Yes, it's that time again. Laura has discovered (with good or embarrassing methods) new things about her host country.
1.) In California, liquor is not sold after 2 a.m. In Spain, the cut-off time is 10 p.m. Which I find ironic and funny as the nightlife here ends at 6-7 a.m. and the nightlife in California ends promptly at 2 a.m. Hah.
2.) There is an extremely low, often nonexistent tax on groceries and retail items. However, if you work in Spain, your paychecks are heavily taxed. The good news: the system is socialized. Primary and Secondary School is free as well as University. Also, Healthcare is socialized and Spain seems to be doing just fine. In fact, this country is extremely healthy and often relies on the Farmacías for at-home remedies, thus saving the system thousands each month. Also, Eastern Mediterranean areas of Spain are amongst the healthiest places in the world to live, a fact endorsed by the World Health Organization. :]
3.) Spaniards sleep, on average, an hour less per night than other European countries. Also, contrary to popular belief, they don't take siestas to sleep in the middle of the day. They go home to have lunch with their families and to spend time with their loved ones in general. We've been told through a friend that a Spanish man once said the perfect siesta is sitting in your most comfortable chair with your keys in your hand on the arm of the chair. Once you get just relaxed enough to drop your keys and floor to jolt you back awake--that is the perfect siesta.
4.) Mothers don't call their children a Spanish version of, "Sweetheart," or, "Honey." The most common term of endearment is, "Mi Vida." Yes--"My Life." And they will use it casually. For example, if they are picking of their child from a friend's house and the children are off playing, they will say, "Donde está mi vida?" I think it's so beautiful.
5.) Dos Besos (two kisses) really is NO joke. They will plant one on you if you're having a good day, a bad day, a Wednesday, if they haven't seen you in 48 hours. Yeah. Example: I had been in Nerja for 3 days. When we got back, Alex and I were playing cards in the upstairs lounge one evening. Fernando saw us and said, "Hola, Laura," and proceeded to lean around me. There was a sock left over from someone's laundry on the chair next to me so I figured he was reaching for that. OH NO! He was going for dos besos and when I said, "Espera, que pasa?" He laughed and said (in Spanish) that he was trying to kiss me. I felt like a MORON. But I kissed him and we all had a great laugh. I literally kiss upwards of ten cheeks a day here.