Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On How I'm a Super Awkward American

*This was originally written in my notebook during my Spanish Art class.

Art class, again. Since all we do is talk about my professor's life, I thought I'd write out a blog post. Mostly so that I don't fall asleep. Anyone who knows me well knows I love class and learning. Sleep has never been a problem. But here, I have to make to do lists and packing lists and write out Bravas frisbee plays to keep myself awake. I'm not the only one. Eyes are drooping everywhere. I understand our professor is a legend, but if I have to hear him talk about his love life one more time, I might leave. The words "waste of time" come to mind. This is truly a case of my classes getting in the way of my education. Now that I'm done complaining I thought I'd write about how I'm an awkward American.
Whenever an American meets someone, the custom is a handshake. My dad has taught me all the proper techniques of a good, firm handshake. I'm a pro. Handshakes aren't a thing here, at least not with the young frisbee crowd. The classic greeting is two kisses on the cheeks. Now, I'm not a touchy feely person, especially with people I don't know, so this "kisses" thing took a little while to get the hang of. Some of my first meetings were pretty awkward. I would be introduced to someone, they would go in to kiss my cheeks and I would stick my hand out for a shake. I had no idea I hand this instinct! The confused greeter would jump back a little, I would realize what I had done, apologize and blame it on being American, and the kisses would commence.
Many people in my program have commented on the fact that people here are stand offish. Before you know them, kind of. But you gotta be tough here. After those kisses, it all changes. Everyone is nice and super touchy feely on my frisbee team. We don't high-five, we hand squeeze. Slaps on the butt are common. A greeting can come with kisses, arm squeezes, or some sort of physical contact. Congratulations might be accompanied by an encouraging hand on the back. I've taken it all in stride, but like I said, I'm not a touchy feely person. It's been great meeting lots of new people. Having the Knox Program as a support system is great most of the time, but we all agree that it gets a bit much at times. We have all our classes together, have (pointless) workshops together, and hang out outside of class. We all agree that, at the end of the day, we enjoy our alone time. Coming from the totally independent experience of St. Andrews, this gets annoying at times. Frisbee has been the perfect way to be on my own and meet people who actually live in Barcelona. It has also helped me understand all of those little customs that you would never recognize until thrown into the situation, such as something as simple as a greeting.

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