Orienting Life to Granada's Schedule

Nina Trach
January 31, 2019

Buenas from Granada!


With the challenge of matching 120 new names to faces and finding the confidence to start actually using Spanish in everyday life, orientation week has definitely been an adventure. Besides orienting ourselves with each other, with our host families, and with our new city, one of the biggest adjustments has been orienting ourselves to Spain’s unique daily schedule.


The beautiful thing about life here is that it’s almost as if every day in Granada is equal to two. The first consists of everything that happens before lunch; breakfast, class, and usually some kind of second breakfast or coffee before returning again to class. That second breakfast of tostada con tomate or a simple café have been delicious life-savers for us American students, since the usual 2:30 lunch time in Spain is simply not what most of us are used to.


While it has been a bit of an adjustment to eat a later lunch, I can say with 100% honesty that it is always worth it. Going back to my homestay to join my host family and roommate for lunch, the largest meal of the day, is something that I already find myself looking forward to each morning. Each day I try to guess what tasty dish my host mom will cook and the conversations that we’ll have while gathered around the table enjoying it.


This is the part of the day when siesta comes into the picture. I was pretty curious to see how true this magical concept of a midday nap could possibly be in the 21st century. I’m happy to report that it does indeed play a part in life as a Granadina/o, but not in the way I expected it to.  There is no simultaneous stop to everything while the whole city shuts down at 2:30 to sleep. Instead it’s a time to simply relax, slow down, and take a few breaths. Some stores close, while some do not. Some leave school, others remain at work. Some do actually take a nap, many just relax around the lunch table. The general culture, though, is that everyone gets to take a moment to recharge in the middle of the day—a custom I am happy to participate in. As someone who is constantly running around and cramming as much into my day as possible, siesta time has been a welcome addition to my schedule.


After siesta, it feels like a whole new day. The people of this energetic city all seem to live by the idea that there is life in the streets. At almost any point from the afternoon until long past midnight you can find people seated at one of the many plazas and patios that give the city constant life. They enjoy warm churros, yet another cup of café, free tapas, and full meals all with the company of friends. Stores are open later and yes indeed dinner is later too. It seems that no matter what time it is after lunch, there is always something to do or somewhere to pass the time.


In the time between lunch and my 10 p.m. dinners I have tried to get into the habit of exploring a new part, or at least a new street, of Granada each day. In such a walkable city, this “second day” gives me time to see new things and find new details everywhere I look before meeting up with friends for another delicious opportunity to eat and socialize! Though it has certainly been different, I am learning to love and make the most out of my new Spanish schedule. With the conclusion of orientation this week, I’m looking forward to adding my classes into the mix!

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Nina Trach

<p>Hi, I'm Nina! A proud Jersey girl and sophomore at Penn State, I have a passion for all things food, music, culture and crafting. Join me as I test my Spanish skills while living out my Andalusian adventure this semester!</p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
South Brunswick, NJ
Public Relations
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