I have learned a lot in my first month in Spain. From the language and history to the details of daily life in a new country, there are so many things to soak up. Here are 11 everyday things that I have noticed are just a bit different than in the US.
1. The light switches switch the other way.
You don't really think about all of the tiny habits you have until they stop working for you. I was really confused why I kept "missing" when I tried to turn off the lights until I realized what was going on.
2. The standard size for printer paper is longer.
Upside: My document that had just a couple of lines continuing onto the next page on my computer fit onto one page when I went to print it. And I didn't even have to mess with the margins! Downside: The 8-page paper I have due in a few weeks really needs to be about 9 "pages" in my head.
3. People actually use knives at every meal.
Maybe I just missed the memo, but I usually just use the side of my fork.
4. "C" is for caliente, not cold.
Common sense, but a good one to remember.
5. Pretty much everything is shifted two-three hours later.
Things open at about 9:30, lunch is at 2 or 3, and dinner is at 9 or 10. The hottest part of the day is around 6 pm, not 3 (still trying to figure that one out). Want to go out with friends? Anything before 12 is ridiculously early, and going home before 3 is weird. One time I was walking through the middle of the city at 7:30 am, and no one was going to work; the only people I saw were stumbling home after the parties.
6. The main floor is 0, not 1.
And the basement is -1. Makes sense.
7. A lot of the doors have doorknobs in the middle of the door.
Like in the Shire! (They're still rectangular, though.)
8. Most tall shoes have very wide heels.
Partly the current fashion trend, partly not wanting to die when walking on the cobblestone streets.
9. It is weirdly difficult to find a notebook with lines.
Most of the ones I found were graph paper or blank inside. Also, the pages have colored borders to separate the different sections, and the planners have tear-off corners so that you can easily flip to the current week. Overall, a win.
10. The playing cards go up to 12 and have actual pictures, not the symbols.
Instead of the clubs, spades, diamonds, and hearts, there are clubs (like an actual baseball-bat-like object), swords, coins, and goblets.
11. The bananas open differently.
Instead of snapping the top, you have to twist it. Also, the peels are thicker, so a banana with some significant brown spots is probably still perfect on the inside.