Things I will miss.

13 Jan

I imagine this will be the first entry of many about things I will miss, or things I do miss once I’m in Spain.

Of course I will miss the familiarity of home that comes with any familiar home, at first.

There are also things that I’m worried I won’t have access to that I use here in the US, and other things that will be more difficult to find.  I’m not talking about luxury items; I’m more concerned about things I need for my health and well being.  I’m more skeptical than many about the safety of food, beauty products, medicines, and other items we come into contact with every day.  I know the EU is generally more aware of these issues and is less influenced by corporate interests than the US, so they have more restrictions in place to keep the nastiest of the nasties out of consumer products.  But I’m sure it’s not perfect either.  I just don’t yet know in what ways.  I don’t know what I can trust and what I can’t.  Here, I have developed routines and techniques to avoid the most hazardous items over many years of research, trial and error.  I’ll be starting over there, with the additional disadvantage of the language barrier.

It’s not quite that black-and-white, of course.  I do speak a substantial amount of Spanish, but it isn’t perfect.  More to the point, my conversational vocabulary is much better than my ability to talk about and understand more technical and abstract topics.  So it will definitely be a disadvantage as far as finding consumer products that I feel comfortable using.  And I’m thankful for the routines that I’ve developed over the years that use such basic ingredients that I can find them easily in any developed country.  Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils take care of my needs for shampoo, deodorant, body lotion, and most of my cleaning supplies.  Yes, you can say it.  I’m a hippie. :)

We’ve started to make a list of things that we will want there and may have trouble finding replacements for.  We’ll purchase large quantities of them and bring them with us, or bribe our visiting friends to bring to us.  It’ll buy us time to find replacements there.  Soaps that don’t make our skin break out; my favorite conditioner with no artificial fragrances or  preservatives.  These sorts of things have a longer shelf life.  I can’t do the same for perishables such as dairy substitutes.  There are some pretty damn good ones here in Portland, where the health food stores and co-ops are plentiful.  And I’ve tried many, most of which are pretty terrible.  I shudder at the thought of all the wasted money and abused tastebuds as I search for brands that I like in Spain.  The first trick will be finding where they’re sold, since there’s no Whole Paycheck there.

It will definitely take time. But I’m looking forward to having a kitchen where I can start experimenting.  I haven’t done much cooking lately, since I have to keep the house clean while it’s on the market, and I’m really missing it.  It’ll be a fun challenge adapting to the cuisine there and availability of groceries, size of our fridge (small), and finding things that both of us will eat on a regular basis, not just the special treats that we have enjoyed while vacationing in Barcelona.  Rob will do his own kitchen experiments in the quest for the perfect chili cheezdog tapa, but I’ll let him write about that himself.

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