Items You Need to Bring with You to Spain
So, you have decided to move to Spain. Congratulations! You are in good company. No matter where you go, you will be sure to find a host of other expats to commune with and Spaniards to hang with. But whether your move is temporary or permanent, there are some things that you should bring with you before you go.
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This is essential. While Spain is does a lot of things right, but prevention of minor issues is not one of them. Case in point, hair in the shower drains. During the orientation of my program, the orientation leader mentioned that the common way to deal with a clogged drain was to take a chop-stick and pull out the excess hair.
Gross, I know. But even more so, inefficient. Why, I thought, didn't they just use a hair-stopper? But the answer soon became obvious--because they didn't exist. Apparently, no one had ever thought to prevent the hair from growing down the drain in the first place.
So, to avoid yourself the trouble, just by a hair-stopper. And please do so before you leave. Unfortunately, online shopping isn't really an option in Spain. First of all, finding something that you need will be challenging enough, but actually getting delivered will be even more of a hassle. So, do yourself a favor and just pack it into your bag before you go. You'll save yourself the headaches caused by clogged drains later on down the line.
Plus sized clothes
Now, it is no secret that Europeans are generally smaller than Americans. That means that their clothes will be as well. And because there is little demand for plus sized clothes there is little to no access to them in many places. And to be clear, plus sized begins at size 10 or 42 (European size) and up. I had spent my entire life at a size 10--until last year when boredom led me to eat far too many mini cheesecakes. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to find clothes to wear.
So, if you are a person of size, be sure to bring nearly everything that you will need before you go. Because otherwise, you may have to go naked. And nobody has time for that.
Kinky/curly Hair Products
So, here is the thing. As a Black woman, I did not come to Spain expecting the same level of accessibility to products specifically catered to me. However, I did think that I would be able to order them online either from the States or the UK.
But we have already discussed the issues surrounding ordering things from the US. And personally, the exchange rate between the Pound and the Euro hurts my feelings. There also aren't as many options as I thought there would be in the UK, but that is another story.
So, my advice is to anybody of African dissent and/or anybody living that high textured hair life is to bring enough products with you to sustain you throughout your trip. If even you do find products to suit your hair, there will be at the double the price that you would pay for it back home.
Size 9 shoes
As you can see, there is a theme going here, but this one surprised me. Before I left for Spain, I intentionally decided to avoid packing any shoes. I had little space in my suitcase and didn't want to pay a fee for overweight luggage. This turned out to be a huge mistake. Why? Because I was not able to find a single pair of shoes that fit in the nearly 3 years that I lived in Spain.
What was the problem? Well, to be honest, I am not sure. But I can attest that the sizing chart across the board was highly inconsistent. According to some shoe labels, size 9 was the equivalent to a 39, others sad it was a 41. The truth turned out to be somewhere in-between--literally. According to my Nikes, a size nine was a 40.5. But the problem is that none of the stores sold half sizes, so I was screwed.
So, I can't speak for other sizes, but if you are an American size 9, bring a at least three pairs of shoes: sneakers, dress shoes and everyday shoes. Unfortunately, this may be your only option until you return to DSW across the seas.
So, I'll say it: Spanish breakfast sucks. Generally, they will eat a piece of toast or fruit for breakfast and that's it. No oatmeal, eggs, bacon and dare I say it, pancakes. Now I am a lover of pancakes. But I really didn't notice how much until they were no longer available.
Don't get me wrong. You will--on occasion--be able to find some hot cakes at your local brunch spot. But I am the type of person who doesn't want or need to make a big production out of pancakes. I just want to be able to to the kitchen and whip up a batch at will. Without having to stand in line; or, even worse, put on pants.
The problem, however, is that there are very few ready-made pancake mixes at the local Lidls or Mercadonas. And the ones that are there aren't very good. Trust me, I've tried them. If you are really ambitious, you could make it yourself from scratch. But remember that Europe uses the metric system and I don't know about you, but I just don't have time for that.
Instead, just pack a favorite brand of mix and break it out on special occasions. It will save you from the brunch line and the need to put on pants. And if pancakes aren't your thing, just bring your own beloved food along with you. It can literally be a taste of home whenever you need it.
So, there you have it! My list of products that you simply must bring with you if you are moving to Spain. While some may not apply to you directly, heed this advice. If there is anything that you need or use that is specific to you in the US, bring it with you. Chances are you will not be able to find it in Spain.