The Bitter and the Sweet

Karie on Aug 7th 2008 04:53 pm

With the date of our return to the U.S. being just under a month away, I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking.  Shocking, I know.  Anyhow, while I am excited to go home, I am also very sad to leave Barcelona.  I was finding it difficult to summarize the reasons why, so I went back to one of my favorite activities – I made lists.  I even solicited Scott’s help, which he eagerly gave, despite the fact that he does not share my passion for list-making.

These are by no means all-inclusive. In fact, we probably won’t even realize most of the things that we’ll miss until we’re gone, but here are a few things that quickly come to mind:

What We Will Miss About Living in Barcelona:

  • Friends we’ve made here
  • Traveling frequently
  • The markets
  • Bocadillos (a super cheap sandwich on a baguette; our favorite is chorizo and cheese)
  • Not needing a car (walking everywhere or taking the great public transit)
  • Bicing (a service for residents that gives you access to thousands of bicycles around town for 24€ for the whole year)
  • Hanging laundry outside to dry (I realize I could do this at home, but not without the neighbors thinking I’m weird)
  • The warm and beautiful Mediterranean Sea
  • Neighbors, whom we lovingly refer to as: Orange Peel Guy, Monochromatic Laundry Lady, Antoni The Catalan, Celia’s Friend, and Dog with the Funny Bark
  • People here actually go places on the weekends instead of cleaning and running errands
  • Manchego cheese
  • Budget airlines (ClickAir specifically… even though they lost our luggage)
  • Stumbling upon random parades, music and fiestas in the streets
  • Spanish children, specifically Celia’s Friend (see “Neighbors” above)
  • Funny Christmas traditions
  • Double cheek kisses hello & goodbye
  • Lack of frivolous lawsuits and political correctness
  • Getting emails/comments from strangers on our blog (as well as from people we know!)
  • A real reason to use Guiseppe, our GPS device (this is one of Scott’s contributions, in case you couldn’t tell)
  • Being sheltered from the media
  • Monday or Saturday… no difference to us!
  • “Mañana, mañana, mañana…”

What We Will Not Miss:

  • Pick pockets and purse snatchers
  • The Euro (what a budget buster!)
  • RyanAir
  • Paying .45 cents for 2 ice cubes
  • 63 stairs to get home (not just regular stairs, but crooked/uneven stairs that are older than the United States!)
  • The mullet as an acceptable fashion statement
  • Putting bread on your table that you don’t ask for, then charging you for it
  • Mediocre Mexican food
  • People cutting in line (apparently it is acceptable here to step in front of anyone who makes the mistake of leaving a small space between themselves and the person ahead of them)
  • The clothes we brought with us
  • “Mañana, mañana, mañana…”

What We Look Forward to in the good ol’ USA:

  • Family & Friends
  • Penny Lane (best dog ever)
  • Meeting Davis (our godson), as well as other friends’ babies that were born since we moved
  • CVCF
  • My shoes, clothes and accessories
  • Full time dual income
  • Target.  Ah, Target.
  • Cheez-Its
  • Jiff peanut butter (although we’ve had plenty of this here thanks to our smugglers visitors)
  • Reasonably priced Listerine
  • Good & affordable sushi
  • Having a toilet paper holder
  • A full size shower with good water pressure, and a hot water tank that lasts longer than 5 minutes (to quote our friend Neal from Ireland, “Taking a shower in America is like getting shot with a firehose.” We miss that.)
  • Knowing where to find what I need (Thanks for sending me the rubber bands Dev!)
  • Understanding everything everyone says (in most neighborhoods)
  • Having our friends from Barcelona come visit

…Just to name a few.

I’m sure we’ll think of many more things over the next few weeks, but perhaps this list will help you understand our mixed emotions about moving back to the U.S.  Silly as they may be, apparently these things that first come to mind are what’s important to us.  Did we forget anything?  Feel free to add your two cents if there’s some treasure that we’ve neglected to mention.

Filed in Spain,Travels | Comments (10)

10 Responses to “The Bitter and the Sweet”

  1. Mary/Momon 07 Aug 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Loved the lists. The picture of Penny got me. Reason enough to come home and kiss the ground.

    Add things that should be missed in BCN:
    -That huge cool market near your flat with skinned sheep heads and…um…other parts.
    -Gaudi everywhere you turn
    -Weekend hops to whole other countries. Here we call them states.
    -How could you not miss nearly everything in a country that loves throwing food, outrunning wild beasts and nearly setting themselves on fire to celebrate.

    Not so missed in BCN:
    -Salt cod (scott won’t miss that)

    Looking forward to in US:
    -A real garden. No, those herbs on your windowsill don’t qualify.
    -Pedicures that cost less than $80


  2. Nancyon 07 Aug 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Ah, Manchego cheese! I can only imagine how great it would be there…My mom and I had it for the first time in Seattle, but it was imported from Spain. I’ve seen it here only once, a different brand than we had in Seattle, and it was not even close to good! We had El Trigal brand in Seattle. You can order it to be delivered, but it’s $35 a pound. Once you’re back on two incomes, that won’t be so bad for a splurge! 🙂 I haven’t ordered it yet myself, but will some day!

    Actually, it’s $20/lb here:

  3. dadon 07 Aug 2008 at 6:44 pm

    #1 on the list of Look Forward to was noticably missing. i know you are coming back to politically correct USA but between you and me… it is ok to say… DAD!!!!

  4. Sarahon 07 Aug 2008 at 7:42 pm

    mmm. manchego. smuggle some of that home wontcha ?!

  5. Scotton 07 Aug 2008 at 8:07 pm

    My Mom’s comment reminded me of more…

    Jamón Ibérico – which she already mentioned
    Arbequina Olives

    Yes, all food but that’s what unites and also makes the world unique.

  6. Devonon 07 Aug 2008 at 11:24 pm

    I’m so excited for you guys to come back to the U.S. so we can see you again. Thrilled that Davis made the list of what you are looking forward to. I told him and immediately after he let out a little squeal. haha Can’t wait to see you two!!


  7. sarahon 08 Aug 2008 at 3:55 am

    I slightly hate it when you post because it consumes my thoughts for a few days, but I thought I would mention that your stay list seems a little more appealing than the home list, especially if it meant you would stay long enough for us to retry our visit.
    just thinking…


  8. Karieon 08 Aug 2008 at 10:23 am

    @Mom/Mary: Great contributions… except that our “urban garden” is on our “terrace”, not a windowsill! Just happens to be a very, very small terrace. 🙂

    @Nancy: That’s crazy – I had no idea manchego was so expensive over there! It can get a little pricey here for the aged types, but you can also get some decent stuff for about the price of cheddar in the US.

    @Dad/Darrell: I thought you qualified as “family”, which was mentioned first on the list? Is this because Penny got her own line item and you didn’t? Sorry. 143. 🙂

    @Sarah: I’m trying to figure out a way to smuggle dairy products for about 24 hours of travel (door to door) w/o refrigeration. Any ideas? Oh, and I agree that our Spain list looks a lot more exciting than the Home list, but a few things on the Home list pull a lot of weight, i.e., family, friends, jobs/money. 🙂 We need to save up so we can continue scouting out more of the world. We’re still on for that 10-year anniversary trip in Spain though. 2013!

    @Scott: What were we thinking when we left those off the list in the first place?

    @Devon: I’m so glad to hear that Davis is looking forward to meeting us as much as we’re looking forward to meeting him. Can’t wait to see you guys!

  9. Nomadic Matton 09 Aug 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Europeans just don’t know how to form a proper line. Well, they do in England but that’s it!!

    I’m sure you’ll get “barcelona sick” when you get home but sometimes, it’s good to go home.

    I’ll still come and read your blog if you update it.

  10. Karieon 10 Aug 2008 at 9:08 pm

    @Matt: I think you’re right – we’ll be itching to come back to Barcelona by the time the jetlag wears off. Oh, and I’m sure I’ll still have plenty to say when we get home, so the blog will continue in some way, shape or form!

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