One thing about the Spanish culture is that it enjoys a level of camaraderie at the core social level. Don’t know where to find a store? Just ask. Aren’t sure which is the best product in the supermarket? Just ask. Need to find an apartment?Trust me, everyone knows someone who has an apartment, a renting agent, a friend who just found an apartment, or an amalgam of all of these scenarios. I don’t have many friends in Spain, and all of them are sending me suggestions, taking me to look at places, forwarding agents and ideas, and being so incredibly helpful that I am humbled quite a bit.
I think such courtesy would wear very thin very quickly in the US, but in my experience here, such involvement seems the norm. All that being said, I don’t yet have an apartment. I have seen many places, from teeny-tiny to old and faded to small and cute. Since my cellphone number is still on order, I don’t have any way to contact folks easily, which is very frustrating, but my friends have gone out of their way to accommodate my unique needs. Admittedly, I can’t be easy on their nerves!
Such a situation becomes even more amazing when I realize that I only met these folks in January when I was in Valencia for two weeks. What’s even more wonderful for me is that I feel so supported by these awesome people who are showing me patience, consideration, and understanding when I admit that I am frustrated and confused. “I don’t understand” is one of my most-used phrase in Spanish right now. So, gentle reader, is “Gracias.”