Wednesday, January 19, 2005

It’s customary in Spanish families for the children to stay at home until they find a partner to live with. At this point they finally move out, though often not very far. If no partner comes along, they stay in the parental home until they inherit at least a part of it. What this means, of course, is that very few young Spaniards experience a period of independent living. So divorce must come as an even greater shock than it does elsewhere. Except, of course, for those who immediately move back ‘home’. It also means that many young Spaniards live with their parents until they are well into their thirties. Forties even. But then I read that this is increasingly a feature of British society too, as a result of rising living costs.

Talking of families and reverting to the theme of what phrases are most terrifying to hear in Spain….. Part and parcel of the closeness of Spanish families is that parents and relatives are rather more generous to their offspring or young relatives than in Anglo-Saxon society. Even after they are married, young Spanish couples will turn regularly to their family for financial assistance. So, it is not entirely heart-warming to hear the words “You are like an uncle to us. One of the family”. For, sure as eggs is eggs, it means you will at some point be tapped. And that any loan you might make will turn out to be a lot softer than you thought. Or so they tell me.

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