As a follow up to my 10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in Spain post, there will also be things I will miss from back home in the United States while I’m living in Spain. This isn’t bad; it’s just the reality of moving abroad. There will simply be things you will miss. Now, I fully realize that while I think I will miss a lot of these things now (pre-departure), I may in fact not miss them at all once I’m living in Spain.
1. Family and Friends
This one is a given which is why I started with it. I have a wonderful, loving family and excellent friends, all of which would be there for me in a second if I ever needed them. I know I will miss the trivia nights with my Mom, Dennis, and my brother Steve, dinner nights with my Dad, Sue, and Steve, and all the fun night going out and getting into all kinds of trouble with my friends, especially Andrew, Matt, Dustin, and Neil. I am well aware that I will miss out on friends weddings, bachelor parties, and engagements. Although, I’m not too worried about missing engagements of some friends as I don’t think that is anywhere near happening. Sorry guys!
It will be tough to leave, but I know that they will all be there when I return. And just because I am across the ocean does not mean that they are not friends nor family. They will always be.
2. Craft Beer
Spain, especially La Rioja, is not quite known for beer. Wine is more of their specialty, if you weren’t aware. Moving from Milwaukee to Spain is in a sense moving from Beer Country to Wine Country. Milwaukee was built on beer, and being a good Milwaukeean and Wisconsinite that’s mostly of German heritage, I naturally love beer.
Yes, Spain has Alhambra, Mahou, Estrella Damm, and Cruzcampo amongst others, but other than Alhambra Reserva (my personal favorite), I cannot really compare Spanish beers to those of Milwaukee—Milwaukee Brewing Company, Lakefront, and even Miller. And yes, I will fight you or at least get into a lengthy, passionate discussion if you think Budweiser is superior to Miller. (Hint: it’s not.) Anyways, all in all I will miss the fine selection of all the Wisconsin beer that is now so readily available to me.
There’s no saying that I won’t be bicycling in Spain, but over the last 4-5 months I have been riding my bike to work about 9 miles each way every day. I absolutely love it. The exercise, my fellow bike riders, lowered stress levels, the ability to see the city and feel a part of it, and the simple joy of the ride itself are all things I will miss.
Don’t get me wrong though. I cannot wait to walk to work in Logroño, but I will miss bicycling Milwaukee. Oh, and my bike(s) itself/themselves!
4. The Comfort of Having a 9 to 5 Job
While I’ll be teaching in Spain on a 9-month contract, it will not quite replace the safety net of having a stable, salaried job. Trust me, I truly cannot wait to move to Spain and begin my “new” life, but I there is something in the back of my mind telling me that there will be times when I miss the large paycheck.
Most of the time, I do not think I will miss the monotony of the 9 to 5 lifestyle, but the security and knowing I can stay working there forever is something that I know I will miss here and there, especially in tough times. For the most part, I know I will not miss it. After all, I’m setting out on this new adventure of living and working in Spain for just that, adventure. I want something new, exciting, and challenging. I think it’s important that I do realize that I will miss the comforts of my job because then it will not be a total shock to my system when the feelings to arise. Plus, I am confident in my skills and abilities and know that I would have the ability to come back and find a similar stable, salaried position at another company if that’s what I wanted. (I don’t. At least not now.)
5. My Sports Leagues
I’ll miss playing in my basketball and wiffleball leagues. It’s a great group of people I play with and is quite a bit of fun while providing me some exercise. Well, except for wiffleball. However, these leagues will be here upon my return, and there’s no saying that there will not be leagues in Spain. Although, I highly doubt there will be a wiffleball league…
So if you didn’t know I was from Wisconsin, you do now. In reality I do not eat that much meat, but I think it’s the flavor of bratwurst that remind me of cooking out, tailgating, and home. I suppose Germany isn’t too far from Spain though.
7. Mexican Food
Spanish food is not spicy at all. I remember that while studying abroad we got to a point where we searched all over for spicy food and came up with what basically amounts to nothing. Being away from spicy Mexican food will make me appreciate it all that much more once I’m able to have it again though.
8. Unlimited Texting/Phone Calls
Unlike the United States, texting and calling in Spain is usually not unlimited, at least from what I’ve read and remember. However, this may have changed quite a bit from 2010 when I was living in Granada. Apps like WhatsApp seem to be more the norm for texting as they use data instead of actual texts, therefore being cheaper. I’ll miss being able to text my friends and family about small little things. They could use WhatsApp but getting them to check it regularly might be the more challenging part (hint, hint).
9. Store Hours
This was something that through me for a loop when I was first in Spain. Closed for siestas, on Sundays, EVERY holiday, etc. I was not used to it at all and often had to think twice about what time it was before I left my piso to head to the store. I love the fact that Spaniards have not changed their ways and store hours, but I do know that they will catch me off guard and frustrate me at least once in my first few months there.
There are numerous things I could list here: chocolate milk, bagels, not needing cash, large coffees, the English language, etc. Maybe it’s writer’s block or maybe it’s that the longer I spent writing this list the more I realized that everything I will miss will be there upon my return whether it’s next summer or in x number of years…or ever.
There will be days when I’m homesick and want some of these comforts around, and there will be others where these things don’t even cross my mind. When I return to America at some point, all these things will be there.
I began writing this and feeling sad about all that I will miss, but in doing so, it was almost therapeutic in a way because I came to this realization. Spain and the rest of the world has so much to offer in terms of new experiences, new comforts, and new people, and while what I leave behind in the United States will inevitably change while I’m gone, I will change too. Friends and family will always be friends and family and will be there for me just as I will for them, even if it’s not physically being there in person. Plus, I suppose I can always find a craft beer or bicycle if I really need to.
What would or do you miss from America? What makes you think of home?
Edit (7/25/14): I will also miss peanut butter. I eat a peanut butter sandwich almost everyday, so yeah, I’ll miss it!