Living abroad complicates life, and that includes transferring money from Europe to the U.S. I have a bank account here with Santander (yes, I know, they’re evil), as well as one back home with a local bank. Whereas transferring money within Spain and the European Union is beyond easy, transferring money back home was proving to be more difficult.
Last year, I found myself in a complicated situation. I had purchased plane tickets for me, Mario, and my in-laws on my credit card, all gain more points and thus more frequent flyer miles. Before this point, I had used Paypal and found it to work just fine. However, this time the amount was too high, and Paypal wouldn’t let me transfer more than $2500 at a time. Frustrating, because I needed to pay my credit card bill! What was I to do?
Luckily, I soon found out about my favorite service: Transferwise.Transferwise allows you to send money without any of those hidden fees, and I love it! I paid about $10 to transfer over $2500, and the exchange rates were the best I’ve found! And my money arrived in less than five business days. That’s quick!
But how does it work?
The questions are always there, lingering. They are questions you ask yourself. They are questions others ask of you. They are questions that go unanswered.
Are you staying?
When are you going?
Where, indeed, is home?
Ah, I get it. You are returning to the United States, and you are preparing for the much-feared reverse culture shock. What to expect?
You should expect to find it weird when people address you in English, that the grocery store has about three hundred different types of cereal, and people want to talk to you while standing in line. Yeah, okay, I feel ya. I see how that could seem weird or odd for a while after you return home.
But let me tell you something, sometimes I wonder if I grew up in an alternate universe, if perhaps my experience of the US has been different from many expats who write on the Internet, because some things I just don’t see. Some stereotypes just don’t fit my experience. I write this to see if I am alone.
1. Americans are always in a hurry
I live in Madrid, so everyone seems to be in a hurry, especially on my morning commute. But my experiences in Madrid aren’t extended to the rest of Spain. Thus, I find it hard to believe Americans are always in a hurry, because most of my family and friends don’t ever seem to be in a hurry. Where are all these hurrying people you’re talking about? New York City? Where?
After receiving a small pressure cooker from my mother-in-law (yeah, I got the hookup!), I started thinking about which kitchen gadgets seem to be more popular here in Spain as well as which don’t even seem to exist.
Tools Popular in Spain
Pressure cooker. This is gaining popularity in the U.S. as well, but in Spain a kitchen is not a kitchen nor is a cook a cook without one of these. Pressure cooking makes cooking easier and faster! Who doesn’t want that. Have you made chickpeas from scratch? Then you’ll know that, even after being soaked all night, they take forever to cook. Other good things to make in a pressure cooker include whole grains, chicken stock, soups, cabbage, and many more.