My days in Spain are numbered.
After eight months of working as an English teacher’s assistant at an elementary school and one month of just hanging out in my beloved little town of Antequera, my time here is quickly coming to an end.
It’s been a fun ride these last few months. Of course it was difficult at first as any big move or change in life can be, but I have always loved Spain and after what has been my first long-term stay in the country, this place has grown on me even more.
I find myself spending my last few days here thinking of all the people, places and things I will miss about Spain. Sure, I’ll only be gone for the summer since I’m returning in September for another year of my program, but I still can’t help but think of these things. Like I mentioned before, this place has grown on me.
The Things I Will Miss
Maybe this is a strange thing to miss about a country, but I like living in beautiful places and Spain is gorgeous. Even the most random buildings here can be stunning and I’m talking apart from all the picturesque churches and monuments you can find everywhere here.
The Active Social Life
In Spain, people don’t plan weeks in advance to spend time with their friends or make a simple hangout into a big event that needs to be meticulously organized. Things are simpler here. No planning required. People are always, and I mean ALWAYS, meeting up to grab a beer or a coffee. It could be that everyone here pretty much follows the same eating and working schedule so it’s very easy for a group of friends to all be free at the same time, but whatever the reason is, in some ways I have a more active social life in Spain, and I will miss it.
The Lower Cost of Living
Things may change when you get into the big cities, but in general Spain is not an expensive place to live. Part of the reason why I have such an active social life is definitely because things simply cost less here. Of course all those one-euro tapas can add up real quick, but it’s hard to say no to going out when you can eat and drink well for only five to six euros.
I absolutely love tapas. Not only are they delicious, but they are also very convenient for an indecisive eater like me. In an effort to make up for lost time from my years of being a picky eater, I basically like everything now. Choosing just one plate for dinner is a challenge for me, but with tapas there is no need to suffer. I can have a little bit of everything. Tapas are just the tip of iceberg when it comes to Spanish food. The French may be known for their delicious pastries but the ones in Spain are also heavenly. Thankfully I do a lot of walking here otherwise I would need a new wardrobe for the new waistline these amazing foods would give me.
The winters may be tough here but once the smallest sign of good weather makes an appearance, the Spaniards flock to the loads of restaurants with outdoor terraces and to the many open green spaces and parks that can be found in almost any town no matter how big or small it may be. Spaniards just love to be outside, and I will miss enjoying the fresh air with them.
The Things I Won’t Miss
A lot of people in Spain smoke cigarettes, and because the laws are not very strict here in limiting where people can smoke, I run into smokers everywhere. I don’t have a problem with people who smoke. It is just a little frustrating when I’m enjoying my coffee on a terrace or my ice cream in a park or just walking down the street and I have the smell of smoke or the smoke itself permeating all the air around me. It’s just uncomfortable sometimes.
I hate doing laundry here. I hate it with a passion because I hate hanging all of my clothes on the line to dry. It takes forever for everything to dry and just the hanging of the clothes itself is a long process. In the spring and summer, the clothes usually dry fairly quickly, but I just miss taking my clothes out of a dryer and having them warm and ready right away.
I love to nap. It helps me maintain my night owl lifestyle and scientists even say it’s a healthy habit. So it may come as a surprise, but I won’t miss the official 2 to 5pm naptime of Spain. My reasons are completely selfish. If I am tired, I will take a nap no matter what, but if I want to be productive one afternoon and all the stores are closed for three hours, it can be a little inconvenient. Or in a more common scenario, I wake up on a Saturday at one in the afternoon, and there is zero chance that I will get out of the house in time to do anything before two.
The Use of Cash
It’s a very American habit of mine, but I was used to being able to pay with my bankcard anywhere and everywhere in the US. In Spain, that’s not always the case. I have accustomed myself to carrying cash now, but sometimes I forget and of course those are the times that I can’t find an ATM or the place where I’m trying to buy something doesn’t accept any type of card payments.
The Lack of Toilet Paper
There isn’t an actual lack of toilet paper in Spain, but if you’re a woman and you find toilet paper in a public bathroom here, you better count your lucky stars. I don’t know why, but almost every public bathroom I have used in Spain did not have toilet paper. Let’s just say that I quickly learned why women here almost always have a pack of tissues in their purses.