Ok, so I’m not a big foodie; I’m very, very picky, don’t like eating large meals and don’t like eating frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhealthy by any means, but I just prefer to eat little bits at a time over the course of a day rather than large meals. Spain is one country that certainly doesn’t cater to those desires, though.
Since the minute I arrived, nobody has failed to offer me food, and a considerable amount at that. I feel like we’re constantly eating. We wake up and have a huge breakfast, relative to American standards of almost nothing, which is my favorite because their breakfast foods are delicious- cookies, pastries, cereal, espresso. Then, we don’t eat again until lunch time, which falls somewhere between 2:00 and 3:00 pm. My boyfriend usually eats a large snack again around 5:00 or 6:00, when I can’t even entertain the idea of more food. Finally, after all of our daily activities are finished, we all sit for dinner at about 9:30 pm, which is strikingly late by my own standards.
Lunch is my biggest problem. At home, I wake up late and have a large-ish breakfast, snack throughout the day, and then eat dinner around 6. So eating a full meal for lunch has been difficult for me, especially when it’s not something I’m particularly keen on. The worst part is that I don’t even get to serve myself most of the time. This may seem like a luxury, but it’s quite a bother for me, and for a good reason. In my house it’s not polite to take more than you can eat, and knowing that I eat very little, I usually help myself to small portions, going back for seconds if need be. But here, I’m given a heaping amount, and usually end up just staring at the remnants by the end of the meal, feeling trapped between being extremely rude and eating until I’m sick. It’s quite distressing, honestly, and I often find myself dreading the next meal for that reason. My boyfriend’s family is great, though, and they’ve never made me feel bad about what I don’t eat, but I recognize that this would be an even bigger problem traveling throughout other parts of the world that are less accepting.
What I find funny is that once people get to know my eating habits, they usually say something like, “Well, that’s why she’s so skinny.” The irony in this is that every person who has said this so far is thin and healthy themselves. I don’t understand how a person can eat as much and as often as they do here and maintain a healthy body weight, but they do, and I’m not sure they realize how lucky they are. Granted, the food consumed here is considerably more healthy than that offered in the US, so that may be a key factor. Nevertheless, eating habits here are drastically different than mine back at home, and thus far, it’s been an interesting experience, to say the least.