Part 2: you get used to anything in time
Ana, my new flatmate/co-worker/friend, was waiting for me at the entrance door and helped me to carry my bags upstairs. Apparently to the fifth (!) floor, without an elevator, which I found out to happen a lot here in Slovenia. My god, there is going to be a lot of unknowingly “shocks” in this blog, be prepared.
Don’t get me wrong: overall I don’t like to talk in terms of ‘we’ and ‘them’, as if a determined culture really applies to the same extent to all people in a country. But the more I got to know my flatmates, the more I could tell that some stereotypes are just justifiable to use 😉
In my perspective, Ana and Irene are very open, warm-hearted, talkative and social people. I’d like to zoom in a little on the talkative part. All Spanish people reading this, I’d like to refer you to my statement above, no need to feel offended 😉 So, the first time I heard Ana making a phone call, I was blown away by the tempo in which she was talking. How on earth could this person on the other side of the phone follow her story?! Really impressive, you could say.
After a few months I came to a second realization. When Ana or Irene tell a story, it’s mostly in superlatives. Or as the typical Dutch person would view it: a little exaggerated. From “this candy is the best in the world” to “this candy is the worst I’ve ever tasted”. From “this was an amaaaaazing week” (yes, exactly with the emphasis in the middle), to “this was a f*cking sh*t”. Oh yeah, swear words. They use a lot of them. And I’m not proud of it, but I think I can better swear in Spanish than have a basic and polite conversation. Let’s say it’s also part of the cultural learning process.
A third thing that stood out for me, is the fact that they can be very loud, especially when multiple Spanish people are together in one room. It’s like they strengthen each other in their loudness. Sometimes when I talk when I’m among them, I feel like I’m whispering instead of talking. I catch myself sometimes going along with the energy, the noise but also their expressiveness. I think it will change fast enough when I’m back in the Netherlands. Also, what I thought was typical Dutch, could also apply to Spanish people apparently. Being greedy, always going for the cheapest option, and going crazy over free stuff: it’s day to day life in Spain.
And yes, to all of the above named, I had to get used to it. And that was for sure not easy in the beginning. But we all had to get used to each other. Our cultures, but also our personalities (which could be related, if you think about it). The three of us are very different from each other, but this experience shows me that you really cannot judge a person by its first impression. Sometimes it really doesn’t work out with people and you knew from the very beginning. But sometimes it works out great with people that felt so different from you. To be honest, I didn’t picture myself being friends with these crazy Spanish girls, but it happened. And for me, that’s an amazing proof that you can get along with a lot of people as long as you both put time, effort, respect and patience in it.