The European Life
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
FROM LIVING IN
People told me my accent would change, I would miss my home, country, food, mom and even my cats, but since I’ve been living in Europe I’ve learned a lot of things I never imagined about.
Before I start this post, I would like to do a small disclaimer and say I am not European, neither I feel more European after 2.5 years of living on it. My accent is far from shaping to a local’s tongue, my face will always reveal my background and I like my spicy food too much to change my sauce for olive oil. Never.
However, Europe is different (oh, duh). No, seriously. Whether you want to change your ways or not, it will gracefully turn you into a different person, and for the better, I believe. So here’s a short but sweet list of things I’ve learned to love and enjoy in Europe.
I enjoy coffee au naturel
If you wanna look like a local, order a cortado. If you want a latte, order a café con leche. Don’t expect jumbo sized carton cups with lids that block the aroma of coffee, but normal-sized ceramic cups. I try to avoid sugar, cream and unnecessary toppings that will ruin the flavor of coffee, something I learned from Italians and Catalans.
I walk like there’s no tomorrow
There are cars, buses and subways in Europe, but walking is your main tool to get everywhere. It’s actually not difficult at all when the streets and cities were designed and build mostly for pedestrians. Cars are expensive and motorbikes require you to rent a parking lot (all that gives me headaches), so I prefer to use my feet. It’s not only an excellent way to keep active, but it also helps me to endure those moments when I’m homesick. I take a walk and voilà.
In America we are the I-want-this-I-pay-you-this-much kind of negotiators. Europe is a lot more different, it not only takes longer to close a deal, but it requires coffee meetings, phone talks, more coffee meetings and a few emails. At first, it will make you crazy, but later on you start developing a personal connection with them. Honestly, I ignore if this is good or not at the long run, but I’m a lot more used to it now.
I care less about what people think of me
This doesn’t mean I don’t consider their opinions, but I take their ideas with a grant of salt. How many times did I feel unsecured, demoralised and humiliated because I thought differently from my family and friend’s group? In Europe, I somehow learned that you are the owner of your life and people respect that, ’cause they’re expecting your respect in return.
I embrace a slow lifestyle
This is what I call “the good life”. Europeans don’t even know they have it, but working 5 days a week, with siesta breaks and a whole month of holidays per year is like paradise for us Mexicans. At first, I was redundant to process this, I was taught and rushed to finish school, find a job, marry, have kids and be successful, some Americans do it before they hit 30. Let’s just say now I take my time, and my stress levels are usually below ground.
And finally, Europe is diverse, so don’t quote me on anything from this post as this is only my personal experience. What I can say as a fact, is that traveling or moving out to a new country will definitely change you as a person and it will help you developing the best within each of you. Let me know your stories on the comment section, I’d love to read all of them.