20 Spanish Things I Miss in America

It happened when I noticed all the camo. When the waiter was so nice and attentive that it took me off guard. But perhaps there was nothing as striking as when I was at a bookstore and looked across the street at my next stop, realizing I would never walk there. No, I had driven my car and wouldn’t dare cross a small but treacherous stretch of road where the drivers were unaccustomed to pedestrians. I recognized this feeling: reverse culture shock.

Just as I miss American products and customs in Spain, there are irreplaceable Spanish items and mindsets that I miss when I visit the States. Even though I miss the people more (here’s looking at you, Andres), I do have material things that I miss as well:

20 Spanish Things I Miss in America

  • Laid-back, money-isn’t-everything mentality
  • Easy access to travel all over Europe
  • Central meeting areas like town squares
  • Awesome and affordable Spanish wine

Spanish Things I Miss in America

  • Spanish food such as: Olive oil, olives, cured meats and cheeses, fresh fish, croquetas…
  • Terraces at bars and restaurants
  • The way people dress a more formally
  • Places with a ton of history – Not to say that the States don’t have their history–they do. But in this case Europe has just a few years on us.

Spanish Things I Miss in America

Climbing through history at Almodóvar del Río (near Córdoba)

  • Puentes and lots of vacation days
  • Dry temperatures (read: little humidity)
  • Weekend adventures in a place where I can always explore something new (an unknown neighborhood, a different park, a new store…)
  • The mid-morning pause for coffee…and cafés on every corner

Spanish Things I Miss in America

Coffee at Madrid’s Gaudeamus

  • Dos besos
  • Cheap meds
  • Widespread public transportation
  • Going out for dinner at 9 or 10 pm. - I love the way people are out and about until really late in the night, it gives the evening a social, festive feel.

Spanish Things I Miss in America

Sevilla — Look at all these people out at night!

  • Spanish/European pastries – Croissants! Apple puff pastry! Napolitanas de chocolate!
  • Speaking a foreign language and the opportunity to learn more every day
  • Paseos
  • Being able to walk to the post office, the bank, the grocery store, etc.

What else would you add to this list?

P.S. On the flip side, here are 20 American things I miss in Spain.

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19 Comments

  1. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!!! I miss all of these :(

  2. I walked around Seville last night – so many people out! I definitely miss that when I’m home.

    • Cassandra

      Same here! It’s funny to think of how many stores and restaurants are already closed at the same time when Spaniards are starting to go out…!

  3. Thank you for the link :)

    I am really trying to muster up ganas to go back, but I just don’t have them. I bawled like a baby when I had to say goodbye to my brother. I can deal with not having some foods and not having a car, but I am noooot okay with being so far away!!

  4. I miss these things about Spain slash Europe too, even though I haven’t been fortunate enough to live there yet! Even a few days is enough to appreciate most of these :)

    • Cassandra

      Erica, you’re totally right! During my first (short) trip to Europe, I was charmed by the terrace cafes, social life, easy-peasy public transportation, and history.

  5. Ohhhh I miss all these things so much already! That first picture of you is a scene I thought nothing of while living there but that basically sums up life in Spain (including the useless napkins) and makes me so nostalgic!

    • Cassandra

      The napkin comment is spot-on. They smear around the very grease you’re trying desperately to get rid of but restaurants wouldn’t be the same without ‘em!

  6. Ahhhh, this is such a good list. I could call this ‘reasons I love Spain’!

    The only thing I don’t miss when away is the dos besos. I find it somewhat liberating that I don’t have to kiss anyone and everyone on the cheeks, people I meet for the first time etc. I thought I would get used to it, and I have- just not 100%. Many times I wish I could just wave my hand at the group of 15 people when leaving a bar/restaurant, instead of spending another half hour saying goodbye and kissing everyone :) (I might be weird, but that’s how I feel!)

    • Cassandra

      This example reminded me of a funny story: once, my boyfriend and I were at a cafe at a busy time of day. We were seated at one of those big, communal tables where a small party was already sitting. Later, some friends arrived to join them, and they bent down to give dos besos; when they arrived to us they thought we were also part of the group and were about to give us some kisses, too! We quickly explained that we weren’t with the main group, but it made for a pretty funny incident.

  7. I miss all of these things too! I definitely miss learning and discovering something new every day, because it always keeps things interesting.

    And the public transportation thing always drives me nuts within a day or so of being home. I especially miss Barcelona’s community bike program and biking everywhere. I guess I could do it at home too, but it’s so much harder to walk or bike anywhere.

    • Cassandra

      Madrid isn’t as bike-friendly as cities like Barcelona or Valencia–I wish we had those bikes to rent, as well! It definitely is more difficult to get around the States in smaller towns though, bikes or not :/

  8. you shouldn’t miss the puentes and long vacations/holidays.

    one thing that i like about the USA is the short vacations thing that makes the whole country be better with people working hard and building their future with hard work, whereas in Spain we tend to be lazy always asking for benefits from the govertment, always asking for more holidays, with our Unions or “sindicatos” as we call them asking for less work with higher salaries, which is a total ruin for any country, sure :)

  9. Yes to the language learning and the dos besos thing too! Although in Colombia, it’s only one. It makes meeting and greeting so much more simpler as now back in the UK, I’m faced with so many different options, I have the awkward moment when I have to decide if it’s a lean for a kiss or a hug or what. Keep it simple people.

    • Cassandra

      Oh, man, I had problems with the one-beso greeting in Colombia! I am so used to giving dos besos that I kept going in for a second cheek peck. Not the mistake to make when meeting your boyfriend’s childhood friends for the first time…

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20 American Things I Miss in Spain

I am often asked which American items I miss while in Spain. Though I miss the people the most, here...

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