Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Few Words About Time, Food, and Thanks

After my last post, Beaches and Besos, where I referenced that everything before noon is considered “early,” I’ve had a lot of inquiries into my daily schedule, and the average Spanish schedule, here in Alicante.  I’m not too well informed about the typical “workday” here in Spain as I am not a member of the workforce here, but everyone is usually out of the house by 9.  I am, however, altogether too well informed about the times of the meals here and this is generally what divides up the day for me and everyone else.
Breakfast is usually very small.  Tea or coffee, a piece of toast with olive oil or butter, and maybe a piece of fruit or yogurt.  For me, I have a piece of toast and a banana and spend the morning running, sunbathing, and reading (it is a vacation, you know).  
Everyone leaves their jobs at around 2ish and heads either home or out to a cafe for lunch.  Lunch is the main meal of the day here and the “lunch hour” is typically 2-3 hours long.  Lunch choices vary widely depending on the type of restaurant and the kind of food served.  For example, at a cafe at the University today, I had selections from the Menu del dia.   For me, it was a big plate of peas cooked with ham, hardboiled eggs, onions, and olive oil (say what you will, it was delicious), with croquetas (something similar to mozzarella sticks), french fries, Russian salad (similar to potato salad), and a piece of bread.  And of course, Fanta Limon, my new favorite beverage.  The entire thing cost 5 euro (about $7.00).  Borja got spaghetti, a green salad, a hamburger, fries, bread, and a Coke for the same price.  Some very nice new English-speaking friends I made last week gathered some more super nice English-speaking friends and we had a whole big English lunch together.  This was pretty exciting for me since I generally don’t talk/understand much when I’m in large groups of people and everyone in this group was making a strong effort to speak my lingo as much as possible.  Sooo friendly!
The “lunch hour” may or may not include a brief siesta time.  This usually doesn’t happen during the week (at least for everyone who is not me), but rather more on the weekends.  For some reason, this part of the daily routine is the part my body has most embraced.  I’m generally drowsy and bleary-eyed around 5pm and my unlimited siestas have been causing problems with my sleep schedule.  I’m trying to break this habit by skipping least until the weekend...which starts tomorrow.  
Working Spaniards may stay home for the rest of the evening, or go back to work until 6 or 7, depending on their job.  This week, I’ve spent my afternoons either at the University with Borja or putzing around the area surrounding the high rise that I’m living in.  Once I get a better handle on the public transportation (bus and tram stops right outside my building), I’m hoping to spend the afternoons adventuring, photographing, writing, blogging, etc., from different neighborhoods in the city.  The sun doesn’t go down until close to 9 so this stretch of time will be perfect for explorations.
Somewhere between 9 and 10 we have dinner.  This is a much smaller meal than lunch and is usually a salad or another side dish and a small serving of a protein.  We had salmon one night, steak, pork, and chicken on others.  
Bedtime is 12 to 1am on weeknights.  Last weekend we “relaxed” and didn’t go out with friends too much so I wasn’t up past 2.  This weekend, however, is full of different opportunities to truly experience the Spanish habit of coming home around 5 or 6am.  I’m definitely going to need my siesta then.
As I adjust to my new schedule, new food, new friends, new language (this list could seriously just keep going), I’m constantly reminded of what a lucky girl I really am.  After a week in Alicante I’m looking forward to the opportunities, experiences, and sunshine ahead of me.  While I face forward, I’m always thinking of all of you who are behind me, writing, calling, skyping, facebooking, emailing, commenting, supporting, loving, and in general, just sending good vibes my way.  I appreciate it more than I’ll ever be able to say.  
Thanks, as usual, for everything,
Check out the ‘Photos’ page for a few quick shots of the University of Alicante and the neighborhood around my building!


  1. I love the pictures- especially the orange blossom!

  2. I too fell in love with fanta limon....I think it needs to make it's way to the states asap!

  3. Hi there Kiddo!
    I'm surprised you could move at all after eating the lunch you described! The photographs are beautiful.
    Love Dad

  4. I am so happy that you got to the Ayuntamiento! It's a cool place. (And since you are a tourist...well, Borja speaks the truth!) Also, the street signs are wonderful everywhere - but look at the old city street signs. All that gorgeous ceramica - Love it! xo Mom