Only one thing matters in Spain more than soccer and food, family.
Family it seems is the driving force behind the Spanish culture. In Spain the family system is equal to life itself. Every holiday, meal and festival are centered around the family. Coming to this country I wanted to share in the family lifestyle to truly experience the culture. I couldn’t have been more satisfied. I have been truly accepted into a family and have experienced some of the most incredible moments possible with them.
The Spanish mom: the Spanish mom is the type of mom that is over zealous but not overbearing. You have to be strong enough to handle their bantering yet sensitive enough to understand them. If you don’t want something don’t be afraid to say no… it is expected of you.
Celebration: The Spanish take their celebrations rather seriously… whether it is celebrating a weekend or something more serious, they always have a way of doing too much. Christmas in Spain was one of the best moments for me. My brother came to visit and of course my host family wanted to make sure he understood something about Spain before leaving… this of course meant he had to eat about five kilos of shrimp and 2 kilos of ham—all in good celebration merit of course. From there he got to see some crazy Spaniards sing and dance their way to the new year, and just to top it off ate the twelve grapes. Talk about an initiation. He was clearly overwhelmed but it was by far the best time I have had.
Host siblings? The only conflicting difference I have found here in Spain is the odd level of dependence from the children. It is not uncommon for the children of Spanish families to be somewhat dependent on their parents until 30 (or maybe even later). The important thing is to not judge them and think they are immature or weak… that is simply not the case. In Spain the family is everything in terms of support system and with the youth going after education and having such a hard time finding suitable work (I’m sure every college student can relate) it is nice to think that you could have a family to care for you when you need the help.
I must say I would never change my host family for any reason… I love waking up to the sounds of their voices the smell of coffee and the colors of the flowers in the window. This is truly paradise.