Part of getting to know people that live in another country is learning the basic interactions that friends and acquaintances use. In this column and on my blog, I am trying to focus on the differences between visiting a country and really getting to know what people and culture are like beyond the presentation. One of the things that has been a joy to learn, is how emotional and affectionate most Spaniards tend to be to those they know.
When our family took a trip to Madrid last month, we stayed near Puerta de Sol. It is the central square for gatherings, protests, walking tours, and the symbolic center of Spain. Puerta de Sol is lined with the historic Old Post Office and clock, that is now used as a government building. It is a fitting location to serve as the equivalent of New York's Times Square on New Year's Eve (or Nocheviejo in Spain, meaning "old night."). On this night, the square is still filled with Christmas lights, the large metal Christmas Tree and, along with the streets extending from the square, can accommodate thousands of people.
Sally and her family moved to Spain for a year from July 2017 - July 2018. They lived in a little town called Puzol, which is about 20km north of Valencia. Her kids, Carson and Celia, attended the American School of Valencia, an International School located in Puzol. The goal for the whole family was to experience another way of life, and learn Spanish.