1. Those long afternoons, evenings and nights spent eating sunflower seeds with your friends.
So maybe you were 17 the last time you did this, but now you desperately look for pipas wherever you are and, the most difficult part, friends with whom to eat them in a park or on the beach.
2. Sleeping in the dark.
You thought it was normal to seek darkness to be able to sleep, but then discovered that’s actually a flaw Spaniards have. The rest of the world, you’ll soon learn, have thicker eyelids and that’s why they don’t need to install blinds on their windows.
3. Tampons with applicator.
You’re a girl and move to another European country, one of those supposed to be more civilized than we are. You discover they are also more skilled and do not need tampon applicators. You feel like a scared preteen again, struggling in the bathroom for too long to insert the damn thing.
4. Getting (free) food with your drink.
Am I supposed to drink this without eating anything? What do you mean if I want food I have to pay for it?
5. Zoning out in front of the TV.
Sometimes you just need to fall asleep to Jorge Javier or Belén Esteban’s soothing voices. Or the weird sense of security you get by turning the TV on after lunch and confirming Jordi Hurtado is still there.
6. Eating merienda!
You still eat something at 6pm in your new country, but it’s suddenly called dinner.
7. Long lunch breaks.
You don’t miss leaving work at 8pm, but how are you supposed to have a proper meal in a 30-minute lunch break without choking? Still a mystery.
8. Bread (to help food onto the fork).
You’re at a restaurant, the waiter comes with your meal. You wonder where the bread is. You ask for it, you assume you’ll have to pay for it, but accept anyway. You take a piece and start doing the normal thing, pushing food onto the fork with it. Everyone’s looking at you. “What? Should I use my finger?” -you wonder.
9. Having a bidet.
Even if you just used it to wash your feet from time to time, you miss its presence. Bathrooms seem incomplete. Not to speak of the weird experience of entering one to discover the WC is in a different room.
10. Bars as a family place.
You run out of milk at home. You suggest having breakfast at a bar. Your roommate gently gives you the phone number of AA.
11. Those puentes throughout the year and oh, the one in December.
Now you’re expected to show up and actually get some work done even though yesterday was a holiday and tomorrow is Saturday.
12. Not having to make difficult calculations when leaving a tip.
Ah, the happy days when you could just leave a tip if you felt like it and didn’t need a calculator to find out the exact amount you had to give.
13. The security of knowing any party can be saved by playing Marisol, Raphael or Rocío Jurado.
Como una ola will unite hipsters, hippies, heavy metal fans and goths in a loud, happy, terribly out of tune chant.
14. Having lunch at your parents’.
Once a month if you live in a different region, once a week to everyday if you live in the same city. Not that you’d be able to do it now with your cruel 30-minute lunch break…
15. Milk & cookies for breakfast.
And dunking anything (cookies! churros! muffins! bread with oil!) in your coffee or colacao without feeling guilty.