Team USA or Team Spain?

Who doesn’t appreciate a solid, informative list? The answer is nobody! Because lists are so exhilarating, I will be sharing a few similarities and differences between America and Spain based off my own observations. I am no travel guru, but for the sake of this list, let’s pretend I am. I was taken back by how these countries could be so alike, yet remote. Without further ado, let’s begin with the parallels.

A Few Similarities of America and Spain

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Remember the Ads you automatically avoid like the plague? Well, you’re in luck because Spain also has the same tactics to consume your wallet! From restaurants to The Minions movie (that can’t be avoided even when in a different country), the set up and locations remain equal.

The Minions have taken over Madrid's Metro Station.
The Minions have taken over Madrid’s Metro Station.

Umbrellas

You won’t be singing in the rain in Madrid. Being from Pennsylvania, rain and my city are lovers. Here in Spain, rain is not very common, but what still can be seen is umbrellas. Portable shade and protection from the heat is needed because the heat would indeed make a dragon want to retire.

Music and Entertainment

A herd of Spanish students were singing “Shake It Off” By Taylor Swift the first day I arrived at my housing. Untranslated, a lot of American music can be jammed to in Spain. American movies even can be seen in its original form; I even had an hour conversation about Batman with one of the Spanish students.

Preforms in the city of Madrid are like those spotted on an American boardwalk.
Performers in the city of Madrid are like those spotted on an American boardwalk.

A Few Differences of America and Spain

Eating

Being humans, both Americans and Spanish must eat. How we eat, however, is slightly different. Food aside, in Spain, dinner is considered to be around 9 p.m.; 5 p.m. just won’t cut it, America. Drinking alcoholic beverages casually for lunch also is normal whereas in the USA, you’d probably be deemed an alcoholic.

Who needs sleep anyways?
Who needs sleep anyways?

Hotels and Common Buildings

Is that a well-known, significant building?! Perhaps a landmark in Spain? Surely it must be something important for how massive, detailed and extravagant it appears! …No? It’s just your average hotel like various others in Madrid?

Every building in Madrid has a historic, massive appearance to it.
Every building in Madrid has a historic, massive appearance to it.

Physical Interaction

No, I’m not talking about that kind of physical interaction. In Spain, it is popular to greet one another by kissing cheeks and embracing hugs. When I met the CEO of the company I’m interning for, he did just that. I repeat: the CEO. A handshake and a hello from important businessmen is more what Americans are used to.

When traveling, there will always be cultural changes, but also resemblances. One is not better than the other; rather, both elements make Spain and America worth discovering.

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Blind Dates With Spanish Food

While everyone else took Spanish in high school, I picked German because of a heavy metal rock band from Germany that I adored. This decision, although hardcore, has turned out to be a poor one. Day four in Madrid, Spain and I hold immense confidence in my courtesy; by courtesy I mean “gracis” (thank you), “hola” (hello) and “si” (yes) are my only lifelines. Without these three superb words, I might as well be a deer in headlights and unfortunately, I don’t believe a deer would be allowed in the city.

The language barrier is apparent, but not devastating. I welcome the awkward, complex process of speaking with others who don’t understand what I am saying and vice versa. Communication is far more than just verbal and thankfully, Madrid locals are willing to share their voice and time. Sure, knowing Spanish would be idealistic, but being forced to ask strangers for directions or how to pronounce a word is how real, diverse interaction occurs. The patience and inclination to help is something that can’t be learned in a Spanish 101 textbook; sorry, Dora.

I still haven't the slightest clue as to what this dish was made of besides deliciousness.
I still haven’t the slightest clue as to what this dish was made of besides deliciousness.

The most electrifying experience so far, being a complete foreigner, is ordering food at a restaurant. Menus are written naturally in Spanish and served by a waiter with no English comprehension. My hot date with delicious Spanish cuisine was intimidating and blind. I, being a rebel, decided to pick random items on menus; that way, every meal would be like Christmas with 100 degrees Fahrenheit weather! The food in Madrid not only looks good, but it tastes good too… even if I have no clue what I ordered.

You can't go wrong with dessert, specifically when it looks this fancy.
You can’t go wrong with dessert, specifically when it looks this fancy.

Not knowing a prominent language when abroad can be embarrassing, confusing and at times, frustrating. Ultimately, strangers who are willing to talk anyways, becoming temporary teachers, provide a valuable experience. One can’t learn something new without trying and I plan to try every food on the Spanish menu to widen my knowledge.

Plane Rides to Madrid are for Royals

The most thrilling aspect of travel? Hands-down, the airplane food. Glorious, free, packaged and have I mentioned free? They even asked if I desired pasta or chicken (for inquiring minds: I clearly went with pasta being a rational person). I’m no expert, this being my first plane ride where I’m tall enough to go on a rollercoaster. Still, the plane ride to one’s destination is not one to ignore; more so when your arrival is seven hours away in Madrid, Spain. As a mature junior in college, my first resort for entertainment reasonably was the SpongeBob Movie. Indeed, I am living the life of a queen with my double fudge brownie given to me by the alert, hardworking flight attendant.

As you can see, I know how to have a good time on a plane.
As you can see, I know how to have a good time on a plane.

Being royal aside, distracting myself from the anticipation and excitement I am feeling to land in Europe is near impossible. Sorry SpongeBob, even your jokes about refunds being deadly can’t fight off eagerness. For those who don’t know me or don’t have a part-time job as a detective, my name is Kristy. I have been selected through my school, Keystone College, located in La Plume, Pennsylvania for a four week internship with corporate Sodexo in Madrid, Spain. With hopes of perusing a career in public relations after graduation, this expense-free internship is insanely extraordinary. Let me rephrase: four weeks, fully paid for, working for a nationally recognized company abroad at the age of twenty is simply insane in an extraordinary way.

Who knows what Spain has in store, but whatever it holds, my blog will know.

Sitting for six hours?  Bless You, GPS, you informative machine, you.
Sitting for six hours? Bless You, GPS, you informative machine, you.