shan2010's Travel Journals


  • From United States
  • Currently in Madrid, Spain

My Adventures as an Au Pair: a Southern Belle becoming a Madrileña

My entries in this journal will be about the people I meet and the experiences I have while living in Madrid, Spain. Also I will include stories about being an Au Pair.

Mis pensamientos y observaciones

Spain Madrid, Spain  |  Jan 26, 2013
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My thoughts and observations:

1.       When I first arrived in Spain, I didn’t like the fact that no one would hold a door open for me or say “gracias” when I held the door open for them. Once I first noticed it, then I kept noticing it through the first couple weeks. As a girl from the south, this is just normal common courtesy. I mentioned this to my teacher too, but recently I have actually seen people holding open doors and saying “gracias” and it makes me so happy! I will keep the southern kindness coming!

2.       Metro etiquette: There are many stairs and escalators in the metro and people are always running from here to there. But there is a certain etiquette that you pick up…it is probably the same sort of thing in big cities with subway or metro systems in the US, but I have never really experienced it. If you are the one closest to the door, and you are getting off on the next stop, you better be ready to open the door immediately as the metro stops and MOVE! Everyone is behind you and they move quick! Then if you don’t feel like climbing the escalators and only want to ride them, well you better stay to the right, so the ones who want to add a little exercise to their day (me included) can hike up the stairs quickly!

3.       It has been pretty common now to see people on the metros asking for money, fruit, food for their family and/or jus their kids. While sometimes in the US, we are skeptical of the actual intentions of those asking for food, with a 26% unemployment rate in Spain, there is no doubt that these people are in need for help (not to say that those in the US aren’t real as well). It is very sad, but I do see people giving euros or fruit to those that ask.

4.       To stay with the metro theme, I always see people playing instruments, singing, and both on the metro and in the metro station. Most of the time I just want to laugh, because it is so random that this guy is busting out a Spanish song and everyone’s faces are completely blank.  

5.    In my class, we have had pretty good discussions this week. One was about addiction to video games and violence, and another one was about fast food and obesity in different countries. It is a huge problem in the US (no pun intended), but I was surprised to learn that it is also a problem in Ireland, Germany, and starting in Spain as well. I haven’t really seen many overweight people here in Madrid yet. But my host mom agrees with my teacher and told me it is getting to be a problem with children in Spain too.

I love learning about other cultures and experiencing this new one! 

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