“The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side”
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!
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.
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.
4. Fall Foliage. I’ve been spoiled by Massachusetts’ gorgeous colors. Madrid just can’t compare!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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).
12. American Barbeques. Big grills, varied meats (as opposed to pork products only), and lot’s of side dishes and mixed drinks. Perfect.
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!
14. Adorable Nieces (and other family members). I’ll always miss my family wherever I live.
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!
Snow! Just kidding… I actually moved to Spain to escape the snow!
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!
I am in the opposite situation, born and bred in Madrid and living in the US. I have always had a sweet tooth, but I have trouble finding sweets I like in the US! I could write a whole blog post about it! 🙂 Oh, the hot chocolate with churros in San Ginés or Valor (and the Valor chocolate mousse), the spongy sponge cakes with real cream (nata) instead of this frosting that tastes pasty, the great pastries like in Mallorquina or AniMari (a pastelería in Manuel Becerra), my beloved roscón de Reyes, the olive oil muffins (these I make here myself, they are super easy- just 4 ingredients and you can make them in 20 min if somebody shows up at your home for coffee… )The pastries in coffee shops like Starbucks just don’t cut it for me, and I need a pastry to properly enjoy my coffee. 😉
Congratulations on your blog, by the way! I stumbled on it a few days ago while planning a day trip from Madrid to Chinchón for the upcoming summer, and I am hooked reading and enjoying all your posts. What a beautiful story.
How funny! We are such opposites when it comes to sweets! I don’t understand the roscón 🙁 Have ou had a really good homemade carrot cake? Or banana bread? Or lemon pie… 😉
Yeah, I think we are opposites. But you do like chocolate con churros, I have seen in another posts.
I don’t understand the appeal of carrot cake myself, but I don’t think I have tried a homemade one. I like banana bread with coffee. And the lemon pies I tried, even the homemade, tasted too much of sugar.
My husband is not from Spain and does not understand roscón either. I just love it so much! I think, like those things you miss from the US, it is not just the taste, but all the childhood memories.
I love chocolate con churros, but wouldn’t consider it a dessert substitute! You have to make this carrot cake recipe and then let me know what you think (if the frosting is too sweet just dest with powdered sugar– so good!) http://recetasamericanas.com/2012/05/07/tarta-de-zanahoria/. A good lemon pie will be sweet, but have very high acidity from the lemons. Other things to try are a good bread pudding, a great gooey brownie, homemade cookies… the list goes on! I think roscón is definitely something you had to grow up with 😉
“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.
Good vegetarian restaurants
Did I mention Mexican food?
Salsa that was not El Paso
Tortillas (not the egg kind, not the El Paso kind)
Chocolate chip cookies
Readily available organic food
Did I mention Mexican food?
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
haha I can’t believe I never saw this! I miss yards and fall foliage too! and BAGELS!!
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.
I think the deserts are way better in Spain!
No way!!! Like what?
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!!
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!
An Expat in Spain
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:
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.
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!
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 🙁
I miss informal house parties too! We try to have them sometimes here with a mix of expats and Spaniards and they’ve been pretty fun, yet our new place is so small!
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).
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!
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
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!
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!!
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?
Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport
#1 – Customer Service!!! and #2 Grocery Stores
But I will definitely agree with the BBQs and the desserts! Oh and family 🙂
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…)
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!
I know, winter brews are yummy especially with all of the hearty winter food at my house (roasts, chili, shepard’s pie…)
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!
Ohh thanks for the bagel tips! And bagels and blue gatorade is the best ever, I can’t believe you use it too!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
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!!!
Starbucks is usually a similar place no matter the country! Definitely a good remedy for homesickness!
Kaley [Y Mucho Más]
Love that picture of Ale with your uncle! It’s so adorable. I’m pretty sure I have that same photo with Mario and my dad/uncle/grandpa. 🙂
AHHH i miss bagels SO MUCH TOO!!!! they’re all i think about…glad i’m not the only one!
Maybe we should go test the bagels they supposedly sell at Dunkin Coffee… or we could go on a bagel hunt in general, they have to exist somewhere in Madrid!