I knew I was going to love this city the moment I walked off the plane and read the motto of Seville: “We love people.” The culture is highly social, emphasizing strong relationships and enjoying life with the people you love.
My host mom frequently says, “¡Somos callejeras!” which means we are people who love to be out and about. And it’s not just us. Everybody in Seville seems to be a “callejero.”
The streets are lively, yet relaxed. Cafes and bars are flooded with people grabbing drinks and catching up with friends from morning to night.
This was a very different – but welcomed – change of pace. Without the demand to spend every moment working, we have time to spend a couple of hours a day in a cafe drinking coffee and eating pastries, or sitting by the river to drink a mojito and enjoy each other’s company.
However, there is one very important time that a sevillano must stay in: lunch.
Everyday, I block an hour and a half out of my schedule to sit down and eat lunch with my madre española, my Spanish mom. If I don’t come home for a meal, I have to remember to tell her so she doesn’t wait around for me.
Lunch is a time to catch up with family. We frequently chat about “los novios,” the boyfriends (or the lack thereof). Eating is an activity, just like going to class or sports practice. We eat at 1:30 p.m. every day and plan our other commitments around it. This proved to be quite the adjustment, since my usual eating schedule at GW used to be grabbing a chopped salad on the way to class.
It took longest to adjust to the lifestyle in Andalucía, where receiving your check doesn’t happen unless you ask for it and coffee-to-go isn’t exactly a thing. At first, these customs seemed inefficient to me. But once I fully immersed myself in the culture, I realized they completely made sense here: It leaves more time after a meal to chat over coffee, as opposed to running to work with it.
We’re told all the time to appreciate the little things in life, but the people of Seville have truly taught me how. They prioritize the social aspects of life that are overlooked in the rush of a big city.
While I am excited to return to the hustle and bustle of New York, take up my brisk walk again and order a large iced coffee to go, these last few weeks will be happily spent soaking up the strong Andalucían sun, drinking espresso and appreciating friends without a worry, or as they say in Spain, “no pasa nada.”