One of the aspects of Spanish culture that have been the hardest to adjust to has been the daily schedule. In the United States, I’m used to waking up about the same as I do here which is about 7:30 am and going to sleep around 10:30 pm. I wake up and go to sleep at the same time here, but, the course of the day in regards to meals and the ambiance during the evening is quite different.
The day begins with a small breakfast which doesn’t have as much emphasis as it does in the U.S. to be a wholesome start to the day; this is because at about 10:30 or 11:00 everyone usually has about a 30-minute break to go out to a café and drink a coffee along with something else to eat. Since they eat twice throughout the morning, lunch usually isn’t until about 2:00, but it is the principal meal of the day. It’s also interesting to note that most people go home for lunch and have a considerable amount of time for this break. For example, I have about 3 hours until I have to be back at school, but I know that my professors as well have at least 2 hours to go home, eat, and during the summer, even take a small nap.
Later on in the afternoon there is a small snack to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner which is usually a coffee or something small like in the morning. Then, dinner is around 9:00 pm. At first this was very hard to get used to because at home this is usually when I’m settling down for the night to work on homework. Here, though, we eat dinner and then a lot of times go out for a little while to walk around, maybe get some ice cream, or meet up with friends. The streets are filled with people between 9:00 and 12:00 which totally shocked me when I first got here. Even little kids and older people are out just to enjoy the night. Although I still find it strange sometimes to be going out so late, it’s neat to have such an ambiance in the streets and see how the people spend their time.