20 American Things I Miss in Spain

Hi everyone! Things have been a bit quiet on the blog since I’m currently in Arkansas spending time with family and friends. I’ve been here just under a week and have been enjoying my visit immensely. I’ll share some tales and pictures soon!

In the meantime, let’s address which American items I miss while in Spain. This question comes from relatives, auxiliares hauling anchor to Madrid, as well as curious Spanish coworkers. Though I miss the people the most, here are some things I’d love to stick in my bag (and just might do at the end of my trip)!

Note: Keep that in mind that some of the items will naturally reflect the rural-urban divide between Madrid and small-town Arkansas.

20 American Things I Miss in Spain

  • (Southern) Hospitality – People are nice to strangers. They hold the door open, ask how you’re doing, and give a friendly wave while driving. I’m pretty sure I could run into someone with a grocery cart and they would still be the one to say, “Oh, sorry!”
  • Flavors of home – fresh-baked bread, chocolatey desserts, familiar spices, food on the grill, and garden produce, ñam ñam!

Bruschetta with tiny tomatoes, basil, onion, and garlic from the garden

  • Mexican food and restaurants
  • Baking products – chocolate chips, pecans, malt powder, Mexican vanilla, natural peanut butter, heavy-duty aluminum foil, parchment paper, etc…
  • Condiments – I like olive oil but come on, sometimes you want something different to put on your salad or sandwich. Also, sandwiches with tomatoes and lettuce and actual THINGS besides just a piece of jamón or queso.
  • Speaking English - While I love speaking Spanish, I also like being able to make puns and hear expressions I don’t often hear in Spain. I’m also better able to express myself, which is always welcome.
  • 24-hour stores and longer hours for banking and other services
  • Customer service - It exists. Y punto.
  • Carpeting
  • Second-hand stores - Books! Clothes! Yessss!
  • Driving!
  • NPR - bonus points for listening while driving
  • A wide variety of beer  – Mahou, Cruzcampo, and Estrella, you are soooo boring and all taste the same.
  • Toiletries, specifically Degree Deodorant and Glide floss - Spain is no third world country, but there are specific brands I miss.

A floss boquet? Don’t mind if I do.

  • Shopping for shoes
  • Wide-open spaces
  • FREE drink refills at restaurants - I’m even talking about water here. Do you know how long I have to wave my arms around before a waiter notices I need something in Spain? And don’t get me started on how long it takes to get the bill…
  • Craft stores - Seriously, Spain, can you not provide a place where I can buy yarn, sketchbooks, googley eyes, scrapbook paper, jewelry findings, sewing notions, and paper crafts all in one place?? No? You’d rather send me to seek out each and every product at a specialty store like the Pipe Cleaner Tienda? No, thanks.
  • Ziploc bags - 2.5 gallon bags are my go-to travel item! On weekend trips I always pack clothes inside of them to suck out all the air and travel compactly. And of course the smaller bags are oh-so useful, as well.

Carrefour’s sandwiches bags are PERFORATED, rendering them completely useless for the things I want to use them for

And last but not least…

  • Everyday luxuries - Air conditioning, automatic ice-cube dispensers, dryers….the list could go on and on!

What items from your home country do you miss when you’re away?

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