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What’s in a Name?

I am almost 100 percent certain that the first words out of my professors’ mouths was that we call them by their first names. Instead of Senora, my grammar professor has become Natalia, my culture professor has become Cristina, and my conversation professor has become Marta.

Having grown up in the United States, I have been raised to believe that such a thing was basically a taboo. That’s why it’s taken me almost two weeks of classes (three times a day for four days straight) to finally get it right.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: it’s not that big of a deal. If you were only looking at the surface, I would agree; if you look a little deeper, I think it helps to highlight a major difference between life in the United States compared to life in Barcelona. That difference: Barcelona is more relaxed and laid back whereas the United States is more rushed and formal.

Streets of El Born

In the short time that I have been here in Barcelona, I have seen this difference bleed into different aspects of life here. When we go to restaurants here, for example, we have to ask the wait staff for the check rather than it being brought to us. Another example: when Spaniards need to get from one place to another, they don’t drive. They walk. While I in no way, shape, or form am saying that the Barcelona way of life is superior to the American one, it deserves some consideration.

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