Without a doubt the biggest difference between the US and Spain is the daily schedule or routine. I was hesitant at first, but now I really enjoy it and think it allows me to be a lot more productive. So here’s a general breakdown of a normal day in Spain
9:00 School starts, stores start to open, the day begins. This is all after a nice, morning cup of cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and a small breakfast. Breakfast could be a bowl of cereal; toast with jelly; or a ham sandwich. It’s pretty much acceptable to eat ham anytime of the day. And don’t even think of eating yogurt for breakfast, they consider it a dessert here.
2:30-5:00 Lunch and sobremesa. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Spain. All of the shops close during this time and nothing is open. Run out of milk and need it for lunch? You better be friends with your neighbors because all of the grocery stores will be closed. Lunch can be anytime between 2 and 2:30, a big meal with meat, chicken, or fish with vegetables and bread. Break the bread up into pieces and use it like a sponge to soak up all the juices from the plate. After lunch is family time. Sobremesa is a spanish word that doesn’t have an exact english translation, but it’s the time after a meal where everyone just talks and catches up. Spaniards love to talk. After sobremesa, it’s time to do things around the house, spend time with family, or take a nap (siesta).
Around 5:00 or 5:30 the stores and businesses open again and then close around 8:00 or 8:30. This is when the majority of people do their shopping and run errands around town.
9:00-10:30 Dinnertime. Dinner is a small meal, maybe a sandwich; a salad; or a small plate of meat with veggies. Again this is family time, where families eat all together. The importance of family time in Spanish culture is evident by their daily schedule and in everything they do. It’s a normal day when I receive about 3 phone calls and 5 messages from mama Ana, mostly just checking up to to tell me about the tv show that I missed.
11:30-12:00 Sleep and repeat.
It did take me about two weeks to really adjust myself to the new routine, both the time schedule and the eating schedule. But I really love it now and enjoy the break in the middle of the day to relax. I feel very productive as I get a lot done at school in the mornings and then in the afternoons with my private english classes. It’s been a very exciting 1.5 months in this wonderful country.