People everywhere dream of moving to a foreign place and starting a new life. I know tons of Americans alone who are green with envy that I now call Spain my home. It sounds cool yes, but many romanticize the idea, I think. You have to experience it to believe it, but imagine everything you ever knew being gone and everything you ever did being done differently and the very way you functioned non existent in this new place. Not so romantic anymore is it?
“Seriously, are you complaining about living in Europe right now?” You’re probably thinking that out loud, and no I’m not, I’m just a little homesick that’s all. I actually like it here and will like it even more once I can learn to drive stick, decipher the foreign street markers, find my way around alone, make some real friends (besides the family I have here, though they’re great) and identify some cool places to adopt as my go-to resources. I’m talking things like day spas (I have a mani-pedi addiction problem), clothes and shoe stores, mom and pop book shops, corner cafés, etc. Here is what I miss and demand makes its way to the EU / Spain stat:
Walgreens. Yes, there is the classic farmacia here, but it’s not the same. Walgreens has EVERYTHING from flu medicine and baby boogie wipes to bread and chocolate to batteries and light bulbs. If you need it, Walgreens probably has it.
JCREW, Anthropologie, Piperlime, Gap. These are my wardrobe staple brands and homes away from home. Yes, Anthro ships to Europe (thank god!) and there’s a Gap in London, but it’s expensive to ship to Spain, Gap London is ridiculously overpriced in euros and it’s just not the same. Booh. Side note. I do think it’s funny that the classic and super cute mallorquin sandals retail here at about 30+ euros in leather, or less in canvas, and at $108 at Anthropologie 😉
Kitchen & Home Decor. I never thought I’d miss William Sonoma, Crate and Barrel and the like so much. People don’t do decor here like in the U.S. The style is very Scandinavian (I like IKEA as much as the next guy, but not for EVERYTHING) or really expensive and keep-it-forever pieces. Also, from what I’ve seen, there isn’t a sense of homey style or a themed look and rooms just seem kind of thrown together. Maybe I should be an interior designer, but then again, people don’t seem to care much about decor, or maybe I just don’t get the style.
Target. THE one-stop shop for everything at a great price. From detergent and diapers to clothes and shoes to TVs and iPads to food stuffs and sundries, it’s all there. Here we have Carrefour, but it doesn’t really compare.
Babies R’ US. Where the heck do people shop for all of their baby stuff?!
UPS and USPS. I know, I actually miss the mail. The post office here in Puigpunyent is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 10:30 am. Yah.
Movie Theaters. Just kidding, we have those here, but everything that isn’t a Spanish flic is freaking dubbed! In other words, nothing has changed on this front since I lived in Madrid as a student 12 YEARS AGO! Thank god I have a VPN and can watch Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand to my heart’s content, otherwise I’d cry.
The Internet. Yes, there’s Internet access here (my connection is better than the one I had through Comcast in SF, by the by) and some things have websites, but coming from the tech hub that is Silicon Valley, I’m used to doing EVERYTHING online and that just isn’t the custom here. It’s sad. I don’t even know how to do things without the Internet. There’s no Yelp, businesses don’t have ways to make appointments online, there’s Amazon.es thank goodness, but it’s expensive (again, euros). I have to actually talk to people, make phone calls and do other things I either haven’t figured out yet or thought about since the 90s. Weird!
The Weather. Just kidding. So far, it’s just like San Francisco, micro climates and all. Although I hear it gets bloody hot during the summer. Gulp.
Geez, Andrea, what do you like?
I LOVE my little neighborhood. The main drag in Puigpunyent – it’s so small if you blink you literally might miss it – has two little markets, a corner store, a hardware store, a bakery, a pharmacy, two banks, a town hall and a cultural center, three bars, two restaurants, a small menagerie / park, a hotel, a post office, a farm that sells fresh produce, an outdoor rec. center with a pool, tennis courts, etc. a town center / plaza where the townspeople gather to socialize and let their kids run around and play (at the playground), a police station (though I’ve never actually seen any policia) and I’m probably forgetting something else too.
I LOVE how beautiful the ENTIRE island is.
I LOVE the pace of life here. Very chill.
I LOVE Palma. All of the things I miss and then some, are more or less available in some form in Palma. It’s just not the same. I know, I know, poor me.
I LOVE how nice everyone is, especially towards children. EVERYONE says hello when you’re out and about.
I LOVE that my little girl has her grandparents, aunt and uncle, and two cousins only 5 minutes away.
I LOVE how international Mallorca is. No one, except the Mallorquis, and everyone belongs here.
I LIKE the Spanish government. WHAT?! I know, but it’s true, at least today. Sure the bureaucracy couldn’t possibly be any slower here and true the system is slightly corrupt, but what government body isn’t these days. At the end of the day, they’re nice and treat you like people here, unlike the U.S. government, who frankly just doesn’t give a crap.
And when I drive, I’ll LOVE the lack of traffic. That is, if driving in circles around those round-about thingies doesn’t kill me first.