Monday, September 26, 2011

Time lag with kisses

Yes, I know, there isn't any so called time lag between Spain and Hungary, but sometimes I feel that because of their way of life. Here people do lots of things in a different time or in a different way as in Hungary or in lots of other European countries. Now, I collected some, that are my favorites:  

Coffee-break, siesta, fiesta
Before I came here I knew, that people in Southern countries start the day later, but it was new for me that they finish it much later also (although, it's logical...:). Let's have a look at a timetable of an average day:
opening hours of a supermarket
After starting the day at 9.00,  it's necessary to have just a half an hour long coffee-break at about 10.30. :) Then at 14.00 it's time to finish work and have lunch, and after, it is siesta-time! That is good for having a rest because almost everything is closed. Here in La Seu – in my opinion, there are two supermarkets opened, so it's possible to do some shoppings, but nothing else: no post office, no banks, no specialized small shops etc. So life stops in siesta-time. Then, back to work at 16:30 until 19.00, or from 17.00 till 20.00o 21.00. But, after again: when you finish work, nothing is opened (only some supermarkets until 21.00). Complicated. I can’t even imagine how is those people's daily routine, who have children.
Just to see the difference, here is the Hungarian way: people usually start to work at 8:00 - in fact I don’t know if  I will ever be able to get used to this again, because in my case it meant that I had to woke up at 6.30, and it 's terrible, but the worst in winter... On the middle of the day at about 12.30 or 13.00 we can have a half an hour or an hour long lunch break, but not more, and people usually finish work between 17.00 - 18.00. (Of course everything depends on the type of  the workplace, but it's common enough.)

And another very strange thing for me: the free-days. Since I’m here I had so many free days in four months, like in a whole year in Hungary. Religious free-day, free-day for the Saint of the town, free days for the festival of  the town and of course national free-days for whole Spain. 
And the result? Well, maybe people say that it can be a strong reason of the Spanish economic problems, but I think in human life. Ok, I don’t have too much work experiences here, but what I see is different from home: people are NOT nervous all the time, and NOBODY is shouting with his/her colleagues (just because he/she was 10 minutes late)... 

Midnight is not late at all:
Another interesting fact is still in connection with the different life rhythm. Let's look some typical examples what you can see and hear if you are sitting on the terrace of a pub at midnight on the weekend: passing cars, people who are cycling, walking, walking with their dogs, drunk youngsters, laud music from a neighboring party or the tired neighbors who are shouting: silence, please (or in worse case it is not a "please").
But here you can hear and see one more thing: the noise of the children who are playing on the playground at midnight!
And if you prefer ice-cream instead of beer, don't worry: the ice-cream stands are still opened:) 

Eating habits
To be honest I prefer the Catalan cuisine instead of Hungarian. Much more vegetables, fruits, seafoods, and fortunately, a bit less sugar and fat. But if we just speak about foods, the difference is not that big. Hungary and Spain is not that far from each other, so most of the foods that exist at home are usually exist here and on the other way back.
The big difference is, again, yes, the time:  
Well, breakfast at about 8.00, that is normal, for me also. Coffee and maybe some extra food at about 10:30. Lunch: late enough, between 14.00 or 15.30 (for me it is between 13.00 - 14.30). It is all right, but the dinner time!
When I, the Hungarian finish work at 19.00,  I have dinner after, between 19.00 and 20.00. On the weekends it can be between 18.00 and 19.00 (as it is normal in my country). Honestly, I tried to change it, but i can’t. On the evening I usually go to run, and I can’t with full stomach and what even worse: I cannot sleep with full stomach. (Of course it is possible that I’m hungry later, and then I eat, but only a fruit or some vegetables, that's all.) But here people start to have dinner at about 21:30. (When I do have dinner between 18.00-20.00, they have a small tea: e.g. a croissant.) It is just a possible beginning, 22.00 or 23.00 is also normal. Well, it is ok, it's up to the culture. But, the big question for me: if they eat so late why are Catalans not fat? 

The unforgettable kisses: 
I'm sorry, it is something that I really hate and I can not get used to that. But yes, it is a cultural difference, there is nothing to do against it. I know that the forms of greetings are really different all over the world and even all over Europe. There are cultures where everybody kiss anybody else, even boys each other, or cultures where people neither kiss on the cheek each other nor shake hands. 
The Hungarian way is on the middle: if we are introduced to somebody, we shake hands, very rarely if I’m introduced to a close friend of my close friend, it's possible to give kiss on the cheek, but I prefer not to do it with a stranger. Boys shake hands, boys and girls shake hands and/or give two kisses, girls and girls shake hands and/or give two kisses. (Hmmm, it seems quiet complicated.:) And later if we have a good relationship with somebody we automatically give two kisses on the cheek. 
But here…
No handshaking, just kisses for the first time. In this way I managed to kiss lots of people: in offices like Consell Comarcal of La Seu d'Urgell (the local administration and government organ), the  editor-boy in Pirineus TV, and - my favorite - once I managed to kiss a major:). 
I'm afraid all of my „partners” felt that I’m not on a friendly terms with this habit, for this reason, often I can’t find the right side to start the procedure, step too close and step to their feet or because of it I loose my balance and almost tumble down, but definitely become totally ridiculous...

So, these are my favorites, but I found some new almost every day, and don't worry I'm going to share them.

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