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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

And Now, For Some Good News...


So, like I was thinking the other day that I've written several posts about the "bad" adventures I've had over here, but I haven't shared enough of the good experiences. That's not fair and must be rectified forthwith!

The main thing I've come to love about life in Spain, at least here in Andalucia, is that it's a simpler, slower pace than in the States. No matter what the "it" is (paperwork, cup of coffee, opening times, etc.) it will either happen on time - or it won't - and if it doesn't, it may happen on time tomorrow.

Which translates to "it depends," and is normally accompanied with a shrug of the shoulders and sometimes a smile. At first, getting a depende was head-scratchingly difficult, but now I factor it into my expected timeline and all is good with the world.

There's even a song about Depende by singer Jarabe de Palo!

Now, all this, is of course, my humble opinion, but after more than 22 years living and working around the U.S., the difference in "life-speed" is remarkable. Here's a few, little things that bring a smile to my face.

For example, my bus home is never on time. I mean never. Instead, it's always 11-13 minutes late, so now I get there at least 5 minutes late so I don't have too wait too long. Bizarre, but it works everytime.

Credit: Nexotrans.com
The same driver normally works the afternoon shift and we share a "hola" and a manly, half-nod of the head, but the other day, I had my back turned to traffic and I heard a horn beep. I turned and saw the bus was there, with the door opening. That driver could easily have driven on by, but he didn't, which was very, very cool of him.

On one of my first days at my office job, I asked how to access my internal email from home so I could do some work in the evening. My colleague looked at me and shook his head.

"Work is work, and home is home. We focus on quality of life here, so keep the two apart." I couldn't speak for a few seconds, as it was quite a surprise to hear that. I thought he was joking, but he was serious and it's lovely to leave work and not worry/think about it until the next morning.

The vast majority of individual stores, bars and restaurants close between 2-5 p.m., mainly because it's way too hot, and there isn't much foot traffic anyway. I've no idea if many people still take an official siesta, but it's good to know I can run errands in the morning or early evening when it's not baking hot. (But make sure you run those errands Mon-Fri, because businesses tend to close Saturday afternoon by 2 p.m. and won't be open again until Monday at 9 a.m.-ish.)

I walk to the Metro early and every morning I pass an old man (who scared the crap out of me the first time he appeared ghost-like out of the dark!) I got a gruff grunt out of him (possibly in reaction to my high-pitched girly-girl squeal) that time, but now his stick goes up in the air, my hand lifts up and we share a "buenos dias." (The funniest thing is I ever saw him in the light of day, I probably wouldn't recognize him as I've never really seen his face!!)

Local Townhall at 7 a.m. (and no fiestas going on :)

My favorite is when I drive a 2+ lane freeway/dual carriageway, and the left lane, which is meant for overtaking, is actually used for this purpose. It's fascinating to see!
Someone will zoom up behind me, I indicate and pull into the right lane, the driver goes by and the next car indicates and goes right, too. And, EVERYBODY does it. Cars, vans, buses whatever pull over to let me speed on by, too, when needed, so there are never any slow cars in the fast lane. Pure driving bliss.

Oh. And the weather is nice here, too.


Elizabeth Seckman said...

That's why I like island life. Slower paced life appeals to me. Life speeds by too fast, may as well slow down as much as we can and enjoy it.

Elephant's Child said...

Slow is much more better. And hooray for leaving work at work, where it belongs.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

While the lack of timelyness would make me crazy, actually having people respect the 'Slower traffic keep right' would be bliss. Because here, as long a they are doing one mile over the speed limit, they think they own that left lane and won't move for anybody.

CWMartin said...

Treasure it as long as you can. Blessings on this earth tend to change without warning.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark - glad you're adjusting ... must have been so much fun having the boys over ... we're lucky having buses ... and the trains - though both can be pains ... still just enjoy that new life - good luck, cheers Hilary

Jo said...

I just love Spain and am sorry we won't be back. I loved the slower pace of life and sitting under the trees with a cafe granizado and a cognac after doing the grocery shopping or buying the bread. No boxed wine there. Not then anyway.

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