SPAIN: SIESTA – A NEW DIMENSION OF REST

Although it was already my fifth month in Granada, I still couldn’t switch myself to Spanish “mañana” and practising siesta. What is it about? Perhaps I was a neurotic elderly lady? Or Poles are in a habit of running instead of walking? I wonder if you got the similar impressions after visiting Spain even for a short time.

26. siesta 3

I don’t know about other places but in Warsaw people always rush somewhere. They are always in a hurry. You can see constant fatigue and irritation on their faces. In Granada in Andalusia this type of behaviour is rather a symptom of some rare disease. Everybody here is so easy-going and collected to the limit. You don’t even imagine how surprised people were when while walking (or rather running in their opinion) to school I kept saying “perdona” (excuse me) all the time. Here everybody keeps walking in a steady pace and an issue of being late is unimportant. It has a different notion to everyone. Due to the fact that Spain is a time  polychromatic country, coming 40 minutes late isn’t an example of bad manners. Being late to lectures doesn’t surprise anybody as well. A teacher won’t even look at a student who came 10 minutes late.

In Granada there are relaxed even bus drivers . They can simultaneously read a newspaper and drive.
In Granada there are relaxed even bus drivers . They can simultaneously read a newspaper and drive.

A similar attitude could be noticed in the whole school, for example, in the Office for Foreign Exchange. The forms I was supposed to fill in a pencil were scribbled all over with a pen by a boy from the Office. Moreover, he drew some dots and arrows as an answer on my friend’s form. So what that it’s an official document. I only waited for a flower or a sun to be drawn by him. The answers were very short as well. Pablo (the Office worker) in an answer when I could pick up the document called Learning Agreement after he would fax it said, of course, mañana. It’s a standard routine. Who would get so stresses about just one paper? In other words, a happy person’s saying is: if you have to do something today, you’d better do it tomorrow.

The event of the foam in the middle of the street? Why not? But later we clean up
The event of the foam in the middle of the street? Why not? But later we clean up.

I may be exaggerating, but a person who is used to a fast pace of life and to the fact that everything has to be arranged quickly and smoothly, may find it hard to stay calm. This person may not like siesta as well, which usually takes place between 2pm – 4pm or 3pm – 6pm. Everything in a town, besides cafes and pubs (but not all), is closed because the Spanish take a rest at that time (as if they did something to get tired with). In practice, it means the lack of possibility of arranging anything. Sometimes it could really get on my nerves (similarly to other Erasmus students besides Italians of course). Especially when you had to copy or print something for your classes.

One day after a sleepless night I managed to get myself together and go to classes of Comercio Exterior (foreign trade) and what turned out? The classes had been cancelled which you could learn about after you came to school. Unfortunately nobody here is in the habit of informing students about it earlier. I also failed to get some information whether the class would be conducted the next week. Such is living la dolce vita.

 In Granada there is no need to be in hurry or nervous. After a hard day go to rest in the park.
In Granada there is no need to be in hurry or nervous. After a hard day go to rest in the park.

I was sleepy and angry so I decided to go to a praying room, as we called a reading room. At school it was the only room with tables where one could study in silence and write a paper work for classes in Comunicacion Commercial (communication in business). In general I spent 4 hours there! Unfortunately it took me so much time to read a text, underline vocabulary, translate it, read again and finally write a comment. I was totally exhausted so I dreamt only of printing it all and going to dinner. But I forgot of siesta. Fotocopiadora (photocopying point) is closed until 4pm and my class starts at 3:30pm. So I went to a computer room. Unlucky for me computer rooms, like libraries, aren’t equipped in printers. In practice it means that if you want to print something, you have to do it before 2pm. Otherwise you are in the doghouse. Totally resigned I went down to town. I guess I was in total luck as it turned out that one copying point was starting siesta at 3pm so I got what I wanted.


At that time it was hard for me to understand how Spanish students could function like that. And what do you think about siesta? Have you ever happened not to arrange anything because of it? Tell about it in the comments.

Renata
Jestem tu

Renata

graduate student at the Warsaw University & the University of Southern Denmark, courageous princess with allergy, an only child struggling with loneliness and insecurities since her childhood, a dreamer, an incurable optimist, a lonely traveller and an organiser of group expeditions to 4 continents who has been in love with flying since she was 3 years old, was living in Spain & Denmark, currently lives in London
Renata
Jestem tu

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