After looking at a range of properties on the Playa Flamenca, and trying to get to know the town residents, I realised Blending in with the locals can be an art form, but it is also important for your safety depending on the country. Of course, the success of this mission varies with all of the complicating factors. Do you resemble the physical characteristics of the local population? This factor is one of the most difficult to overcome but it is not impossible. Do you speak the same language? This may take some preparation. But blending in with the locals in Spain can be achieved for most people quite easily.
Honoring the Local Culture
It is the connections you make that override any differences in physical appearance. It is important to shop locally, hire local people to work for you and attend any local special events. Interestingly, Spain does not have any official religion. But most likely though, the communities display their allegiances clearly. Don’t forget about volunteering your time. Usually, schools, libraries, and churches are desperate for assistance. By making connections with your neighbours in this manner you are infusing yourself into their community. Soon you will be as much part of the landscape as them. That is when your protection starts. As they begin to accept you as the great person you are, they will note any difficulties you might encounter and work with you to resolve an uncomfortable situation.
If you are able, you can start to learn the language before you arrive in Spain by using one of the many apps that are now available. Some apps are free, others are a minimal charge and even if you decide to purchase a deluxe package, it is an investment that is priceless. When you arrive in Spain, make every effort to speak Spanish whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Note the Type of Dress Common in your Area
You do not completely need to revamp your wardrobe but a straw hat in the latest style does more than protect you from the sun. It demonstrates to everyone that you are here to stay. Dress to the same level of formality as your neighbours They probably do not display expensive watches and jewellery.
For the first few months you will probably be taking a lot of photos to share with your friends and family, but when you are trying to fit in, this is not the time to pull out your professional level camera. Stick to a local phone option. The cameras are more than adequate for this purpose. And if you need to use expensive gear for your work, try to scuff it up somewhat so it doesn’t attract undue attention. Never leave it unattended but don’t make it obvious that you are protecting it by constantly looking at it or clutching it.
Be aware of body language in general. Some of your common gestures might offend others and you might take offence when none was communicated. In Spain as in most of Europe moving your forearm up in a rapid movement while grabbing at your elbow is a very derogatory comment akin to the middle finger in other cultures. The middle finger gesture has the same meaning throughout Europe as it does in the United States. However, if someone brings their finger to their lips as in a kissing them this is a great compliment such as fantastic, very sexy, or the ultimate.
Soon you will be noting the strangers or the tourists in your midst. Now is your turn to empathize with them and assist with helping them get to know your community. At that point, you know you are part of the local fabric of Spain.