Moving abroad indefinitely would dramatically change anyone’s life. While I felt completely prepared and ready for the move, there are still things that I miss about my life in Buffalo. Here are the five biggest things I miss about living in America and 3 things that I definitely don’t miss.
- Shops being open on Sunday – while I totally appreciate how Spaniards have Sundays to spend time with friends and family – I get annoyed that I can’t really run for groceries on a Sunday. I get the larger stores being closed – but essentially every Supermarket in this city? To be frank, it drives me nuts.
- Coffee – dude. I hate the coffee here. When I order a large coffee, I want it to take some time to drink. There’s this German phrase that I love “Kalter kaffee macht schon” – Cold coffee makes you beautiful. If there are only three sips of coffee – there’s little to no chance it will ever be cold. Logically this means I don’t get all the amazing medicinal effects of coffee enhancing my beauty. While I have been enjoying cafe con leche more now than I did last year – I still wish it were bigger.
- Target – I love Target. I love the convenience. I love the selection. I know that it is a cousin to the evil empire of Walmart – but what can I say? There is something wonderful about one stop shopping. I kind of can’t wait until I can do a target run. Unlike a typical target shopping trip, I’m going to have a pretty meticulously crafted list this time.
- Ease of being around friends and making new friends – right before I left for Spain, I felt the most secure I ever have in my social life. I had meaningful relationships with people from many different walks of life – grad school, the hotel that I worked at, the soccer team I cheered for and of course my high school friends. I knew that moving to Spain would create a vacuum social interaction at least for a little bit. I didn’t expect it to be quite so hard to make friends here. I have at least one friend and I enjoy talking to several people from work but I am nowhere near as secure as in Buffalo. The good news is that I maintain great relationships from afar.While this new school year has been making this so much easier – I have at least two friends here! – it’s still not as easy as in the states.
- Not having a language barrier – I’m learning Spanish. Poco a poco. That being said, I miss being able to freely express myself without linguistic limits. I love words. I love using every word in my linguistic repertoire. More than once there have been some pretty significant misunderstandings. I can’t wait until this won’t be a problem for me anymore.
What are the top three things which I love about being here?
- Having a car – I hated having a car. Obviously living in a city with limited public transportation, it was a necessary evil. I have spent so much money on car repairs, insurance, oil changes, gas, tickets, tows and AAA. I was seriously over it. On top of that, my car was the one part of my life that was truly a disaster. It was never clean or tidy but rather was a dumping ground for all sorts of random shit. It made me anxious when I opened the trunk to see piles of books, art supplies, tools, and random electronics. There is nothing I miss less than having a car.
- Less Pressure of career growth – Most of Europe has this magnificent cultural devaluation of making a ton of money and experiencing near constant career growth. People are not judged for what kind of career they choose. There is just as much value in being a postman as a police officer or garbage man. I really appreciate this. I am not someone driven by ambition. I like teaching. I like having free time to develop my creative voice. I don’t really aspire to being anything more. That’s ok here.
- Less Excessive consumerism – Europe isn’t perfect. In large cities, it’s definitely possible to fall into the consumerist trap. That being said, I still think it isn’t quite so bad. Fast fashion might exist but there isn’t quite the turnover in other non-essential items. Makeup new releases are greatly delayed and not nearly as hyped here. Office supplies stores are small and carry a limited selection. While they are ads, it seems as though there aren’t as many as in the states.
If the good didn’t outweight the bad every day, I would not plan on staying in Spain for longer than my current contract. Every day, I feel lucky to have finally made this move. That doesn’t mean that I live a perfect life free of any cultural, linguistic or personal adjustments. What things do you think you would miss about your home country? Tell me below!