It has been almost two weeks since arriving here in Barcelona and I am already starting to see myself make slight adjustments in the way I am living. The people here in Barcelona tend to do things slightly different than how I do things back in the United States. The first major change I noticed was how relaxed and at ease the people who live here are. I rarely see people rushing to do things, such as eating or drinking coffee on the go. When you eat a meal or sip on a cup of coffee, it is expected that you sit down and enjoy it, opposed to just guzzling down your meals (like how people in the U.S. often times do). It is far more common to see people outside a café drinking coffee with a friend than in the U.S. I remember my third day since arriving in Barcelona, when I was on my way to the beach with a few friends and we all brought sandwiches on the bus. The local people gave us odd looks, some raising eyebrows, others just in disgust. I did not realize then that the culture and the proper etiquette here in Barcelona is different than what I am accustomed to, and that we probably looked like a bunch of outcasts for eating on the bus.
Also, eating here in Barcelona is completely different than what I am accustomed to back at home. Everything from how you get the check at the end of a meal all the way to what types of food you eat is different. The first time I went out to lunch I waited about twenty minutes without saying a word to the waiter for the check, because I thought it was a mutual understanding that I was finished with my meal. Apparently it is normal for people to sit down and just relax after a meal here and that it is the job of the costumer to ask for the check. Well this obviously was not that apparent to me, and I had to get used to slowing down on my meals and sulking in the atmosphere a bit more than I do in the U.S. Along with the confusion about the etiquette on how to receive the check, I noticed that the time people eat dinner here is far later than I expected. Yes, I had heard that in Europe people do not eat dinner until 9 or 10 pm, but I didn’t think that meant that all of the dinner restaurants were closed until that time too. I could not believe that I could walk up and down the city streets at 6:30 pm and not find a single restaurant that was opened. It baffled me to say the least. All of these experiences and observations I had made in my first week have really helped me fit into the culture here and make slight adjustments for the upcoming weeks. I still have some things to learn but I am picking up quickly.