15 Things I Miss About the US When In Spain

“The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side”

Dad and Bella make sure to keep our grass very green!

This is my mother’s famous quote. And it’s true. When I’m in Spain I miss the US terribly, yet when I’m finally in the US it’s just the opposite! I’m never 100% satisfied. But what exactly do I miss when I’m away? Besides friends and family it isn’t always easy to explain. Let’s have a look!

11 Things I Miss About the US When in Spain

1. Houses with yards. No matter the pueblo or countryside I visit in Spain, houses with yards are few and far between. People tell me that it’s due to strict zoning laws and lack of land… but I see lot’s of green spaces!

A Typical House with a Yard (New Jersey)

2. American Christmas Decor.  It’s just about Thanksgiving time and as nauseating as some Christmas decoration can be, I find myself missing the tasteful and traditional customs like an adorned fireplace and fresh Christmas tree.

Aloise Family Fireplace
Arbol de Navidad Americano
Traditional Christmas Tree

3. Diners. Often open 24 hours a day and full of greasy (but delicious) choices, I find myself missing diners most in the winter when a hot coffee and a grilled cheese sandwich are all I need for a pick me up.

Me at the famous Maine Diner

4. Fall Foliage. I’ve been spoiled by Massachusetts’ gorgeous colors. Madrid just can’t compare!

Fall is Massachusetts is breathtaking.

5. Subs. And I’m not talking about Subway! Whatever you may call them in your state, these sandwich-like concoctions hit the spot when I don’t feel like cooking. Alas, not in Spain!

I miss a good sub (this one has swiss chard and pork, yum)

6. Good Quality Takeout. Speaking of subs, I miss good quality takeout options in general! The takeout pizza and Chinese food I’ve tried in Spain have been among the worst things ever!

Delicious and To Go!

7. Draft Beers/Craft Beers. I love beer but I rarely drink it in Spain. There’s no selection. I’ll stick to their amazing wines most of the time, but sometimes I just want a decent pint!

If you can't decide, get the sampler!

8. 4th of July Fireworks. Obviously Spain isn’t about to start celebrating the 4th of July. But, I wish they had a similar firework friendly national holiday. They’re just so pretty!

Fireworks in Washington DC

9. Eggs for Breakfast. No silly Spaniards, eggs for breakfast are not gross or fattening (well, maybe the ones below are)! They are actually quite nutritious and full of protein to start your day right.

Delicious Eggs Benedict
Desayuno Americano
2 Eggs Over Medium, Taylor Ham, and Hash Browns

10. Bagels. A bagel and blue gatorade is my fail proof cure for a hangover so a country that doesn’t provide this is a dangerous place. Not to mention I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.

What I'd give for an everything bagel...
Bagel with Lox

11. Easter Egg Hunts. They are so much fun for kids and so easy to do! Easter in the US is much “happier” in general (we don’t parade Jesus on the crucifix around town).

Hunting for Easter Eggs with Bella

12. American Barbeques. Big grills, varied meats (as opposed to pork products only), and lot’s of side dishes and mixed drinks. Perfect.

Ale learns how to BBQ with Uncle Mike
We make our skewers from scratch!

13. Delicious Desserts. I have a a sweet tooth. But Spain does not. It’s a country where the dessert menu is often fresh fruit, a Nestle ice cream, or, perhaps, a flan or rice pudding. It’s good for my waistline but bad for my sweet tooth!

The best Key Lime Pie of my life
Tres Leches Cake sounds Spanish... but is not found in Spain!

14. Adorable Nieces (and other family members). I’ll always miss my family wherever I live.

My Bellaroon!

15. Mom’s cooking. It’s delicious, healthy (usually), and always from scratch. How I wish I could just pop in for a Sunday lunch!

Comida Americana
Mom's Winter Menu

Snow! Just kidding… I actually moved to Spain to escape the snow!

It's too cold!

Ok, that was really long. And I’ve realized that I mostly miss food, some holiday traditions, and more food! Oh well, that’s me! Stay tuned for the things I miss from Spain when in the US!

What do you miss from the US when abroad?

Comments

  1. says

    I would miss all of these things as well! I’ve never lived abroad for more than 2 months at a time, so I can’t really answer this question. For some reason when I’m traveling and missing home all I need to do is find the nearest Starbucks and my home sickness goes away!!!

  2. says

    BAGELS & BLUE GATORADE! That’s my hangover cure too, hahaha… There is a place you can get bagels with lox and cream cheese here… ehhh I can’t remember the name, but they have smoothies and stuff too… maybe Juicy Avenue or something? And I miss my dad’s BBQ and mom’s homemade cooking too. But I feel spoiled with good food here as well, and I’ve been able to find ingredients for a lot of my favorites at home! Oh, but I would kill for a good microbrew. And not one that puts me back over 5 euros!

  3. says

    ugghg number seven. forever and ever and ever. one of the things I’m looking forward to the most about going home for Christmas this year is the abundance of winter brews I’m sure to encounter. yum yum!

    • says

      I have a strange obsession with the grocery stores here. If I see a brand of grocery store that I haven’t been into yet, I need to try it to see if they have anything different than the others. The problem is that many times (like tonight) I end up going to 3 stores before having all the ingredients for dinner (tonight it was a quest for coconut milk…)

  4. Jimy says

    I got to a point once of desperation where I MADE bagels…you have boil,broil and bake them!!! Luckily now I can get them in Gibraltar or local English shop (sometimes!)..so no more cravings for me. Oh how I miss a snow day, when it rains I pretend it’s a snow day. Fall foilage can never be replaced, but got my sweet tooth covered with homemade brownies a la mode, carrot cake, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies etc… and Saturdays and Sundays are bacon and egg and homemade pancake day. You can tell I’ve been here a while!!! 17 years ago you couldn’t even get any Mexican products at the grocery, now that’s torture!!

    • says

      Wow! Go Jimy lol. I always baked in the US but my first year here hardly baked at all due to oven issues, no baking pans, and lack of ingredients. But three years in to my life in Spain I’m glad to say that is changing. Of course in Madrid I can find most pans and ingredients fairly easily, but I’m also getting used to adapting the recipes to the metric system for friends. The Spaniards love the American Brownies! I’ve thought about making bagels, and I might have to try it some time. How did they turn out?

  5. Ellie says

    Lauren I love reading your blog; it makes me feel like you still around… just yesterday me and Gabriel were cleaning the magnetic on the fridge and I was explaining each one of them to him, we came across one that you gave me from Portugal that I adore. Miss u girl. I am HAPPY that you are HAPPY! ;) lots of love, Ellie

    • says

      I miss you guys too! I’ve been looking for someone to practice Portuguese with here… so far I haven’t found anyone! But there is a Brazilian bread shop that sells Coxinha!

  6. says

    You are killing me… eggs benedict and craft beer. I would kill to have either of those right now (but preferably the beer, served in a lamp or whatever that great structure is in your picture).

    • says

      Haha it does look like a lamp doesn’t it! Eggs benedict are so delicious. And they’re something I rarely make at home because they’re kind of labor intensive, which is why they’re a perfect breakfast out. Actually I’ve heard they make them at a semi-American breakfast restaurant here in Madrid so if you ever make your way up we’ll have to investigate!

  7. says

    Although I´m from London, I agree with you on most of those things! When I first got here I really missed takeaways (especially curry!), the BBC and good programmes, transport (I like in the campo), informal parties where people stand around and talk and laugh and get a little silly in their own homes…and of course friends and family :(

  8. says

    I couldn’t agree with your list more, though I would add spicy food (Tex-Mex or Asian). I laughed when I saw your tween for this entry this past Monday, since I had just finished writing two entries on “echar de menos” and places I rely on in Valencia when I miss home. Great minds think alike? Or maybe it is just this time of year. Anyway, I mentioned your post in it:

    http://nothemingwaysspain.blogspot.com/2011/11/local-vocab-echar-de-menos-homesick-in_25.html

    Re: baking in Spain. My wife had the same problem when we first moved back here from the States. She loves to bake, and we find it a mystery that in a country with such a strong “horno” tradition there is zilch tradition in home baking. (Or does that explain the mystery?) Needless to say, we’ve managed to find reliable suppliers and workarounds for most of our favorite goodies. Though bagels are a serious challenge.

    • says

      Definitely miss spicy food but I make it a lot at home! I always have tons of hot sauces and cayenne pepper etc. that I stock up with on trips to the US. I’ll have to check out your entries– this week has been a bit crazy and I’ve neglected reading some of my fav. Spain blogs! :) As for baking, like you say it’s mostly trial and error. The oven here is a strange concept for many and never the right temperature!

  9. Elle says

    Isn’t it fascinating how strongly we associate food and feeling at home?

    Anyhow, if you’re looking for a night filled with fireworks in Spain, check out the “nit de foc” (night of fire in valenciano) in Valencia during Fallas. Put my little Grand Rapids, MI fireworks to shame!!

    • says

      Food is practically number one when feeling at home! It is associated with friends, family… & comfort in general. The fireworks in Valencia sound awesome– we were there for La Masclata last year but want to go back for Las Fallas!

  10. says

    Oh, the list goes on! I wrote a similar post, around the time I was heading back to the U.S. for a long visit, and ended up writing a reverse list about all the great things I was already missing in Spain.

  11. maria rodriguez says

    Lauren, No me extraña que eches de menos estas 15 cosas, lo que me extraña es que no eches de menos muchas más. Bueno te lo digo porque yo soy una española que me encantaría irme a EEUU a vivir de hecho, espero terminar trabajando allí.
    Me gustan mucho tus artículos y tus recetas, de hecho alguna vez te he enviado un correo, siempre con tu contestacion, de no sé si te acuerdas la receta de tarta de manzana típica americana.
    Me alegra mucho haber encontrado tu página
    Un abrazo

    Maria

  12. says

    Mexican food
    Thai food
    Indian food
    Ethiopian food
    Sushi
    Good vegetarian restaurants
    Bagels
    Did I mention Mexican food?
    Salsa that was not El Paso
    Tortillas (not the egg kind, not the El Paso kind)
    Soy chai
    Chocolate chip cookies
    Readily available organic food
    Did I mention Mexican food?

  13. Ve says

    “And I’ve realized that I mostly miss food, some holiday traditions, and more food! Oh well, that’s me!”

    LOL me too. I feel like I really didn’t miss too much about my life in the U.S. while living in Seville, but I could relate to quite a bit of this list and the above sums up why, heh. I felt like I had plenty of dessert options though, but maybe not-so-much at actual restaurants as a last course to a meal.

    Speaking of diners, in Seville I missed 24-hour ANYTHING. There was a 24-hour pharmacy in Triana at least, but pretty much nothing else.

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