the top 8 (things about being home).

30 Jun

1. american classics. Living in Spain, I had no shortage of delicious food available to me: jamón iberico, patatas bravas and tortilla española, and of course 100 Montaditos and Shapla Lavapiés for some delectable Indian food. That being said, the American classics I’ve been missing are totally hitting the spot: my post-flight tri-tip salad from Wood Ranch was perfect – I’d forgotten how good BBQ sauce (and a side of Mac ‘n’ Cheese) can really be! Other food items that I didn’t realize I missed until I got home: Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, lemonade, hummus (okay, I sought this out all the time in Madrid, thank goodness for kebab palaces), and Mexican tortillas! Next up on my tour of local eateries? My two favorite restaurants: Natural Café and Ladyface Alehouse. Bliss.


2. customer service. Possibly the most mind-blowing American concept after having lived in the antithesis of customer service for a year. My experience began in the DC airport with a friendly Starbucks “partner” but the real shock and awe occurred at Wells Fargo. I walked in yesterday with a fat stack of euros to magically change into dollars. A woman guided me to the appropriate line, handed me a bottle of water while I waited, offered two different types of cookies and coffee, sent me to a plush chair to wait my turn, and then apologized and thanked me profusely for my patience. A man in a suit held the door open for me as I left and wished me a wonderful day. It was so nice to be doted on like this, but comical to me. How is it possible I could feel like foreigner in my neighborhood bank?

3. small town charm. While I used to complain about the size of my suburban hometown, it’s so nice to go outside and literally run into a bunch of people I know. Less than two minutes into my run, I ran into two of my friends from my cross-country days who were finishing up a run as well and were heading to Costco to buy alcohol for their buddy’s b-day in Vegas. Mind-blowing that these kids are old enough for Vegas now! I ran into a few more people while running, and then a few more later at the gym with my Dad. It was refreshing being told “welcome home” by so many people!

4. hdtv. This doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation: huge television, huge selection, amazing quality. I dragged my 20-year-old brother into watching The Bachelorette with me the other day. Direct quote upon seeing Ashley with JP “Aww, they’re cute.” Yesss.


5. Local terrain. My hometown has the gorgeous Santa Monica mountains serving as its backdrop, and it is studded with oak trees everywhere. Another simple pleasure I didn’t realize I missed while living in central Spain.

hello, hills.

6. Surprise free gym memberships. I decided to join my local, family-owned gym for the month I’m living at home before law school. As it turns out, since I’m the 4th member of my family to sign-up, I get to go for free! There’s nothing I like better than free opportunities to work out. I did some weights and a little cardio last night as my Dad made friends with some junior at UC Berkeley.

run it.

7. iPhone. (yes, this should be higher up on the list). Possibly the best perk of being home, I am finally a member of the iPhone club. I am officially a real person.

8. starbucks. Don’t tell me there’s Starbucks in Europe (it’s not the same). Also, don’t tell me that Starbucks isn’t as good as Peet’s or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or any of that other stuff. Starbucks is a big deal in my family – we’re totally proponents of that “third home” theory. I walked in yesterday, was welcomed home by our favorite barista, and had a real iced coffee (and NOT an iced Americano). So great to be back! New goal: get a Starbucks Gold Card, for no other reason really than to feel cool.

one day.

What do you miss about your hometown when you go on a trip? 

10 Responses to “the top 8 (things about being home).”

  1. Kristina Wegscheider June 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Love this post, Gillian! I miss Mexican food, large parking spaces and 4-door cars when I travel. Totally know what you mean about customer service – my fiance was shocked when he came here and we went to Noah’s Bagels and he was literally prompted with 50 questions about how he’d like his bagel prepared.

    • gillian June 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Thanks so much, Kristina! That’s so funny about Noah’s Bagels – in Spain it’s rare that a server will look you in the eye, but we also don’t have to tip there so I guess there are hidden benefits! I’m totally with you on the Mexican food, too, I can’t wait to get my hands on a burrito!

  2. Kinsey Michaels June 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    this post was so cute, nothing beats the comforts of home. i am glad i stumbled upon your blog because i am actually moving to either orange county or LA area (from boston!) in 2 months! i’m really really excited and can’t wait to begin my apartment search.

    • gillian June 30, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

      Glad you found me! That’s so exciting – I’m happy to be back in the LA area. That’s great you’re moving out here – I’m looking forward to following your blog as well!

  3. Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport July 1, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    LOVE this list! I nearly died when I read about the bank! What, you mean banks are helpful… and they don’t close at 2:30 in the afternoon! What!? 🙂

    As an American, there is really nothing like America. We like our service and our large cars. Dare I say I am happy to tip if I am treated properly!

    p.s. Starbucks IS NOT THE SAME! With you on that!

    Hands down I miss the service the most… and whole foods.

    • gillian July 1, 2011 at 7:57 am #

      Omg I haven’t been to Whole Foods yet – I think I am subconsciously saving that because I’m so excited about it haha!

      My friends who have never been to Europe think I’m crazy that I could get so excited over the selection at a grocery store or customer service! But it’s such a big deal! haha

  4. jade July 1, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Living in LA, I love smaller towns and the charm they have… plus the friendly people, and good food!

    • gillian July 1, 2011 at 7:58 am #

      With you on that, small town charm is definitely something I missed in Madrid!


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