In my travels to Spain this summer the idea of "family time" has been redefined. A major part of this realization had to do with the challenge our tour guide gave us at the beginning of our trip. Her challenge was for us to become a traveling anthropologist that studied the people as we traveled and to identify differences between Spain and the United States. While in Spain I studied the people and their actions. Looking at families and their interactions seemed to impact me the most. My definition of family time no longer means an occasional meal, or a simple hello and goodbye as I pass though the house; family time means spending a moment to talk with my parents or to play a game with my siblings.
â–º SEMI FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
The fast pace life that Americans live has overflowed into family time. Parents and teens do not make the time to sit and have a meal together nor do they ever put down the phone to have an old fashion conversation. During my travels the city that really showed me what family time meant was Segovia. Segovia is a very small city known for their beautiful Roman aqueduct, their storks, and their Castle that inspired Walt Disney. Although I was not inspired to use the castle in any movies, I was inspired by the people. The people still made family time important. Every single shop throughout the main streets shut down for lunch so that the workers could go home to their families. On the way home for lunch I did not see a single person on the phone, or eating and walking at the same time. These people made time to sit with their children and ask them how their day was going. Comparing this to most American families this concept is unheard of.
Although many of the big cities in Spain have cut out that type of lunch break, dinner is no different. In the cities of Barcelona and Madrid many of the people had the same ideas. They all sat down for a meal or even just a glass of wine. I don't think there was even a takeout option on menus at restaurants. It was also interesting to see how late families would stay out just visiting with their friends. In Madrid kids could go out for churros and chocolate in the plazas. In America anything late that happens is usually with single people or college students. In Spain it is typical to see families out until midnight… and yes, that includes little kids too! For me, adjusting to staying out and eating late was hard at first, but it grew on me. It made me see how great spending nights with your family could be.
My trip to Spain has given me insight on what living life is really about. My mom always says "family is something that is always there for you in the end", but as Americans we don't take time to appreciate it while we have it. As a teen going away to college in a year I want to make family time more important. After visiting a family oriented country like Spain, it seems like family time has not been as important to me as it should have been.
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