By Mariam Taha
To get the most out of our study abroad experience, it is important to immerse ourselves in the everyday lives and culture of the community. An example of this is following the routine of the locals. One way we did this was on Saturday morning, we went to the market. Going to the market is a very popular thing for people to do, usually on Saturdays. This way they get their fresh food for the rest of the week. This was made very clear to us because of how crowded it was. Some people even go every day to the market so they can plan their meals around whichever food seems the freshest that day. The market has fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and more. The market is neatly organized so that all the fish is one place, fruit in one place, and so on.
I personally love fresh fruit so I was elated when we got to try a few fruits native to this area. We got to try a cactus fruit known as “prickly pear.” It was sweet and tasted a little like kiwi to me. We also got to try “la pera de San Juan,” which is a small, juicy pear that is only in season for a very short time here. Since its time is limited, it is very popular right now and also slightly on the more expensive side. I absolutely loved it and I am lucky that my host family serves them with almost every meal.
This is a distinct part of the Spanish culture which is very different from the United States. In some towns in the United States, there may be farmers markets once a week or sometimes only once a month. For the majority of people, they get their produce from the supermarket. At the supermarkets in America, produce is not always the freshest and can sometimes be pricey if it was shipped from another area because the local climate is not adequate for growing that food. Here in Spain, it differs because most people get the majority of their food from the local market, and whatever they cannot find there, they will get from the supermarket. The food does not have to travel long since it is all locally grown, fished, etc. Therefore, the food is very fresh and the quality is much better, compared to that of the United States.
I feel that going to the market was a great experience because we got to see something that is so prominent in the everyday lives of people here.