The people here in Sevilla will forever be the most memorable part of my time studying abroad. The culture here in Spain is so different than in the United States. It has taken some time getting used to, but these past weeks, I have finally begun to understand how Spaniards think, and how it effects their daily lives.
The first and most accurate way I can describe the people here is much like the phrase: fire and ice. People here are so polar opposites in their actions, emotions and habits, and it creates a pretty unpredictable atmosphere. Even with a weekly routine, I cannot go on living without having a day that is full of surprises.
Spaniards are known for having an active lifestyle. They walk to work, school, and then throughout the city every day and night. They’re always on the move. And, they always look like they’re in a hurry. Emotionally, they are very active too. Their words, body language and lifestyle emit passion and purpose. It was at first intimidating and even overwhelming. But after a while, you learn to respect the emotional outbursts, the fast, intense talking, wild hand gestures and overly affectionate PDA in the park. Life here seems to be cranked up to one hundred, and then doubled for good measure.
All of that being said, the number one motto in Sevilla is, “No pasa nada.” This is essentially the Spanish equivalent of Hakuna Matata. Petty inconveniences and even things that might be perceived as a big deal in the US completely roll off their shoulders. One can get mad in the street for five seconds, only to stop what they’re doing, sit down and enjoy a glass of wine in the warmth of the midday sun. Everybody is late to everything, and nobody seems to mind. Nobody is in a hurry with their careers. They seem to just live a life almost anxiety-free. Their calm and collected attitudes are welcomed counterparts to their fiery and otherwise energetic lifestyle.
A second way to describe the people here is friendly. You can interact and communicate with complete strangers here without issue. They will help you with anything and will treat you like a long-lost friend you haven’t seen in years. They will sit down and get to know you. It does not matter who they are. More importantly, it does not matter who you are. It seems as though social circles were never invented here. Going out at night, the streets are usually packed with people who all speak and interact with one another.
You can learn a lot about life when living in a different culture. You’re looking at the same picture, just from a different angle. It lends new perspective. The people here will forever and always be the best part about Spain. Their patriotism, fiery attitude and love for others is contagious, and I know it will be very hard to say goodbye to them.