No two countries are alike (okay maybe the US and Canada come VERY close). So when moving from one to another, it’s normal to miss things about your home country and fall in love with other things that your country does not have. One of my goals as a blogger this year as I live in Spain is to paint an accurate picture of life as an expat. This means that sometimes it’s all sandy beaches, Instagram photos and red wine. Sure, it often is amazing like my weekend in Ibiza. However if I were to pretend that it’s always amazing, I’d be lying to you. And I hate lying to my readers or anyone, for that matter.
There have been some things that I’ve had to adjust to here in Spain. At the end of the day, I do want to stress that I’ve moved from one developed country to another. These are things that yes, I miss. But overall, life is still pretty comfortable here in Spain. So without further ado, here are the 5 US comforts you’ll miss in Spain.
Uber, the super easy ride-requesting service, does not exist here in Spain. I’m not sure all the details, but I heard that they tried it in some of the bigger cities and the taxi drivers got mad. Where I live in Granada, we have taxi stations. Sure, you could also flag one down but it’s often easier to just go to one of the stations. They usually have about three lined up at said stations. However there’s nothing like just touching a button on your phone to request a ride.
I really could have used an Uber the day I moved my suitcases from my airbnb that I stayed at while I searched for a piso to my new piso. The closest taxi stand was a good five or more blocks away and I had to lug it all through the streets. And sure, I could have called a taxi company and requested that they come to my door. But … I just miss Uber. Also being able to pay with your card is amazing. Luckily most taxis are under 5 euro and aside from my move, I rarely take one.
On the upside
All of Europe has something called BlaBla Car. It’s a ride sharing app that makes going from one city to another easy and cheap. I’ve started using it a lot. I wish we had this in the United States.
4. Different shop hours
Now I want to start by saying that I live in Andalusia, the Southern region of Spain that observes the siesta. This means that from the hours of 2-5 the entire town shuts down. People go home to be with their family or nap. Then at 5, you back to work until 9, which is when you eat dinner. Not all parts of Spain observe the siesta but they do all eat dinner at 9.
A scheduled in nap sounds great, right? Before I lived in Spain, the idea of the siesta sounded amazing. However now that I’m here and am programmed to think that business hours are 9-5 like back home, it can be a challenge. Want to go to the bank at 2:30? Nope. Want to by groceries on a Sunday? Nope. And on holidays, literally everything is shut down. The only businesses that don’t close are some of the Chinese-owned shops. It’s not their culture to take a siesta and they probably make a little business by staying open.
On the upside
I love naps.
I love coffee and have to have it every morning. In the United States if I’m running late and have no time to make some at home, I can just stop by any gas station or go through a Starbucks drive-through. Here in Spain, coffee to-go is not so much of a thing. Spaniards do love their coffee just in a cafe where they can enjoy it out of a mug and have a nice chat with their amigo. So either I make it at home or I try to quickly drink a coffee in a cafe. And trust me, I’ve become real good at sitting at the cafe bar, ordering a cafe con leche (coffee with milk), gulping it down and asking “cuanto es?” (how much) in about 10-15 minutes. I think I’ve even done it in 5.
While I love the culture of enjoying your coffee, I also miss my home culture where I think if we invented coffee IV tubes, they’d sell out.
On the upside
Maybe I don’t need huge cups of coffee in my life? Also less littering this way.
2. The hot water not always being on
In the United States anywhere I’ve lived, you just turn the faucet over to the hot side if you want hot water. In my piso here in Spain, it’s not that easy. We have this tank of gas called a bombera hooked up to the water system (and I apologize if this is not the correct lingo … I’m literally just describing it). I then have to turn the switch over to the gas side and hit this button to ignite a flame. Then I have to wait about 30 seconds (I usually just scroll through Instagram) with the gas button pushed in. If I let it out too soon, I have to ignite a new flame. Once it’s lit, I can go take a shower.
One morning the tank ran out of gas in the middle of my morning shower. Like I’m showering like normal and all of a sudden cold water. The funny thing was that I went back to ignite the flame and it stayed … then it would go out when I was in the shower. So after two times of re-lighting the flame with no success, I just washed my hair in the sink and made do. And I was late to my carpool that day.
On the upside
There is none. This was my worst morning in Granada thus far.
1. No clothing dryers
So if you want to buy a dryer, I’m sure you could. However the majority of the people here only have a washer. They then hang their clothing out to dry. In the US, I never realized how last-minute I would do laundry. You take it for granted that drying your clothes takes maybe an hour. Here if I need to do laundry, I have to plan ahead to ensure that the clothing I want to wear is dry for when I want to wear it. That has definitely taken a bit to get adjusted to.
On the upside
Save energy? That freshly-dried smell? Who knows.
Have you made the move to a foreign country? What were some of the things you missed from your home country?