Living in Spain

Y Mucho Más: 15 Rules to thrive in Spain

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Becoming Spanish takes a few adjustments, but anyone can thrive in Spain by following a few simple Spanish rules.

Sometimes I forget just how complicated it is to live in another culture. Here, then, are 15 rules for living and thriving en España. 

Rules to thrive in Spain

1. Wear a scarf at all times from September until May. If you do not wear a scarf, be prepared to 'catch' cold. You see, viruses do not cause colds: cold causes colds.

2. After getting up, do not immediately make the bed. First open the window, even in the dead of winter, to let the bed air out. Otherwise, it will stink.

3. You must eat fruit after the meal. You should also peel the fruit, even if the peel is edible and arguably the most nutritious part (eg. apples, pears). You may also wish to eat your orange with a knife and fork, but only if you are skilled.

4. Hot leftovers must never go into the fridge immediately. It is better to leave it out for hours on the counter until it is lukewarm and then put it in the fridge.

5. If you exercise (and this is a big if) you must buy the latest in biking/running/swimming gear. Acceptable: branded running pants that wick the sweat off you (cost: EUR 50). Not acceptable: shorts and t-shirts. Try not to run with music; that sort of behaviour is only for pretend athletes. Not like you.

6. There should be a broom for the kitchen and one for the rest of the house. These brooms must never, under any circumstances, be mixed up.

7. Do not trust air conditioning. It is only tolerable if you live in the south. Otherwise, just walk around in your underwear all day and sleep without bed covers in the sweltering summer.

8. Vacation in August. Take the whole month off. You don’t pay extortionate taxes for nothing!

9. That thermometer? Yeah, it goes under your arm, not your tongue. The horror!

10. As a woman, you always give dos besos. If you are a man, you always give women the two kisses, but only give other men two kisses if they are your family. Otherwise, you do what any man anywhere does – a handshake, and if you like the dude, turn that handshake into a backslapping prototypical 'man hug'.

11. Pretend you don’t care about gossip. Say you don’t care. But still care.

12. Be 'vegetarian', meaning you don’t eat red meat, so you can lose weight. But still eat it on special occasions. Life is for living, right?

13. Disparage the institution of marriage – you are past such things. If you must get married, realise it is only for your dear Catholic mother, the dear.

14. Say you are Catholic, no matter if you can count the times you’ve gone to mass on one hand.

15. If you are an unmarried guy in your 20s, having a hairless chest is important. Visit the hairdresser regularly. Shaving your legs is also A-OK, too.

I hope these tips will assist you in your journey to españolizar yourself.


Reprinted with the permission of Y Mucho Más.

Kaley is the blogger at Y Mucho Más, a website about living as an American expatriate in Spain. She enjoys Spanish food and wine, hiking, and talking in Spanglish. Find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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