Monday, November 4, 2013

Work Hard, Play Hard

When I announced I was moving Spain, some gave me that look and said, “You are going to have so much fun! Relaxing on the beach, meeting men....” There's a widespread notion that Spaniards lay about, acting super-relaxed about everything and hardly working.


Sure, there are some who don't work hard. But a lot of people I've met often work seven days per week. Villacarrillo is an agricultural town with many olive oil factories, one of them being Cooperative del Pilar, the biggest olive oil producer in the world. It's quite common to meet people who have one job in town and also work in the fields / factories. There are others who honestly can't work because of the crisis, so they're taking classes, hoping to find a job. Many Villacarrillians I've met have a boyfriend / girlfriend in another village or city, because that's where the work is. They commute every weekend they can to visit them, sometimes driving 3 to 4 hours each way.

Perhaps another reason for the “Spanish people are lazy” notion, is because of the “siesta”, that midday break where all the stores shut down and everyone supposedly sleeps. Not everyone does the siesta; some consider it a waste of time. It does make sense in Andalucía during the summer; I certainly did it when I first arrived. Now that my body has adjusted to the time difference, and the days are cooler, I continue working instead of napping.

Although I do use what I call a “disco nap” (a term borrowed from the days of Studio 54) before a big night of partying, as I like to go home at 5 a.m., and sometimes later! Sure, in a pueblo we don't have the crazy nightlife of Madrid or Barcelona, but having made good friends makes all the difference. I'm a stumble away from cozy bars, and it's cheap!

One of the first "Spanish" things I did was visit the Úbeda feria:

Although it was small, the medieval feria in Villanueva was tonnes of fun. Lots to look at and eat!

One of the coolest parties I'd ever been to happened here in Villacarrillo. It was a friend's birthday, and she's in her twenties, so we had a 20s – themed party called “Charleston”!

Before the party started, I had to wait for my friends in the paseo (park where people hang out). I learned firsthand the meaning of the word “humiliation”. If you look in Miriam-Webster, you'll see a picture of me in my 20s costume – blond wig, 20s dress, pearls, and red gloves – sitting alone for ages on a park bench, wondering where the f*** my friends are, while locals slowly walk by, staring and giggling at the Asian girl in a Charleston bob wig. One even called out “China Rubia”! (“Blonde Chinese girl!”) I. was. mortified.

BUT the fun I had at the party made up for it.

 When I left Vancouver, I knew one of the things I'd miss was the mountains. Here in Villacarrillo we have La Sierra de Cazorla. With a group, I headed out on a 5-hour hike. It was a great way to put work behind us and soak in the natural beauty. 

So put away that notion that all we're doing is sleeping, drinking, and partying. ....Okay fine, we're doing the latter, but only after punching in the timecard!

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