If you’ve ever lived outside your home country you most likely feel related to this feeling.
The first time that I lived outside Spain was for about 5 months. I went to study to Toulouse, France, during my sophomore year in college. Of course, the situation was different because I had a boyfriend at that time that stayed in Spain.
Anyways, when you get to the new country where you plan on living for some time it’s pretty inevitable that you’re going to compare things all the time. Like, really. ALL THE TIME.
There are obvious comparisons like prices and brands, but there are also things that you didn’t even appreciate at home. For example, during my stay in France I discovered that they often need either change (coins) or credit/debit card to pay for things, and bills are not accepted in many machines. Highway tolls, metro stations… I learned this the hard way. And I couldn’t avoid missing the “normal” machines where you could just pay with bills.
Of course, we learned the lesson and we always had a good stack of coins ready to use.
The easy part back then was knowing that I was really close to my home and I could go back any weekend. That, and knowing that I was staying only for a few months.
Now the story is pretty different. Not only it’s not that easy for me to go back to Spain (2 years already since I came!), but the US is VERY different from Europe in general.
Let me tell you the things that I miss the most about Spain:
- The bread. It doesn’t really taste like bread and it’s in the soft side. I like crunchy amazing-smelling bread. And walking on the way home to have lunch and passing by a bakery where they just made fresh bread is one of the best smells of the world. I can’t believe that I miss it so much!
- Chorizo. And morcilla. Simply amazing. I found a couple of things that were close but not really.
- Carrying a small packet of tissue paper in the bag. They are so incredibly useful that I cannot believe that people don’t carry those here. I found some to buy in Publix, but I thought they were so expensive that I just forgot about it. But what do you do when you’re sick and you need them?
- Having lunch and staying on the table for an extra hour (at least) just for conversation. Sometimes we can overlap lunch with dinner. I have found that outside Spain people eat pretty quickly and leave to do the next thing. Just relax and enjoy the food and the company!
- Walking around. I would meet with one of my friends around 4-5pm and go walk around Madrid for 3 hours, go to Starbucks and walk a little more. People meet to walk around, instead of just meeting in the restaurant and go straight home. I feel like cities in the US (in general. That’s one of the reasons why I loved Chicago & San Francisco) are made for cars and not for people.
- I obviously miss my friends and family. A lot. And I can’t wait to go back and talk with them without the need of Skype, Hangouts or Whatsapp. I also miss my parent’s cat.
- Little cafés and restaurants. I feel like if you want to eat at a restaurant you go to a chain/franchise, and if you want to get a coffee you go to either Caribou or Starbucks. As much as I love their coffee, I miss those bars/cafeterías that are usually family owned. There are also pretty cool ones with books and events.
- How easy it is to travel. Distances in the US are huge, so you need a good amount of time to go pretty much anywhere. And you need also money. I find it easier to decide on a trip in Spain, as everything is closer and you have tons of places to go that are in a short-medium distance.
- Chocolate. My friends, once you have access to Swiss/Belgian chocolate you won’t even want to try Hershey’s!
- Architecture & historic places. As much as I’ve always loved the US and wanted to come here, I really miss walking around and visiting “new” old towns/buildings/places. I’ve never been deeply interested in architecture and I don’t know that much about it, but just enjoying the feeling of being surrounded by old buildings. You don’t need to know how to read music to be able to enjoy a concert, right?
So this is my list of 10 things that I miss about Spain. Despite all the differences I’m still really happy that I came here, and I have learned not to focus on the differences but to enjoy this new country (for me) as the place that it is (at least most of the time lol). I am planning on doing another one with things that I love about the US (now that I’ve been living here for a couple of years), so stay tuned!
Do you live outside your home country? What things do you miss the most? Let me know in the comments, via Twitter or mail! 🙂