Now that my classes have come to a close here in Spain, I find myself in a very reflective mood about my whole experience here this summer. At the risk of sounding like a whiny, American “white-girl,” I wanted to write a brief post dedicated to the things I miss about home, not to complain but to analyze the differences between where I am now and where I come from. This isn’t a bitch list of all the things I don’t like about being here, in fact I have loved almost every minute of being in Spain, but that doesn’t mean I (or anyone else studying abroad or living in a new place) can’t long for some of the comforts of home.
1. My car.
This is definitely a reflection of my American-ness and I won’t deny that it reflects the major dependence problem that the United States has on cars. I miss the independence that having my own car provides, being able to jump into my 99′ honda civic go-kart and zoom to the store or anywhere else I need is a thing of beauty I really failed to appreciate before being deprived of it for so long. The transportation in Europe truly is great, the city bus I take to class everyday picked me up right outside my apartment in Toledo and the metro system in the bigger cities is fast and convenient. There isn’t a lack of solid transportation methods here in Spain, I just can’t wait to drive around with the windows down around Minneapolis, soaking up the summer sun for the last bit of august. It’s definitely a control thing, having access to a car means I will never be stranded, which calms my anxiety a bit.
2. Coffee shop culture
One reason I do not loathe having lots of homework or studying to do is that it gives me the excuse to stake out a spot in a local coffee shop and pass a good portion of the day sipping a coffee, using the speedy wifi and getting work accomplished surrounded by others doing the exact same thing. I unfortunately wasn’t really able to find anything like that here, most cafés are for enjoying a beverage over conversation (which is great!) but not designed for posting up with a laptop and hammering out essays. I’m looking forward to getting back and going to a coffee shop in Minneapolis to get a lot of writing done in my blog as well as just getting my life together for the upcoming school year.
3. My dog
Not going to go into too much detail here. I miss my stinky fur nugget.
4. Free water
Also something that needs little explanation. I can’t wait to have unlimited water refills at restaurants and water that doesn’t come from a plastic bottle. I really don’t understand this aspect of Europe. Sure, in some cities and the islands like Ibiza and Santorini, the water tastes nasty because it is desalinated and a salty taste remains. Here in Toledo the water from the tap tastes just fine and it hasn’t made me shit myself yet, as with many other places. Bottled water is a money maker but it’s wasteful and not environmentally friendly at all.
5. The gym
I need to workout. Weightlifting will be a must upon my return to the US.
While it was really awesome having my host mom always cooking for me, I do miss having control over what I eat and I miss cooking, there is definitely a sense of satisfaction that comes with trying a new recipe and having success with it.
7. TV in english. I really don’t watch much TV but being able to relax with a stupid show that I don’t have to mentally translate is always a nice thing to do in the summer.
8. My yard/grass in general: there’s not too much grass here in Toledo.
9. Whiskey Sours. Haven’t been able to find anywhere with sour mix or whiskey that isn’t $10 jack Daniels or scotch whiskey.
10. My family