This post is going to make me sound spoiled or that I’m faced with some first world problems. Which may be the case, but living outside of the U.S has made me realize I miss a lot of things back home, aside from my family and friends. The small town of Soria is the capital of the province, Soria. It’s modestly sized with about 30,000 people it’s still a small Spanish town. Madrid is two hours away by bus, so for the surrounding villages, Soria is the main point of shopping and is “larger” city for most people. Without too much being said, here is what I miss the most back in the states:
1. The Food
Back home whenever I was hungry and on the go, I could easily stop at the local co-op and grab some healthy pre-made food and be on my way. Heck, I could even grab some Taco Bell and be golden. At least in Soria, the fast-food or grab-n-go food seems to be non-existent. Plus, when you do go out to eat it seems you only get bocadillos, tapas, or raciones. All are very traditional Spanish food, but it basically means eating small amounts of a lot of food.
The coffee in Spain is unprecedented, however similar to food, I miss the grab-n-go coffee. Larger cities have Starbucks, but if you know me, I hate starbs and prefer to stick to local shops. The local cafes here are just as good if not better. However, they’re meant to be drunk while sitting down. Plus there is only one size and no flavor. I have a really bad addiction to a caramel americano, and I just miss it.
3. Not Using Cash.
I rarely carried cash with me in the U.S and would always swipe my card no matter how small the transaction. But here in Spain, they make a big fuss about using a debit card, unless paying for groceries or rent. The first time I went to Madrid alone I ate at a random restaurant and when I went to pay with my card the guy looked at me like I was the biggest burden of his day. We had to go to the restaurant next door and use their card machine because he didn’t have one.
4. Spicy food
Tacos, enchiladas, ceviche, guacamole. Really anything spicy because Spaniards don’t really cook with spicy food.
5. Vegan/ Vegetarian food.
Before coming to Spain, I had recently gone vegan but moving to a small city where their most popular dish is ham had made it very difficult to sustain this lifestyle. Not to mention most of the grocery stores near me don’t have a lot of “vegetarian” options. Cooking for myself at home is a lot easier than trying to go out because literally, every tapa has some sort of meat on it. I swear I didn’t eat properly the first few weeks I arrived here because I wasn’t sure how to cook or eat.
6. Store hours
I’m mostly thinking of the banks in Spain because they close at 2 p.m. and don’t open until the following morning. That means you have to HUSTLE to get everything done or else wait until the following day. They literally are closed ALL the time, thankfully the ATMs are outside the lobby. Which brings me to my next one.
7. Customer Service
I swear after living in Spain I will never complain about any customer service issues I have in the U.S. It seems to be a common theme that people in Spain have this “everything is bullshit” attitude and will keep you waiting until they feel like helping you. For example, I went to the bank to pick up my debit card and was legit waiting for the woman for 10 minutes while she talked to another banker about their weekend plans. I was a little irritated by the end of the encounter.
Since most of the buildings in Spain are relatively old, oftentimes they don’t have a heating or AC unit. I live in the coldest part of Spain so having a heater is crucial especially now since it’s starting to snow. My roommate even had problems with her heater and had to have someone come and fix it. I’ve heard stories of other people having way worse temperatures than I have.
10. My Car
There’s really not much I can say about this one, but I miss having the freedom to drive wherever I want to and not have to wait for the bus schedule. The plus side is I don’t have to make car payments or pay for gas all the time. It’s mainly just wanting to get out of Soria for a while and if I want to stop and explore a little town I can without having to wait for the next bus.
That about sums it up for me. Did I miss anything? If you have ever lived abroad what are some things you missed about the U.S? Let me know in the comments!