“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”
When I say that I’ve been living in Spain for a while now and over the time people ask me “Do you miss England?” and, like always, I reply “Not really. I miss my family, but not really England”. I’ve said it so often that it becomes a natural reaction. The response is so common that I don’t think I even stop to question, do I actually miss England?
As it comes into winter, it’s usually when I find myself a little homesick. After spending the summer surrounded by family, it’s a shock to go back to spending time just the three of us again. The apartment feels bigger, yet quieter. The once bustling apartment with people dotted around suddenly becomes much quieter.
I love the Autumn and Winter here, there’s no way I miss waking up and seeing the grey drizzly skies, but the lack of people gets tough. Once busy streets and bustling bars become locked up shells of a business and the once hectic pavements are reserved just for you. Although it comes every year, you’re still taken back by it each time, like a wave of emotion.
It’s times like those that I start to remember what I miss about being back in England. Things we’d do, places we’d go. The place where no matter what time of year, you’d still see the same faces around. Even if people were cosied up more at home in the winter due to the cold, but you’d still see more people at work. I think it makes a bigger difference for me working in such a small workplace. Being a small group of 5, there are never many people to smile at in the corridor or have a chat with on your lunch break.
Perhaps the fact that I miss England sometimes will come as a surprise, or perhaps you’ll think, well obviously. But admitting I miss home at times is something I don’t even admit to myself at times.
Sometimes, I miss it a lot more than others. I miss having our families in the same country and knowing that they can help sort out something straight the way. I miss having friends in the same city that I could meet up with for a coffee or a cocktail without having to match our times to schedule a 30-minute gap.
For somebody who isn’t living the other side of the continent, it all seems mundane and trivial to miss things other than your family.
Moving away you start to appreciate the little things. It’s not that we haven’t created a wonderful life in the sun but sometimes, we get homesick and that’s perfectly normal.
The distance has taken a toll on so many friendships that have dwindled away and I know it’s hard on many people, so I sometimes feel selfish. I don’t regret moving to Alicante at all and I love it here. This is where I want my life to exist. But, sometimes, I wish that all the people I love from back home could be here as well, selfish right?
So, here’s what we miss about home and how we deal with homesickness.
Family and Friends
The beauty of technology means that family are only a call or a FaceTime away. I try to head back to England for a weekend once a month or once every other month in winter. We also keep up with what friends and family are doing over on social media. I always find it hard visiting family briefly when I head back and even more so in June.
This was one thing that I found quite difficult. I love going to the cinema and watching the new releases. I love watching the trailers and deciding which film I’m going to see next (all of them and then I forget and watch none). Since getting a car, this has become so much easier. We now head over to the cinema 45 minutes drive away and watch the big releases. Even if the popcorn isn’t as good.
I must say, I do miss TV in the UK a lot. Spending all summer scrolling social media seeing updates about love island and having no clue what’s going on makes you feel like an outsider. I don’t even like Love Island, it’s ridiculous isn’t it? The fear of missing out is real. I definitely miss being able to watch whatever trash everybody else is watching, though having Netflix has made a massive difference, there was only so much Big Bang Theory I could watch before I went insane.
Straight forward paperwork
Not being fluent is the hardest when it comes to paperwork. Things that were so easy in England like nipping and sorting something at the bank or reading paperwork from work is 10000 times harder when it’s in your second language. Loopholes, appointments, residency paperwork, contracts, they’re all just so hard work when you’ve got to do it in a language you’re not completely confident in.
Comfort food restaurants
Yep, I miss you Nando’s and TGI’s. Sometimes I’d love a Jack Daniels chicken wing or a half chicken lemon and herb but, there’s not a chance I’m getting it here. Don’t get me wrong, I love so many restaurants here and we can get things that are similar, but they’re just not the same. I did use to miss a good fish and chips but we’ve found our local favourite now. Northern Sole in the Old Town for anybody wondering!
I adore the Spanish language. I love listening to it and I love speaking it, when I feel confident. But, I get so self conscious that I’ll say something wrong or sound funny that I don’t do it. I know how words should be and I can hear other people’s errors so I get conscious that people are picking up mine. I try to practise Spanish on Duolingo regularly and use as much Spanish as I can when I’m out. Alex and I also talk Spanish to each other sometimes. But, when the language is causing me grief, I try to remember to be kinder to myself and remember that I’m doing my best and it will improve. Every day I learn something more, or piece something else together. Then, I plan to work on more of my Spanish. Yep, I did just recently finish an entire Spanish workbook in just two hours.
I missed having a hobby. Whether that was cheerleading or dancing or something else I was flitting between, but since opening my blog it’s given me something to work on and build. It’s like when you’d have to do a project of your choice at school and it was the best task ever. Seeing your work come together. Seeing people enjoy what you put out or the ideas it’s given them or how it’s helped them. Even if it’s just a moment of escape, or some information about where to go. I love that it helps other people as well as me. Plus, the odd freebies are always amazing, especially when I can treat my family to them too, like when we headed to the Escape Room or when we jetted off to Edinburgh and Seville.
You all know how I like to save my shopping for when I’m in England. They just don’t have as good shops here as they do back home. The Primark just isn’t as good, there aren’t so many designer shops selling authentic designer gear and Bershka and Pull and Bear just aren’t as good as TopShop and New Look. I love heading back to Fosse when I’m back in Leicester. But, I love coming back home with my new bits and pieces and taking photos of them here!
I love living in Spain and I love the new life we’ve adapted and built. I’m hoping that at some point we can have our house in the mountains, with the garden for Rio to play and the double door fridge.
Some days we do miss England, but the best way to cope is to remember the reasons you moved in the first place and took the plunge. Look for ways to expose those reasons and embrace them. If all else fails, book yourself a flight to visit family or nip to the supermarket and buy a bottle of vino that would have cost you 3 times that amount at home. Just kidding. Sort of.