April 9, 2020
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– Moving to and visiting a new country is never a smooth process. There are always things
that really surprise you and shock you about that culture. So today, we’re gonna
go through the 10 things that shocked and surprised me when I moved to Spain eight
years ago from New Zealand. – And as a Spaniard, what do I have to say
about each of those things? (exciting guitar music) – Hey Spain lovers, I’m James Blick. – And I’m Yolanda Martin. – And welcome to “Spain Revealed.” This channel’s all about helping you explore Spain like a local, and there’s nothing that helps you feel more local in a place than understanding all those kinda unwritten
rules and cultural quirks. So, to give you a little
sense of our story, we met in France a million years ago. Not that long ago. (Yolanda laughs) And so, and we lived in New
Zealand for a while together, and then we came back to
Spain eight years ago. Obviously, Yoly, you’re from Madrid. – I am, yes. – And I’m from New Zealand. And in preparation for this video, I went through and thought
about all those things that shocked, surprised,
even frustrated me in the first six months,
a year of living in Spain, and decided to list them out here as those 10 cultural shocks that I experienced when
I moved to this country. – And as someone who was born here, I am going to be giving you my perspective on those differences. – And so, just a little warning here, there are gonna be some generalizations. We made a video about
Spanish cultural stereotypes a couple of months ago and we
got a lot of great feedback, but we also got some
feedback from people saying, Well, you’re in Madrid,
it’s different in Grenada. It’s different in the Canary Islands, or it’s different in Barcelona. And, of course, there are gonna be inherently some generalizations, from the fact that I’m from
New Zealand, we’re in Madrid. – I’m a (speaking in foreign language) – You’re from, exactly. But I think there’s some
learning here for everyone if you’re coming to any
part of this country. So, I hope it’s helpful and
let’s kick off with number one. – Great. – Okay, the first cultural shock that I remember experiencing
when I moved to Spain was that Spaniards love to
get up close and personal. There’s not the same sense
of personal space bubble that there is in New Zealand. I suspect, as well, in the United States. I’ve seen that from
Devoured tourist clients who come on tours, on tapas tours. We always warn them that in the bars, it’ll be very tight and packed in. So when I first moved here, I remember that we’d be
walking around in the street, and people would bump into
me and I would apologize because I wasn’t used to
that sort of close contact. Or, I’d be waiting in line for the bus, and I’d feel the person behind me. I’d feel the guy behind me,
feel his his physical presence and I’d think he was picking my pocket. He wasn’t, he just wasn’t as
aware of the fact that we– – Of the big bubble. – Of the big bubble, exactly,
the big bubble that I needed. So, I mean, why is that, Yoly? – Well, I mean, it’s hard to tell why we have this really
kind of high tolerance to like being close to each other. I don’t know, is it Mediterranean culture? Is it street culture?
– Maybe. – Being used to just being
crammed in, like, small spaces. I have no idea. Also, a big city, like
Madrid, I guess, you know. Maybe if you go to like a
small village in Burgos, people are not so used
to getting so very close, but, yeah, certainly Madrid. – Totally. If you’re living in a
small village in Burgos– – [Both] Let us know! – Exactly. So, the other thing I
wanted to tie into this is that physical contact is
read a little differently in this country than, say,
in New Zealand, for me. So, I remember, talking to
Yoly’s mother, for example, and often, she’ll be
telling you something, she’ll grab your arm and she’s talking– – (laughs) That’s all my mother. – Yeah, grab your arm or Yoly’s arms. They’ll grab you as they’re talking. So, there’s an immediacy
around the physical contact that you wouldn’t, say,
do again, in New Zealand. Being my experience, or I’d
love to hear your experience if you’re in in a different
country that’s not Spain. And the other thing that I remember was meeting your friends, female friends. When we first met, and we visited Spain and they would touch you,
they would touch my leg, just in conversation
like hey, bah bah bah. They’d be talking to you
and they’d touch your leg. And as a New Zealander,
or as an Anglo-Saxon, I would kind of read that
like what is that signal? – (laughs) What is that
all about, Yoly’s friends? – Exactly, but it doesn’t mean, I mean, you might touch
a male friend of mine. It’s doesn’t, like–
– It doesn’t mean anything. No no no no.
– So, tell me about that. – Just, being close
and like it’s something that you’re kind of
relating to that person not only by talking, but
also by touching them. – Exactly.
– It feels close and nice. – Okay, so Spaniards are
comfortable holding your gaze and connecting your eyes. So, I remember when we first moved here and walking down the street and you’d be walking along
and you’d catch someone’s eyes and as you crossed, they
would lock eyes with you and hold your gaze and look
at you for what, for me, was too long.
(Yoly laughs) So, in my culture or my upbringing, when you connect eyes
with someone on the metro on the street, if your eyes lock, then you quickly look away
because it’s too intimate to stare at each other, but here it’s different, right? – Yeah, totally. And I don’t know, like, I
remember even yesterday, I was out walking down
the metro, and yeah. You just kind of connect with someone and you have those little
moments of like personal contact that I actually enjoy. It kind of relates back to
what we just talked about, and how yeah, it’s a moment
of like relating to each other and even if you’re totally unknown, it’s like an enjoyable thing. It’s like, oh, you are
there, you’re around me. We’re all here in this same sort of boat – I understand it. I don’t think I’m still there yet on the enjoyment factor of that. I think it’s really interesting
and I am more comfortable holding the gaze a little longer, but I don’t initiate it in the same way. So that’s just something small, but I found it really impactful
when I first moved here, the locked gaze of the Spaniards. – (laughs) Of the Spaniards. – Okay, cultural shock number three, Spaniards always wear slippers at home. In New Zealand, we go
barefoot at home, often. Actually, to be honest, in New Zealand, often people go barefoot outside. It’s very kind of beach culture. It’s very outdoorsy culture, but when we’re at home,
there’s often carpet, but even if there’s not carpet, we will often go barefoot
at home, but here in Spain- – At your parents’ place, yeah. – At my parents’ place, when we’re there, you go barefoot. Now, when we moved here to
Spain these eight years ago, we stayed for the first six
weeks at your parents house. – Yes. – [James] Six weeks at
Yoly’s parents house. It was a very–
– Intense. – A very intense cultural immersion, but one of the things I remember is that I came out on day
two barefoot, it was winter, but a lot of central heating
here and it was so hot. I was just like so hot all the time, even though, it was like
freezing cold outside and I was barefoot, because I was so hot and your parents thought it was hilarious that I was barefoot!
(Yoly laughs) I was gonna catch my death or
get some sort of infection. I mean, your mother
cleans the house a lot, so spic and span, but I was
forced to wear slippers, even though I was so hot I
couldn’t get the slippers, I didn’t wanna wear the
slippers, I’m sweating away. So, I mean, what is that? I don’t know. – Well, yeah, it’s like that idea of like oh, you’re gonna catch a cold, or like oh, there’s a draft,
so beware of the drafts, because they can kill you. Also, yeah, my mom will say oh, heck, the floor is not clean! Are you kidding me? Like, you could lick that floor, you know? – I haven’t licked that floor,
but I’m sure your could. It is very, very clean. – You will survive, yeah. – Exactly, but this is
one of the cultural shocks that I have come around to, so here I have my slippers.
– And mine, of course. – We got our slippers out.
– Yes. – So, I have summer slippers,
I have winter slippers. I think I have about four
pairs depending on my mood. So, I’ve gone deep on the slipper thing. – Very true, yeah, very into them. – Walking around barefoot
now feels weird to me. I’m all in on the slippers. Okay, cultural shock number four, Spaniards love and thrive on noise! I ‘member moving here,
particularly in the tapas bars, where, obviously, I spend a lot of time just the level of noise was insane. You would go in and it’d be
like four people in a bar and it sounded like 400.
(Yoly laughs) And the louder someone talks, then other people talk louder,
try and fight over them. Now I love it. I find it exhilarating. But I remember, particularly
giving Tapas Tours with Devoured Tours and you
would notice the guests, there’d be the crash and bang of plates and it was almost like the
guests weren’t used to these sharp, sudden sounds in the bars and it’s almost like
they’re dodging bullets. (Yoly laughs) You know, as if it was like,
what was that, oh my god? – (laughs) Wartime. – Exactly, but I’ve
really got it it down now, so I’m used to it. So, the noise thing, like what is it? High-tolerance? – Yeah, again, I think we’re very used to that
really loud level of noise and we’re very comfortable
and we thrive in it, you know? It’s like the louder the
person next to you is speaking, the louder you get, and it’s
just like a competition. But I remember when we,
yeah, first arrived, and you learned how to
strategically position your voice, so that shh, it would just
cut through and actually, the waitress would hear you. Otherwise, your order gets lost. – It’s true. When we first moved here, nobody would hear me in the
bars when I was ordering, because I was ordering in this very low, well, with a quiet voice. (both speaking in foreign language) And so, Yoly, you have
a great voice for that. It just slices through the air
and the waiter will hear it, because often, you will notice, you will order and the waiter
might be right in front of you but he won’t here it,
because he’s waiting for, or she’s waiting for almost
like a higher level of noise– – Shriek, yeah. – to cut through and to connect with them. So, you might find you’re ordering and the waiter actually
hasn’t necessarily heard you. So, you actually speak quite loudly, which I know is a little intimidating when you’re just learning the language, but I guess you could signal
with your hand or something. – Yeah, catch their eye. – Exactly, even the noise level. We were on the bus yesterday
going to Yoly’s parents’ house for lunch and the guy next to
us was listening to his phone. It was like he’s watching something– – [Both] A YouTube video. – And he had it all up really loud and it sounded like he was watching planes taking off and landing.
(Yoly laughs) It was this high-pitched
screech in this video and everybody’s kind of,
like yeah, okay, whatever. – He’s doing that, yeah. – People don’t notice it as much. So, be ready for a lot of noise. As I say, now I love
it, but the beginning, it was a bit like, woo hoo! So, cultural shock number five, the amount of kids you see in bars! Now, if you were taking your
kids to the bars in New Zealand they’d probably call Child Services. If you’re doing it at the
same level that we do it here. And so, you will go into a bar. I remember being in a tapas
bar Casa Doni one night and there was a woman opposite us. This was 11 p.m. night
and she was breastfeeding her newborn baby and
there was so much noise. – One-week-old, yeah. – Yeah, it was like a week old. I think we asked her and the
baby was like two-weeks-old. You just wouldn’t see that in New Zealand and, so you’ll often see also, you’ll be in this really busy bar and then suddenly the door
will open and a family come in and they’ll have a stroller
and it’s 11 p.m. at night and in the stroller,
there’s a child asleep. – Yup. – And so, obviously, this
is where the tolerance for noise comes from. – Yeah, exactly.
– It starts very early, but why should we expect to
see so many kids in bars here? Where does that come from? – Well, I guess they are considered like family places, bars almost. Well, tapas bars, of course. So, it’s perfectly fine to have
your child there, you know? It’s a family places, like your lounge. It’s like, instead of
hanging out with your friends in your living room, you are in a bar. – So, the word bar is actually
a bit of a red herring, but in the end of bar, tapas bars are a little bit
more like a cafe in New Zealand in a way, it serves both purposes. – Yeah, exactly. – So much you have to
forget that term bar. – Bar.
– Actually, a lot of bars are called cafeterias and so
that’s kind of what they are. They’re there for
breakfast, lunch, and dinner and they’re for everybody. I remember being in Caliph
in the south of Spain. We were there, Yoly and I. (both speaking foreign language) Beautiful place to visit
for summer and we were there with our two friends, the
Danny’s from New York. Hey, guys!
– Hey! – And so, they were
visiting and we were there and there was a family
having dinner at the bar in this place and their
child got really tired. He looked about five years old, the kid. And they lined up some
stools under the bar. – Benches sort of, yeah. – Yeah, benches under the
bar and the child lay out across them and fell asleep under the bar while the parents were eating above him and drinking and enjoying and
nobody thought that was weird. And so, our friends, the Danny’s,
were so shocked about this that they wanted us to
take a photo of them standing in the foreground,
but in the background was this child sleeping under the bar, ’cause they wanted to show
their friends back home. – Back home.
– Like oh my god! This cultural shock about Spain,
so I think it’s wonderful, because it normalizes this whole idea that your parents might have a drink and that’s not crazy and sinful. ‘Kay, cultural shock number six, there’s often no toilet
paper or soap in the toilets in traditional bars. They seem to have run
out several hours ago and nobody checked on them. What is this? Is this just it’s not a
priority for them, or? – Yeah, I think they just
keep forgetting about it. Never leave for a night out
without a packet of kleenex, because you will need it. And I’m always letting them know, I always go to (speaks
foreign language), of course, there’s no toilet paper. So, I go back to the bar and say, oh, you know, there’s no
toilet paper and all that. – I wonder if it’s because,
often, these places are run by men, traditionally, these kind of traditional places, but sometimes they’re family-run places, so there’s husband and wife and– – It’s just not in their heads. – It’s just not in their heads. Okay, number seven, It can be really hard
to pay with large bills in this country when
you’re paying with cash. cashiers here guard
their change ferociously. So, I remember being,
well, we were together. We were in a supermarket and we’d just gone through and we’d paid and there was an American guy behind us and he said to his friend, he
was like, it was a young guy, it’s like, “Oh, dude, you
know, having a 50 euro note,” and I’m doing a really
bad American accent. “Having a 50 Euro note,”
he said, “in this country “is like being poor.” Because he couldn’t use it anywhere. And it’s true. We were taking to a friend last night, we went for dinner and he went
somewhere and he had to pay, it was like, seven euros and 77 cents and he wanted to pay with a 20 euro note and the cashier was like, “Do you have the 77 cents?” (Yoly laughs) And, I mean, what is this? Like, why can’t they get some more change? – I actually quite enjoy
it, because it becomes, like a game, for me. So, it’s always like, Oh!
(speaking foreign language) “I give you the 25.” It’s always, like that
interaction again, you know? We enjoy interacting with each other. So, something I actually
don’t enjoy is those machines that have started, you know? – Oh, where you drop the money in? – Yeah, you just drop the money in and it gives you the change. It’s a machine giving you the change. No no no no, I like– – You want the personal contact. – Yeah, I want the personal contact. – We want the personal contact. As we know, in this country, often things aren’t clear cut and simple, so even getting your change, for you, as a Spaniard, is a game. I love that! I need another eight years, I think, to really get my head around that one. – So much fun all the time! – Exactly, so much fun
in every interaction. So, just a warning, if
you come here to Spain and you’re like, or you get
euros before you come here, don’t walk around with a 500 euro note. I don’t even know if those exist anymore. And so, don’t even walk
around with a 100 euro note and even a 50 can be a little hard to use. – Can be hard. – Can be hard to use, so I
would try and stick to twenties, if you can, and more and more you can pay with credit card in places.
– Sure. – But yeah, if you’ve got a 50 euro note, it’s like being broke in this country. Okay, cultural shock number eight, in Spain, we thrive on spontaneity. Now I remember, moving here and your friends were becoming my friends and so, I would wanna
plan things to hang out, to have a social life. In New Zealand, I was more used to saying, “Hey, so let’s make a plan for lunch on–” – Within a month.
– On that date in the future. And you would be like whoa, hang on! Like, don’t be so pesado, which
means don’t be so intense. Like, it was more like we couldn’t say hey, what are you doing
(speaking foreign language) in two weeks’ time? We had to wait ’til it was
closer to that particular date to kind of ask, because
it was very intense to kind of plan two weeks out. Now, it has changes a little bit as we got a little bit older and people had families–
– Yeah, people have families. – and things like that,
but it’s still there. I was with some friends
in Seville recently and they said you almost
can’t plan anything unless it’s on the day of. People would be like whoa, hey, back off! If you’re on Monday– – What am I doing tomorrow, you crazy? – Yeah, yeah, exactly! So, obviously, there is
something going on here. I don’t know, what is this? – Well, again, maybe it’s that spontaneity that is like Mediterranean
culture, street culture. You go to the street and you
just hang out with people. Whoever is there that day. You know, maybe?
– Things happen. – Things happen, yeah, yeah. You just like let it flow. – And kind of related to this, I also remember when I
first started living here and we would wanna do something, like, just between the two of us, like not dependent on someone else. Maybe we book a holiday. And we’d like hey, we
should go to Seville! – Sure. – And we would decide, sitting around, we would make that decision, I’d be like, great, let’s book it tonight! And you’d be like whoa, hang on! Like no rush to book it yet! You member that? – Yeah, totally! Well, maybe due to
partly my procrastination kind of issue.
– Maybe, that’s unique to you. – But also, yeah. I said, whoa, let’s just
kind of, we decided today. Let’s sleep on it and maybe
next week we can book. – Yeah, I’m like, or we’d
wanna go out to dinner at a restaurant, I’d be
like, call up and reserve– – Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
– And I almost felt, yeah, I’ve taught you that. Now you call reserve.
– Yeah, I do that. – ‘Cause we’ve missed out
on some good restaurants in the past.
– I learned my lesson. – Exactly. Well, we learn from each other. Now, cultural shock number nine. Spaniards peel fruit
that, in my experience, should not be peeled. I’m not talking about bananas here. I’m talking about peeling
pears, peeling apples before eating them. I remember, in those six weeks we were staying with your
parents when we first moved here and your mother would
peel a pear and I’m like, first of all, why take the time? Second of all, the skin is yummy. And third of all–
– And healthy. – I believe the skin is healthy. So, all these fruits
that shouldn’t be peeled, so, you know, what is this? – Well, I reckon, maybe
we’re still, I mean, remember that my mom grew up in a village where there was no running water, so maybe we’re actually still
getting used to the fact that we have running water. – Interesting, like you wash the skin. – Yeah, exactly, so instead of, yeah. Because it’s like clean water
that it’s there available, but we’re used to just peeling it because it used to be the way, because there was no running water– – So, maybe the fruit was dirty. – Exactly.
– Yeah, no, maybe. I don’t know. I mean, one way that I
have shocked people here, and I have an example here. I actually eat, I don’t
peel kiwi fruit as a kiwi. I don’t know if this is
normal in New Zealand. Kiwis who are watching, New
Zealanders who are watching, can you tell me do you
peel your kiwi fruit? Because I remember, it
was actually in France, it was not in Spain,
when I ate a kiwi fruit in front of people and they freaked out and now it’s almost like a party trick that we’ll be around and
Yoly will start talking about how I eat kiwi
fruits and the whole skin. – Ole! – Mm. So good! I love the furry bit on the outside. It’s got crunch, it’s goodness. So, yeah, I go the whole opposite. I mean, I peel bananas–
– Oh, thank god! – but kiwi fruit, anything
down, all the skin. I’m not gonna switch to that
and start peeling my apples. Not yet! Okay, cultural shock number 10, and this was one that was
really surprising to me. When we first moved here, again,
staying with your parents. One of your friends got pregnant
and I remember her saying, I got pregnant, I’m pregnant now. She announced it and the first
thing she announced to us after telling us she was pregnant was was that she had done the
test and she could eat jamon. And I’m like what?
(Yoly laughs) What is this? And it turns out there’s
this toxiomoplasis– – Toxoplasmosis. – Toxoplasmosis.
– Toxoplasmosis. – Which is an illness that
is all around the world, I believe, you can get it from animals and people who have grown up on farms and in the country often have it. The symptoms are really-
– I’ve had it. – Have had it, exactly. The symptoms are really
mild, it’s like a cold, but it can be very damaging to a fetus, if you get it while you’re pregnant. And you can supposedly get this illness from eating cured meats like jamon. So, the thing is, when
you get pregnant, right? You get this test done to see if you’ve had the illness or not, because if you’ve had it,
obviously, you have the antibodies and you can’t have it again. Thus you can eat ham and
if you haven’t had it, you can’t eat ham for nine months. And this is like a big deal.
– Which is a pain, yeah. – Which is a pain, right?
– Yeah, for a Spaniard. – And this friend, she hadn’t
had toximo, what is it? – Toxoplasmosis. – She hadn’t had
toxiplosmasis, I don’t know. (Yoly laughs) She hadn’t had it, right? She hadn’t had the illness. – No, but she could
eat, so she had had it. – Oh, she had had it.
– Exactly. – And so she could eat ham, and so she, exactly, she was so pleased. And we’ve met other people, right? Who’ve done the test–
– Who couldn’t. – Who couldn’t eat it. And so, there’s this whole
test around pregnancy that, yeah, can you eat ham
or not during your pregnancy and I loved that it was the
first thing she mentioned after she told– – (laughs) It’s a big deal. – It’s a big deal, and as
you say it, it was like yes! (Yoly laughs) It was like a big deal, so
that one kind of blew my mind. Guys, what did we miss? Let us know in the comments below. What other cultural shocks
have you experienced either living here or
coming here on holiday or moving here? We’d really love to hear from you in this great community of
Spain lovers we have here. Well, what are we doing now, Yoly? – Well, we’re gonna put
on our slippers, maybe, and peel some fruit for lunch. – Exactly, slippers on.
– Perhaps, I’m hungry. – Peel from fruit for lunch
and maybe have some jamon and see if we have
toximo, how’d it go again? – Toxoplasmosis. – Toxoplasmosis. I finally got it. (both speak in foreign language) – We’ll see you in the next video, guys!

Jean Kelley