The Good Life: Andalucía vs. Anywhere Else

Exactly eight months ago, I moved from the U.S.A. to a Spanish province, Andalusia. I’ve learned the lifestyle here in the South is quite different than any other place in Spain, from what I have seen in my time in Spain. The Northern and Eastern regions of Spain have their own dialects and therefore have a bit of autonomy and pride, while Madrid and its’ surroundings are quite modern and big-city living. Here in the South, they are proud to still maintain the Spanish history (Flamenco dancing, famous beaches, the antique Arab influence- hello, the infamous Alhambra rests here also). It is true that you can find absolutely astonishing and lush landscape everywhere in Spain, but Andalusia is know for their glorious beaches and breathtaking sunsets. The weather is also notable and for Americans, comparable to decent regions of California. I really only needed a winter coat for about a month or two, as the temperature rarely slipped below 40-50°. Yes I’m from Wisconsin, and yes I bought a winter coat; I’m a pansy. I’m giving it to a shelter before I leave, I really don’t want to be reminded of those “freezing” months again now that all I hear is the beach calling my name these days.

What a coincidence, this is how I feel about McDonalds and Spain!

What a coincidence, this is how I feel about McDonalds and living in Spain!

I came across a compelling article last month that compiled the World’s Top 20 Places For the Good Life. Immediately after clicking on the link and seeing that my region, Andalucia, took home the gold, I just about cried. How could I be so foolish? To have passed the first couple months taking this oportune life for granted and then take a reflecting step backwards to where I am now mentally, shocks me. I’m leaving this wonderland in mere days and all I wish is that someone would send me a freakin’ telegram or something, alerting me that all the planes leaving Spain have broken down and the Spanish are on their siesta for the next 365 days so I could remain in this paradise. Here is a short excerpt from the description of the #1 place to “live the good life:”  

“Moorish architecture, including the Alhambra, sits alongside thousands of churches and pretty fincas. People dance and eat tapas over the strains of flamenco. Away from the tourist traps, this sprawling region of southern Spain offers a life as rich in history, culture and cuisine as anywhere in Europe.” 

Here in the south of Spain, they live quite distinctly compared to that of the rest of Spain. Now, I haven’t lived or been in all the provinces in my short years here but I have collected many cultural experiences, opinions and investigations regarding them all. Ask any southerner here, and they will tell you they walk a little slower, take deeper siestas and expect to see you at the beach if you “call in sick.” I’ve noticed my own pace has slowed even walking next to norther Spaniards; something I never thought would happen! In the United States, we are so pressed for time and rarely realize we are kind of missing the point of… well, living. This obviously doesn’t speak for all Americanos; we’re seeing the “hippie” trend really starting to flourish and see some mentalities slowly mirroring those of Europeans. Many of us have either traveled and seen that there is a more satisfying way to live, or they’re the crazy vegan hippies who refuse to even drive by a Wal-Mart. To each is own, but as long as we can take a couple moments to breath and walk in to a Starbucks instead of letting out a deep sign when we see the drive-thru lane consists of more than a five-minute wait, maybe we’ll all become a bit more “European.” At the very least it may help the skyrocketing high-blood pressure rates.

Enjoying a veggie shake on the balcony looking out at the Atlantic- Tarifa, Spain

Enjoying the “Good Life” and a veggie shake on the balcony looking out at the Atlantic- Tarifa, Spain

If you get ANYTHING out of this post, let it be that curiosity possibly rose a bit to click on the article to see that not a SINGLE American city/region/piece of dirt was considered in this list. So I’m not crazy people, there are others that have seen what’s out there and chose to recognize and breathe.

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