No Pasa Nada is probably the phrase that best sums up the Spanish culture, although, my vocabulary and general knowledge is still very limited. Its means no big deal or don’t worry about it. Spaniards like to enjoy life and not worry about the trivial things, always thinking the hard work can wait for tomorrow, why not have another cerveza?
Thursday was our last day of grammar class. I was a bit sad for it to be over actually. I really liked my teacher and I feel like I learned a lot. After reviewing and reviewing some more for the final, our teacher finally gave us some details on his life. I can’t remember exactly but I think he got his Master’s and maybe Ph.D. in the States. Someone asked what he liked most about the U.S. and his answer was pretty interesting to me. He said he liked how ‘civic’ our society is, how in general, there are scheduled hours for work, people tend to be pretty motivated to find jobs, the streets are laid out in grids, etc. It’s not hard to notice after only a few days that Spaniards are a lot more lax with just about everything. He said he didn’t like how the Spanish attitude sometimes gets in the way of motivation. That’s something I’d never heard a Spaniard say, I just assumed they all liked every aspect of their ‘no pasa nada‘ attitude. Granted he’s only one person but it’s still something to think about.
Another cultural thing I’m just starting to understand is ‘Generación Ni-Ni.’ I was watching TV the other night with my señora and this show came on that was called Generación Ni-Ni. I asked her what it was and I understood bits and pieces. I’m not really sure but I think its kids 18-late 20s-ish who have graduated high school and ‘ni trabajar (neither work) ni estudiar (nor study…go to university).’ They just live at home and hang out with their friends at night. One thing to remember is that, in general, kids in Spain live at home until their late 20s-early 30s or until they get married. So maybe this generation is just taking some time to figure everything out or maybe they’re just unmotivated. I know the same thing happens in the U.S. but I feel like maybe its a bigger deal here, my señora talks about it like its some new phenomenon. Hopefully I’ll understand it better as time goes on.
In other news, I feel like every time I leave the house something memorable or crazy happens. Thursday night I went out with a friend for tapas and drinks. We had ensaladilla de gambas (mayonnaise-y salad with tiny shrimp), flamenquín (mixture of ham, pork, sausage, cheese, fried…I think…awesomeness), and pollo de sevilla (chicken deliciousness). Afterwards, we found this awesome little bar called El Tejar on a street near where we live. We were the only Americans and possibly the youngest people there. It was such a great place, everyone was sitting around chatting over tapas and drinks….very cool environment. We ordered our tinto de verano (sangría) and were sipping away and this lady yelled over the crowd, everyone got quiet and she started singing flamenco along with a man playing his guitarra. It was seriously one of the coolest moments EVER! Surrounded by people, cerveza, tapas, and flamenco…I’m definitely in Spain.
Before we left, we were standing near the door, this random borracho walks in off the street, heads straight for us, gives us besos (a kiss on each cheek when you meet someone for the first time), and then tries to drunkenly spit out some English at us. We were just looking at each other like…is this really happening?? He finally left us for his friends and then came back like 10 minutes later to chat some more. We left soon after.
Today was another cool day. The weather was perfect and on days like that, people are in the streets and plazas drinking and passing time with friends. Everyday on my way to class I pass Plaza Salvador in El Centro. Today when I walked by, it was PACKED with people, all standing, some with tables…most without, just drinking and chatting…keep in mind there’s a huge church that sits on one side of the plaza. But it was seriously packed….it would probably have taken an hour to get through the crowd. I went to class, took my final, and then decided to head back to the plaza with some friends for some drinks. The scene was crazy and made me realize what an amazing place this is. The crowd had started to clear out but there were empty 40oz. bottles of CruzCampo (Spanish beer) everywhereeeee along with broken glass, trash, food, you name it. No one was worried about it and just kept on going. We got some tinto from a tiny bar on one side, we were sipping away once again and shocking…2 Spanish guys come up to us wanting to practice English. I thought I was doing reasonably well with the whole blending in thing but apparently they can spot an American from across a plaza of people. One of the guys was muy borracho and claimed to be from like 3 different states in the U.S. They talked to us for a good 10-15 minutes before they kissed our hands and walked away. I’ll chalk it up to ‘that one time in Spain.’
Also, on my way home, we passed a man doing pottery with a wheel on the street. I’d never seen anyone do that…it was way cool. This little girl (prob 3-4yrs old) went up to him and asked if she could help and he let her mess up the piece he was working on and showed her how to put her hands to make it work.
My señora invited me to go to the Basílica de la Macarena with her and Miguel tomorrow and then out for cervecitas. Should be a good time, hopefully some good pictures to come.