Ever since I was a kid, I had this idea in my head of what I would be like when I grew up. I wanted to be this glamorous woman, with a very important career, very fancy clothes and a very handsome boyfriend. But most importantly: I wanted to live in several different cities. “One every couple of years” I used to say. Some of these ideas faded as I grew older, but the one of constantly moving from country to country remained.
I don’t really know how much of this idea came from what I saw in the media as a kid/teenager, and how much came from being born in a country where the economy wasn’t the greatest. It seemed like the cool thing to do was to despise Spain, and that every other country in Europe was doing things better than we were. Therefore, it seemed like a brighter future awaited in any other country BUT Spain (kinda ridiculous, huh?)
So off I went. My attempts to move abroad were kind of intermittent. I studied German in Berlin for 4 months, came back to Madrid, did a 1 year studying abroad in Hamburg, came back, 4 month internship in Berlin, back again… And eventually in September 2017 moved to Munich, found myself a job, and have been living there ever since.
During this time I kept thinking…
Am I doing it? Am I living this glamorous life 12 year old Isa used to dream of?
And if I am doing it, and if Spain sucks as bad as I thought it did… why do I miss it?
I started feeling guilty for missing my home town, my family, my friends… Like 12 year old Isa would be disappointed that, after all, maybe I am not this glamorous, super important woman. I am trying to come to terms with that feeling. To understand that I need to strive for balance, between my personal and professional life, and that maybe, to find happiness, I do need to be back in my home country.
I have been visiting Spain for the past 10 days, and this visit has inspired all of these thoughts. So while I figure all of that out, here’s a list of some of the things I miss from Spain.
- Having a support system. Knowing that if I need help with health insurance I can call my dad, that if I got a hole in my jeans I can drop by my mum’s and ask her to fix it, that I can ask for the help of friends and family to move to a new apartment, etc.
- Being able to speak in my mother tongue with anyone. I can be my funniest, most creative self when I speak Spanish (she says as she types away in English…). I miss the expressions, the puns and the emotions I am able to portray only in my mother tongue.
- The light. It’s the 28th of April and the sun is setting at 21:05. And the skies are blue. And my soul is happy 🙂
- The food. The healthy, balanced diet, with delicious fish and meat and veggies, and a culture of sharing (tapas) that makes every meal a social event.
- The warmth of the people. I miss becoming someone’s friend in a night, and being able to discuss religion, sex and politics with them without anyone being outraged. As a people-hater introvert I never thought I would be typing this, but maybe all this sunshine has made me delusional.
- Needing less. It might be because people have less money, or because of the weather. But I miss hanging out in a park with some nuts, or beers, instead of going to fancy dinners. I miss wearing nothing but a dress (same dress as yesterday, and the day before that) and a bikini.
I am well aware that I am seeing my country through pink-tinted glasses, and that, if I ever move back, not everything will be unicorns and rainbows, but I thought I would indulge and let myself rave about Spain. How much I love it, and how much I miss it.
What about you? Are you an expat missing your country? Or are you dying to one day move out and get the hell away? Or are you one of the lucky ones, who is content right where they are, and wouldn’t change a thing? In that case, please tell me how you do it!