Immersing yourself in the culture of any foreign place for an extended period is rewarding. It allows you that unique insight into what it’s like to live here, not just visit as a tourist.
Whether you mean to or not, you’re going to end up comparing it to life at home.
So far, the biggest differences we’ve found lie with the introduction to siestas and late-night dinners.
Siesta’s and late night dinners are a part of every vacation…maybe ever?
Here’s the thing, in Valencia that’s part of their every day life #mylifeisyourvacation
There’s a siesta time frame here from about 12-4 every day with everything shutting down from 2-4 or some variation therein.
People go home, pick up their kids from school and in general just have more time to spend with the family.
They’re pretty strict about it though.
You can be shoulder to shoulder shuffling around the insanely busy Central Market, taking it all in and trying to decide what to buy and at which vendor, only to have 1:30pm hit and have all your ‘great dinner ideas’ brought to a slow and determined halt.
This is shutting down time, not selling time.
The vendors will tell you ‘I’ve been here since 7am, you come sooner next time.’
I love them so much for this.
Let’s face it, if you needed that 1lb of shrimp THAT badly you would have made the effort to be here earlier and not miss out.
And they’re right.
Even some big box stores here close their doors.
So does everyone go home and actually nap or has the digital age got them scrolling instead of snoring?
Is the allure of social media greater than that of old-world tradition?
I doubt it.
If you’re from Valencia and reading this feel free to chime in.
Inquiring minds want to know.
As North Americans it is not uncommon to eat lunch at our desk at work.
Here in Valencia, not so much. Adios amigos it’s nap time and they are gone.
Is that what makes everyone here so happy? The down time?
By happy I don’t mean walking around smiling psychopaths, just all very chill.
Rarely will you hear a car horn. Why, because everyone lets everyone else in – no road rage.
What a concept.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone the wrong way on a one way only to meet up with a local who has genuine concern for us and wants to help us get it right.
That’s right – they didn’t scream and swear at us.
We made a mistake. The roads are confusing.
We obviously did not do that on purpose.
They showed patience.
You need something specific at a store and don’t speak English?
Employees are more than happy to engage in a hilarious game of ‘I don’t speak Spanish Pictionary’.
They WANT to help you.
Everyone in general has a beautiful respect for each other here. It’s palpable.
I don’t even know why there’s police here.
I think mainly for crowd control when all the happy people get together to celebrate their happiness in this beautiful sunny city.
Is all of Spain like this?
Once everyone checks off the boxes nap and work, they head to the local tapas bar and socialize.
How was your nap? Hey great, what about you? Cheers!
Nap = happy people.
Then they go home and plan their night out (I do not know this for sure).
Valencians eat at around 8pm or later.
First thought for me was – how can they digest food that late?
Have they not heard about that rule:
No eating after 7pm or you’ll basically turn into Sponge Bob because your body goes into sleep mode and turns off all burning capability.
And yet, they don’t look like Sponge Bob…
Perhaps the Spaniards have some extracurricular calorie burning events that happen when they get home after dinner?Whatever it is, it’s working.
Rush hour around here is at night, more so than morning time.
They’re basically happy go lucky modern-day vampires.
Rain, is a rare occurrence. We have been here for 45 days and only had one day of rain.
Rephrase that, half an hour of rain, and it happened all at once.
Over before it started really.
Waiting until 8pm or later to eat has been a challenge.
We can pull it off on the weekend but for the most part it’s has to be a kebab place (we have our go to) or the boat at 6ish.
Valencia is flat.
It’s been a real treat. Maybe too much of a treat.
Our ratio of target heart rate to prosciutto and olive oil-soaked bread is severely off.
I’d go one further and say completely broken.
Usually we burn off as much as we eat just by touring around every day but lately…
This line of thought brings many random thoughts I’ll share now:
- Wonder how many calories yoga burns?
- Will I be able to tack at night by myself on this boat?
- How can we implement this lifestyle in North America #end9to5workdays
- What should I make for dinner?
- I need to invent a napping with puppies franchise.
- How exactly do I get ‘Napping with Puppies in Sunshine’ off the ground?
Let’s face it those 3 things (naps, puppies and sunshine) together are a home run for the work weary of North America.
Wait, lets make it ‘Sunshine Napping in PJ’s with Puppies’ SNIPP for short!
You are now exiting my random thoughts, thanks for joining me.
Siestas and late-night dinners were implemented out of a need for relief from the scorching daytime heat of Mediterranean summers.
A chance to walk about and enjoy the cooler temperatures of summer time evenings.
You don’t need this as much in the winter but no ones complaining.
Life is better this way.
Why can’t every country look at what it takes to make life better for its people.
Who says we have to work 9 to 5? Our lives are now 60% (if not more) virtual.
Let’s make flex schedules so people in all stages of their life (teens, families, retirees) can contribute without putting undue stress on their children, school and personal well being.
That thing that would make life easier (working from home, flex scheduling) for people is the same thing that makes people happier.
Happy people are productive people.
Now there’s a political platform that’s NEVER come up!
I have ideas – I could go on but let’s focus on Valencia for now.
Valencia – you got this whole thing figured out.
So much to learn here.