Valencia is a beautiful city full of traditions and sunshine! The friendly Valencian attitude is contagious, and if you live in this city for long enough, their culture and attitude start to rub off on you. From the weekly ritual of the paella. Knowing the difference between arroz a banda, arroz al horno and arroz del Senyoret. The smell of oranges and high immunity to noise. Here are 20 signs that you have been living in Valencia for too long!
19 Signs You’ve Been Living In Valencia For Too Long
1. You’ve become an orange juice snob
Considering Valencia is well known for its oranges it’s rare to be given a glass orange juice that comes from a bottle. Bars and restaurants usually tell you if they only have those available. Otherwise, when you ask for zumo de naranja they will normally give you a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice with sugar on the side.
2. You refuse to have paella anywhere else in the world unless it’s in Valencia
Any Valencian will tell you that if paella is not made in Valencia then it’s not an authentic paella. Valencian paella is something that they are very proud of and unless you are in Valencia, then there’s no point trying it anywhere else.
3. Noise? What Noise?
Valencians like noise, or more like they are immune to noise. You know you are used to Valencian life when you can survive a mascletá in the front row. If you want to live in Valencia, get used to a lot of noise, they find excuses to make them, from gathering with friends and families, throwing firecrackers to taking the band to the streets.
4. During the Fallas, you reluctantly encourage your child to play with fireworks
If you have children when the month of March approach there is no hiding from the fact that your child will want to get involved with the celebrations. You’ll have no choice but to take them to the petardo shop and buy a bag full of fireworks.
5. You can’t imagine not wearing sunglasses
With over 320 sunshine days per year, wearing glasses is essential. It becomes permanently attached to your face and feel naked without them!
6. It’s perfectly acceptable to order wine or beer to accompany your breakfast.
You might notice that wine is usually served with a breakfast menu or menu del dia. For instance, in our local bar, it’s usual to have a bottle of red wine ready on the table. Spaniards usually dilute this with a little bit gaseosa or some kind of light fizzy drink. Wine in Spain wine used to accompany food and conversation, and not related to fun and leisure compared to the UK.
7. Talking loudly and invading peoples personal space people is normal
While us British are a lot more reserved, Valencians are not afraid to shout, touch or get in your face. This might seem aggressive to some people, but it simply means that they’re having a passionate conversation.
8. You get annoyed when you don’t get free snacks when you buy a drink.
It’s the norm that when you order something to drink at a Spanish bar that it’s accompanied by a snack. This can be anything from a small plate of olives, peanuts, or pickled vegetables. Having a side while you enjoy a drink with friends is customary in Spain, and if you go to a bar and they don’t give you at least a plate of peanuts then it’s your right to ask!
9. You’re shocked when you see your friends on social media holidaying in Spain and sunbathing before the month of June.
Having to remind myself that anything more than 18°c is warm to British people. But I’m still surprised when I see them in their bikinis at the poolside between the months of January and May. *shiver*
10. You get excited when you see familiar shops open like Starbucks. But then complain that you can get better coffee for less than half the price!
Familiarity is nice, but when you realise that good coffee is so much cheaper if you go to a local bar, you can’t help but feel ripped off. Starbucks is only for special occasions, paying more than €2.00 for sugar-laden coffee doesn’t seem like a good deal.
11. You think eating dinner before 9 pm is far too early!
Spaniards rarely eat their dinner before 9 pm. At first, it was hard for us to adjust, after all, back in the UK dinner was ready at around 6 pm. When family and friends come to visit they’re usually starving by 7 pm and I haven’t even started dinner yet!
12. When you enter a bakery, bank or anything else that has a queue, you automatically shout out ‘Quien es el último?’
When you walk into a shop for instance and you don’t see an obvious line, but there are people scattered around waiting, it’s important to shout out ‘Quien es el ultimo?’ (Who is the last?). This Spanish queuing system is efficient and it’s handy if there is a waiting time. You can always go out and come back later and be guaranteed to still have a space in the queue.
13. You become an expert on how to avoid tourist traps
Yes, it might be nice to sit on a trendy beach restaurant, but not only that they charge you double the price the quality of the food isn’t that great either! You learn to find the best places to eat untouched by tourists. 😏
14. You notice that you take your time with everything and hardly do anything in a rush.
The slow pace of life is one of the reasons why we moved to Valencia. OK, sometimes it can be too slow. Especially when you’re trying to get things done. But taking your time is normal here, whether it’s being late for an event, having a cheeky siesta in the afternoon, or spending time with friends.
15. You finally accept that Sunday is a day of rest and don’t get frustrated that the shops are closed.
Sundays are important to Spaniards. This is the time where they can spend time with their families and friends. Whether it would be cooking paella or doing a BBQ. It’s quality time that they value, therefore most shops are closed. There is no shopping day on a Sunday, it’s all about chilling out and making the most of the weekend.
16. Having a quick breakfast with friends can last until lunchtime and that’s OK.
We have learnt that get-togethers with friends should only be done on holidays and weekends. Otherwise, we will never get anything done. What usually starts off as breakfast can last until mid-afternoon, and if you are really having a great conversation then this can go on until dinner time. Remember what I said about Spaniards about not doing anything in a rush, well, this is a fine example.
17. You wrap up when the temperature is below 25°c
When family and friends that come and visit during the winter and spring always wonder why I’m wrapped up in scarves and thick jumpers, even though the temperature is 20°c. You see, when you are used to high temperatures during the summertime, anything else below 25°c is cold!
18. You’re amazed when it rains
Your immunity plunges, you suddenly get a cold. You see your Valencian friends sharing it on social networks as if they’ve never seen rain before. Schools close, the river Turia stays dry while your town start to resemble the city of Venice. Just like the Valencians, when it rains you’re ‘unable’ to do anything.
19. You learn how to speak Spanish fast because not many Valencians speaks English!
You quickly realise that not everyone in Valencia speaks English so speaking Spanish is a must! It took us a couple of years to get better. The secret is to get to know Spanish friends, get yourself enrolled in an Intercambio or watch Spanish TV. You don’t have to be perfect, but at least you don’t seem ignorant!
The Valencian culture has been a large part of our family’s journey in the past 8 years. In order to enjoy what Valencia has to offer it’s important that you embrace their culture and those idiosyncrasies that come with it. Are you an immigrant in Valencia? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does anything resonate with you here? Let me know in the comments below!