I've collected a list of major differences between American culture and Spanish culture over the past week. Some of the biggest, and most interesting, differences are listed below:
1) Dogs are PETS here... not best friends or kids or replacements for boyfriends. Plus, in Salamanca, seeing a big dog (anything bigger than a chihuahua/purse-size dog) is like snow in July - it just doesn't happen.
2) Grey hair is not a thing. Occasionally blonde or brown hair isn't a thing either and people in their 80s have blue or purple hair. These ladies are my life goals.
3) Coffee in America is essentially water. If you are one to ask for one (or five) extra shots of espresso at Starbucks in the US, there is no need to do that here - the coffee is plenty strong. And as someone who doesn't like coffee, my ideal coffee here is basically hot milk and sugar with 1/3 teaspoon coffee (...or we can just ditch the coffee all together).
4) Staring is normal & EXCESSIVE... especially when you're American or don't look like you belong. We've been here a week and it still hasn't gotten any more comfortable.
5) Warm temperatures for Americans is equivalent to Antarctica for Spaniards. Here, 70 degrees and sunny out calls for pants, boots, scarves, & SNOW COATS. You can only imagine how many comments and looks we got wearing this when it was in the 60s...
6) Food portions are on another level - small breakfast, HUGE lunch (think of a 500lb man who hasn't eaten in a week) and a fairly comparable dinner size... but it isn't served until 9 or 9:30pm.
I honestly love noticing differences in the cultures and finding appreciations for it all. It's so exciting coming to a place and expecting to fit right in or only come across minor cultural differences, only to find that the two cultures are quite distinct when you break it all down. I love both cultures for all that they have to offer, no matter the differences!