoberfest”, with the following question “How can you drink so much beer?”.
The first thing that strikes when you are in a foreign country are always the differences, however, there is also a mountain of similarities that unite us.
Whether something is judged positively or negatively lies in the eye of the beholder and depends on his perspective. And anyway, is it necessary to evaluate everything? For my part, I enjoy to live the difference…
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Cover photo source: https://goo.gl/UiTMcr