Hey! As those of you who follow us on a daily basis know, a few weeks ago we came back from spending a few days in Spain. The tantrums were the order of the day and I had to hyperventilate much more often than I would have liked. Since I started living in Germany, I have often felt like a foreigner in my own country. And this time it wasn’t going to be any different. Weird but true!
Accustomed to living in Germany
When they ask me how long I’ve lived in Germany, I even get scared myself. We’re going for seven years now! And although we go to Spain very often, I think it’s inevitable to adopt certain customs that I didn’t practice in my country of origin. I think that’s the key to everything. I also notice that my adaptation to the Germanic country has increased exponentially since I became a mother in Germany.
Foreigner in my own country
Everything has changed
Before you go somewhere you “think” you know, you’d better ask first. The stores you knew are gone, or they’ve been renamed. Where you used to go for coffee, it turns out that “it’s not good anymore” but they have opened a new and better one next door. If you want to take a trip to the beach, also ask for references about places to eat or where to stay. (Or where the wind blows less 😉 ). In the end, the fundamental difference between you who were born there and another who comes to visit is that you know a lot of people and get first-hand information. Take advantage of it.
Open the windows
While since I started living in Germany, I am increasingly obsessed with ventilation (Belüftung). It turns out that in Spain, it is better to control how long the windows stay open. (For all the dust that comes in, plus the heat). And it is a reality that in the areas where it rains less, there is more dust in the environment. If you open a window half an hour, you could see how effectively this annoying visitor has taken over your room.
Three hours and twenty of flight and you move to another reality. Almost certainly, a sun of justice and 15 or 20 degrees more will welcome you. (At least in my case, I fly to Jerez or Seville most of the time). The sensation of summer invades you and you come up as the foam, while you look eagerly for your sunglasses in the bag.
Now you are one more foreigner. (With all due respect to foreigners, I am married to one). You look for the first full sun terrace you find and there you sit before the stupefied gaze of those who go with you. (Family or friends who prefer to eat under the umbrella or even inside with air conditioning).
With 30 degrees you already dressed as in August
You no longer remember that there is heat beyond 30 degrees, so as soon as the thermometer approaches that temperature, you take out the heavy artillery. Sandals, tank tops and steamy dresses. You go out into the street smeared with sun protection and when you stop to look around, you’re surprised to find that some still wear boots around their ankles and jeans. <<¡With this heat! >>.
Going deeper into your thoughts, you realize that 28 degrees for people who know that it will pass from 40 degrees sooner rather than later, is not heat. For you, who have been six months between -4 and 15 degrees, 28 degrees is the Caribbean.
If you’re also going to Spain for an event – see wedding or similar – get ready. The level for getting by in southern Spain is level, and it’s time to catch up on trends and fashions.
Recently we had a long and drawn-out discussion about how to dress and take care of oneself in Spain or Germany. Opinions of all kinds and all subjective, of course. What is a reality is that in Spain you will find models at much more affordable prices and with much more variety to choose from than in Germany.
What about children? The way children dress in southern Spain has little to do with how children dress in Germany.
Time to go to the park
If you are already fully adapted to the timetables in Germany, it doesn’t matter what you set out to do. In Spain you will go to bed later, have lunch later and take a nap. I’m not talking about you who live in Spain and have your job. I mean whoever comes to Spain for a few days and tries to keep up with Germany. It’s impossible! (And if you have, please tell me your secret).
To begin with, with this heat (even though it’s hot in May) it’s hard to think of a plan for nap time other than sleep. If to that we add that you have had much more lunch than usual. You will almost certainly fall asleep on the sofa. (If your Minis allow it). Yes, your Minis, those who ride like a motorbike all the time. They may take the nap of their life between 3 and 6 pm, and have more than enough energy to last until 10 pm. Say goodbye to your Zen moment for a quiet dinner or a movie.
In addition, if you are one of those who propose something and you want to do it during siesta time (between 3 and 4:30 I dare to specify), it is better that you do not need any open shop. Many shops close from 13:30 to 17:30 in the afternoon. But then you can shop until 8:30pm or even 10pm. Depending on where you go.
For someone who normally eats breakfast around 8:00 and lunch around 12:30, postponing lunch at 3:00 means devouring the dish in front of you. Unless you belong to a group whose appetite is reduced by the heat, you will end up eating twice as much as you have been accumulating. (In addition to the fact that food cooked by a mother tastes twice as good).
Now I’m also obsessed with tapas. Wherever I go, what really matters to me is that there are tapas. That of trying many things, almost always delicious, I like more than ever.
Life on the street
It’s what it takes to live in a warm climate. It invites you to go out and spend time on the street. As a good foreigner in my own country, I take every opportunity to be away for a while. Either write this post on the garden table (start writing it, or rather) go out and buy the bread, and then have breakfast outside. Or go shopping and while we’re at it, have a beer in the street. The Minis are enjoying it a lot too, and every time Mini C hears “we’re going home” he shouts: “Not home! I’m being Spanishized by leaps and bounds.
I enjoy “normal” things a lot more
Now more than ever I enjoy appetizers overlooking the sea. (Very guiri this too). I look for tables in the sun even assuming the risk that after dessert, there is nothing left of me but the stain. I enjoy much more the great wines we have, the quality of the raw materials (that variety of fish, that ham!, the tomatoes), and the friendliness of the people.
In general, Spain is full of great places to eat and very attentive and friendly staff, especially with children. (This also surprises me now when I come, and I admit that I love it). In this Spain reminds me of Portugal, a very recommendable country also to travel with children.
Arriving at a restaurant with a Mini sleeping in the trolley (and the other sleeping on the pedal, which penises him) and being offered to lay one of them down by placing folded tablecloths like a mattress on two chairs, makes me want to hug the waiter. I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen in Germany, but since I came to live in Germany, it has never happened to me. Rather, they give me the most secluded table in the living room, as soon as I see that I appear with two children and a double trolley. More things that I don’t like about living in Germany.
Parks with swings
I take it for granted that this depends a lot on the area and city you live in. In my case, the area I’m in when I come to Spain doesn’t have many parks with swings. (At least, if I compare it with Germany). The nearest one, about 10 minutes walk away, is not very well cared for. And those that are better preserved, are half an hour away for a walk. Also, despite the heat that is usually here, there are hardly any shadows. So we return to the issue of timetables and see how related they are to the weather.
Going to the park at 3 p.m., as I do in Germany, is crazy. So the alternative is to go on 7. And do you know what that means? That my effort to put the Minis to bed at 8 is an impossible mission.
The changes of air feel good
I believe that feeling like a foreigner in my own country is part of the process of living in Germany. Going back to Spain with the children is chaos for everyone. A chaos that suits us very well to dust off some German customs that we are adopting as our own. (Like the lack of spontaneity when it comes to making a plan from one moment to the next). Fill ourselves with vitamin D and realize how lucky we are that we can enjoy both sites. If you like Germany or want to come and live here, here I leave you several German curiosities that you should know.
One thing that has become clear to me after a few days in Spain, heat affects children. (Changes in climate, in general). It puts them like a motorcycle, let’s go. If you add to that the fact that you change their environment, their schedules, their meals and the language, it’s no wonder that instead of Minis, it seems that you have two mini beings constantly changing their mood around you. The same thing they play, they fight; they cry, they laugh; or they come to give you a kiss, they change their opinion and you get a cake. (This is what we have to talk about one day).
Although sometimes you doubt the brilliance of your idea. That of having ventured to temporarily change country, climate, schedules, food and home. And on top of that, I called it a vacation. I’m sure you’ll finally be happy.
And you, have you totally adapted to living in Germany? Have you ever felt like a foreigner in your own country?