Daily life

Some Differences Between Spain and the US: Part I


In Spain:

  • Facebook is used more often to communicate with friends
  • This is probably due to the fact that unlimited texts plans are not common
  • People use many more !!!! and ??? when texting or writing on Facebook walls
  • Cell phone companies do not give upgrades every two years or with the signing of a new contact. Buying a new phone is a big deal
  • I usually get news headlines through Facebook’s news feed and my friend’s statuses. Such things as, finding out if the Chargers won, what celebrity has died recently, what the weather is like, etc.
  • News about celebrities is much less prevalent. I usually have no idea what is happening, unlike the US where I am inundated with information
  • The best time to talk to people at home is later in the evening, which can lead to very late nights
  • There are many locutorios where you can use the Internet, or make cheap international phone calls
  • Magazines are bought from newsstands, which are green and very easy to find
  • Movies, unless they are a blockbuster like Harry Potter, come out a few months later
  • There are many more films from other European countries
  • Films can be VOS (original language) or dubbed in Spanish
  • English books are not easily available and they are very expensive. They are bought from England (priced in the pound) then transferred to Europe and priced in the Euro, which increases the price. Then the Euro must be converted into dollars and the price is increased again. A Kindle comes in handy!
  • In order to exchange money through banks, checks are not written. You give the person your complete bank account number and the money is taken out or transferred in
  • It is necessary to carry change, as the 1 and 2 Euro coins are used often

Look for future editions on grocery shopping, my apartment, training and more.

Categories: Barcelona, Culture, Daily life | Leave a comment

A Mystery Solved

I was driving to practice a few weeks ago and heard this song. I found it intriguing, as the girl kept repeating, spoken-word style, ‘What the Fuck.’ Curiously, it was uncensored, which maybe isn’t that unusual outside of the US. My interest was piqued when she started talking about being in Spain and partying, etc. This girl was explaining part of my life here! I didn’t think to Shazam it (and likely my phone was in the trunk anyway). All I could remember is that she said, ‘what the fuck,’ and talked about Spain. So I tried to find it on google. But of all the lines of a song to remember when you don’t know it’s title, I think ‘What the Fuck’ might only be behind ‘I Love You’ as the worst lyric of all time.

I don’t know how I finally accomplished it. (Well, I do. A youtube search of “what the fuck,” Spain, song, party). Still, not an easy mystery to solve.

Check out why this song caught my attention:

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Another Taste of Spanish Culture

The common perception of European music by Americans is that it is some sort of bad techno/house music. However, a lot of the songs are American imports, though not often the heavy-duty rap. The rest are from England or a variety of other European countries (i.e. David Guetta from France). In fact, I actually quite enjoy the “Euro” music when I am over here. It is danceable, but doesn’t feel like it requires full-on dirty hip-hop dancing. The same songs are repeated here ad nauseum, just as in the United States, yet somehow it takes songs even longer here to be pulled from the rotation. For example: The Black Eyed Peas’ I’ve Gotta a Feeling still draws cheers whenever it comes on in a club. (Why? I don’t know). The radio station in Barcelona dedicated to this music is RadioFlaixbac (pronounced Radio Flash Back). Among the people I know, this is the most popular radio station. You can check the top 30 songs on the website (careful: it’s in Catalan!).

For your listening/viewing pleasure, here are two more recent Euro songs that are popular right now:

Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan


 Hello by Martin Solveig and Dragonette

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A Sampling of Spanish Culture

Here is an advertisement that I often see when watching TV in Spain. Imagine not knowing ahead of time that this is an IKEA ad. Enjoy.

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A Visual Representation of Things I Do in My Free Time

#1: What takes up most of my time:

The books I brought from home

I’ve already made it through 5 books in the two weeks I’ve been here, and I still have 6 months worth of newspaper comics. I hope to finish most of the books before Christmas.
#2: Due to my roommate’s insistance:
#3: Spanish class and intercambios
#4: Writing – for the blog but mostly for myself
#5: Playing the guitar and listening to music
#6: Sightseeing in Barcelona and nearby
#7: Photographing polo
#8: Eating good food and hanging out with friends
#9: Making fiestas
#10: Doing anything else fun or interesting I come across
Categories: Barcelona, Daily life, General | Leave a comment

My First Thanksgiving as an Expat…

…was just like another day in Barcelona. Of course, I waited until the last minute to decide how to celebrate. I couldn’t make it to the Thanksgiving dinner held by the Hotel Arts, as it was during practice. Since the only way I commemorated Thanksgiving was by wearing new clothes for dinner, I will relate my day as an example of a typical day in Spain.


10:00 (or maybe 9): My alarm goes off and I hit snooze.

11:00: I actually wake up, get ready and eat breakfast.

12:00 I meet the other girls at the store across the street. We hang out for 5-10 minutes, before going to the locker rooms to change.

12:15 or 12:20, sometimes 12:30 (this is Spain): We actually start practice, usually in the gym. Today we lifted at 80%.

Between 1 and 1:30: We get into the pool and swim some before doing water polo drills.

2:30: Practice ends, we change, and my roommate and I go to lunch. Spanish tortilla was on the menu today. It is the best meal at the restaurant.

4:30: I am home from lunch. Today I went and bought shampoo during my free time. Wooo!

7:30: I head to the gym for extra cardio, if I feel like it. Today I used the stationary bike for a half an hour.

8:30: Again we meet at the store. This time we are usually quicker to get to practice.

8:40: We do more water polo drills or scrimmage. We played terribly against the younger boys’ team this evening.

10:00: Practice ends. My roommate and I go to dinner. New shirt, new pants, new shoes for tonight! I had to acknowledge Thanksgiving, somehow, since I am missing my favorites: turkey and mashed potatoes. And cheesecake. But, most importantly, monkey bread! At least there is Christmas.

1 AM or maybe 2: I am hopefully asleep.


Such an exciting life! The trick will be to use my free time for more interesting purposes than buying shampoo. Some examples so far: the Aquarium, shopping, dealing with my broken computer. But those are for another time.

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