7 Things I Took for Granted in America

The saying goes: “You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone”. Oh, and how true this is! I compiled a list of the seven things I took for granted in America. Sure, some of them may be silly… but when you randomly have moments of missing home, these definitely pop into my mind.

  1. tumblr_nce2utog9l1rjxj9ko1_500The variety of food
    Although I do love Spanish food, I do miss the variety of food that America had to offer. I realized that America is definitely one big melting pot of different cultures and different people. The variety of food that the country offers is pretty much limitless! There are moments where I wish I could order Chinese take out, grab some sushi, or eat at an Ethiopian restaurant. I’ve noticed that in smaller pueblos, there aren’t many options for food variety and even in bigger cities, such as Madrid; the selection just isn’t the same as home.
  2. A drying machine
    I’m not sure why, but most pisos in Spain are without a drying machine. Plus, washers are located in the kitchen (I don’t know why…). Having a drying machine is such a luxury back at home, and I didn’t even realize it. Air-drying my clothes on a drying rack or on a clothesline is probably more energy efficient, but, when your clothes, sheets, and towels are dried and feeling starchy and stiff… it’s just not the same. The point of buying fabric softener is so that your clothes are warm and soft coming out of the drying machine! I am still getting used to stiff and starchy jeans that have been air-dried. I guess a plus side to this is that most of my clothes never shrink (;
  3. Having deep conversations with someone
    When first coming to Spain, I knew the language barrier would be difficult. What I didn’t expect was how much I would miss having deep conversations, or heart to hearts, with people. I’ve gotten pretty close with two of my Spanish roommates, but when we’re talking about something or opening up to each other, it’s a lot harder. Sometimes, it feels as though I can never fully get my point across because it was “lost in translation” somewhere along the way. I’m sure that my roommates have felt the same type of frustration, when describing something or using Google Translate, can only take you so far. I’m hoping with time, it’ll be much easier to communicate my point of view and opinions and be able to really understand where my Spanish friends are coming from.
  4. Organization
    Not saying that Spain is disorganized, but my program sure is! Miscommunication is probably the one thing in my life that is very, very constant right now. The part of the Spanish government that is handling the Auxiliary program is so very confusing. I’ve heard more than once that there isn’t any information for us, auxiliaries, right now… and the only thing we can do is wait. But, what no one is very clear about is, how long we have to wait or what are we even waiting for? But, as I’ve learned, “No pasa nada” is a favorite phrase; or, “don’t worry, Cassandra”, seems to come up a lot in conversation. I’m not worried – but I would like some information! Please!!
  5. Junk Food!!
    Am I horrible for saying this? I miss American junk food. One of my roommates, Sara, calls it “comida basura” – which my translation means: “trash food”. Hahahaha – kindof true, isn’t it? Sometimes, I want to come home from a drunken night and order greasy pizza! Or, sometimes, I want to indulge in a milkshake! Or, maybe even some fried chicken (not from KFC)! Is this too hard to ask for, Spain?! Why don’t you have drive-thrus and fast food that is easily accessible?!
  6. More Structure
    This is a bit of a hypocritical standpoint for me. I came to Spain knowing that the culture here is much more relaxed than in America. Siestas every day for three hours? Bring it on! Drinking starting at 1/2pm? Why not! A glass of wine at any hour of the day, dinners at 10pm, and a lifestyle that is supplemented by the phrase “there is a time for work, and there is always a time for play”, but, of course! It sounds luxurious, doesn’t it? Ah, but I miss the structure of America! Sometimes… haha. A lot of the time, I’m told I can do what I want, plan whatever I want, and have free range to do as I please. But, I NEED SOMEONE TO TELL ME! Maybe guide me a bit about what you want me to do, give me examples… it’s tough having all this “freedom” to do as I please because I don’t know what is right or wrong! Maybe, a little more structure would be nice.tumblr_na2crwlMTC1rjxj9ko1_400
  7. Free water at restaurants
    Going out to eat at restaurants, I noticed that water is NOT free here. Actually, it is a little weird if you order water when you’re out. I’ve gotten quite a few stares from my roommate’s friends when I ordered water, and they all ordered a few pitchers of beer and bottles of wine. Don’t y’all get dehydrated?! Plus, how does one drink so much, without alternating water? Sadly, water here is not free, and neither are refills of water. I think I’ve been perpetually dehydrated while being here. I also don’t think I’ve been helping my case by continuously opting for wine, either. Hehe, oops?

 Fellow expats in Spain or other countries, what are some things you missed about your home country while living abroad? Or travelers, what was one thing you missed while you were traveling?

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