10 things I miss from Spain living abroad (besides family and friends)

9:00 AM

10 things I miss from Spain being abroad Erasmus Italy experience fashionblogger, something fashion valencia truth behind living abroad

Sometimes I feel like I came to Italy with very few prejudices about the daily life here, mainly because I visited the country a couple of times before settling for a year abroad, maybe because they say Spain and Italy are almost the same thing. Now, I feel like I'm coming back home to Valencia  for Holiday Season; sadly loaded not only with more prejudices and things I didn't expect at all weren't true (but they've been anyway for my astonishment), but also, to realize that there are almost 10 things I really miss back home and never expected to miss when I first came with the idea of taking the Erasmus+ Programme. Here we go with the list, and my reasons why I miss these things so much (apart from friends and family, which, of course I miss being here too).

#1 Seriousness when doing every quotidian thing
I can't even believe I haven't been registered at the University's online system YET, when almost one third of the academic year has passed by, or that I still arrive every morning to my lessons without being sure if the lesson will be delayed or cancelled for any reason. There are no boards or places for you to know it, and you don't have any clue this is happening until you realize THERE'S NO ONE IN CLASS (for some reason, all the Italians seem to know...)

Still, I can't figure out why I don't have any classes on Friday when I registered for a class which is supposed to be taken in Thursdays+Fridays, or why I've been assigned to do a consignment in the next three days while our project hasn't been developed enough to achieve such detail level (nor anyone in the classroom has achieved such detailed floor plans anyway, but still, they seem OK with that consignment...).

#2 Late hours for everything
I miss having lunch at my regular Spanish time, which is around 3p.m. in the afternoon. I am aware that closing shops at 9 or 10 p.m. is not very normal, and threatens any kind of work-family balance but still, I can't get used to shops or anything closing by seven in the evening! That's the time I usually go out of home to have the evening snack filled with coffee or hot chocolate while doing some shopping. Not nice!

#3 Stuff with regular prices
This might be happening because I live in a flat at the very center of Firenze which is like, the most touristy spot on one of the most touristy places in all the planet. I'm used to my regular, neighbourhoodish grocery stores in Valencia, and being almost 20 minutes far from the furthest big supermarket (plus, having a car for doing big grocery shopping, which helps). Although finding stationery stores, places to print our plans, pharmacys and other regular stuff here in Firenze is way easier than I expected, I still can't figure out how to deal with the crowds of tourists and guides walking around people whenever I'm heading to class.

10 things I miss from Spain being abroad Erasmus Italy experience fashionblogger, something fashion valencia truth behind living abroad

#4 5L water carafes
This might sound a bit silly, but I don't find any sense in buying 10 bottles of water for our flat which take up a lot of space (and mean an absolute hell when buying them and heading home) instead of two carafes of 5L of water! When at home, my dad usually is the one who buys these huge water carafes which last almost all the week and which we use to refill a jug. It's easier for me this way but I never found huge water carafes here in Italy!

#5 Affordable and quality clothing stores
OK. Zara and Mango may not be the best example for quality clothing, and although I've been trying lately to buy less fast-fashion items, they come in really handy when you need a basic top, or pants, or shirt. But here in Firenze those stores are about 10€ to 20€ over the price in Spain, and the options remaining to do shopping are costly as well. My only hope here is buying at the Internet, and isn't comfortable at all because you have to wait home until the postman arrives with your package (which happens at the most unexpected times, as when you're having lunch, or having your afternoon rest, or early in the morning and you have to literally jump off bed...).

#6 My closet
I never considered myself as a materialistic one but gosh do I miss heading to the closet every morning and having more than 2 different options to choose... Or having some margin when picking the "pullover for freezing temperatures" which, being abroad means only having one specific for that purpose. Or the shoes. God bless cardboard boxes and cheap mail fees between Spain and Italy which allowed to send some extra flat shoes, but now I would put onto that box an extra pair of sneakers...

#7 Not being treated as a child/foreigner/stupid
This might be one of the things that pisses me off the most being abroad. Being foreign doesn't mean I'm automatically stupid. Just because I don't speak fluently Italian, it doesn't mean I must be the target of all kinds of overpriced stuff vendors and scams when going to the market to buy a sack of potatoes and onions; nor I should be treated like I don't know what I'm doing in my lessons just because I draw and show my floor plans different than they do here.

I've 5 years of technical studies on my back, thank you very much; and just because I didn't want to paint my floor plans with that horrible, striking green color like you do here, it doesn't mean my architecture is not as valid (and good quality) as yours.

#8 The neighbourhood I live in
I must say this is a kind of hate-love relationship for me. On one side, I don't miss the fact that every time I stepped out home I felt thousands of eyes on me, be it because my family has always lived in the same neighbourhood, be it because my parents also have a strong relationship with the community and all I know is being known as "the granddaughter of" or "the child of". But, on the other side, I feel like I really miss the sense of security and familiarity this gives to me. Being abroad means no one asks you how your grades are or how was your week at the shops where you usually go; or going to the pharmacy and never having to explain what kind of cream for atopic skin you're looking for because they already have it for you.

10 things I miss from Spain being abroad Erasmus Italy experience fashionblogger, something fashion valencia truth behind living abroad

#9 Knowing every place to go beforehand
On one hand, I love discovering new places to eat or have a cup of coffee but, on the other side, I hate not knowing if I will be charged extra for sitting outside, or if the place will close soon after we arrived there. When in Spain, I'm quite familiar with the places I should go to when I want to have a drink in the afternoon, or were it will be less crowded for lunch, or were not to go to do some shopping in Friday evening because it will be full of people. Maybe it's because I haven't met any locals yet who can advise me the best places to do things (all the people I've met here come from other Italian cities or areas) or because whenever I discover any place I'm pleased with, I just settle in and stick to it in every occasion. I don't know.

#10 The university's Campus
When at home before the Erasmus programme, the university campus at the Polytechnic University of Valencia was one of the things I underappreciated the most and now that there's nothing like it where I'm studying, I really miss sitting in the grass, having a huge amount of services almost next door to the classroom (where's the sense of having the Architecture Library almost 2km away from the School of Architecture?) and having the possibility to have lunch with my friends at other Faculties because they're literally in the building right in front of the Architecture School.

Don't get me wrong: I like being here. I've finally got the freedom and independence I was looking for, and although not many, I've actually met some Italian people who are amazing and have helped me a lot. I've visited places I never thought I could be even close to in the map, and despite all, I'm learning a new language with little but steady steps. Piano, piano. That's how it's said around here.

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2 comentarios

  1. I'd struggle with places closing at seven in the evening too! Haha



About Amanda

About [span]me[/span]

Hi! I'm Amanda, from Valencia (Spain).

I like all things vintage and classy. I study Architecture and I'm an epée fencer.

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