Across the Pond

Cheers to Spain: Final farewells

Grace Schutte

More stories from Grace Schutte

May 10, 2023

Photo by Grace Schutte

I’m trying to be positive.

Note: “Across the Pond” is an on-going column in which freelance writer Grace Schutte will be writing about her study abroad experience in Valladolid, Spain.

Reader, we’ve done it: We have made it to the last issue of the semester as well as my last contribution as the Across the Pond Column-Meister. What a journey it has been. 

As I sat at my usual table in Santagloria to begin this final edition, I found myself reflecting on the other pieces I’ve written throughout these past four, nearly five, months.

How very drab and stressed I sound — I hope you are not alarmed. I fear I may have worried a few potential study abroaders with all my bemoaning and writhing on the floor. Please know the temper tantrum has passed and my better sense has once again returned. 

To assure everyone that I am not completely ungrateful for my time here in Spain, I would like to highlight a few aspects, characteristics and tidbits about Spain I am going to miss when I make my grand comeback to the United States.  

But, like, in a happy way. This is a happy article. Enough moping, I want to end this on a positive note. 

The best pastry known to mankind: Napolitanas 

Picture this: A fluffy, rectangular croissant-esque creation the size of your hand filled with chocolate that you can buy from any café in the country for €1. 

It is best to prepare a weekend bag before heating it up for 30 seconds because the moment you experience the pure ecstasy that is a ooey gooey napolitana is the day you ascend to Cloud 9. True story. 

(Related, but not the same: Cafes con leches for just €1.50.)

The dogs: So many good boys

I had never lived in a city like Valladolid before, so I didn’t expect to see so. Many. Dogs. 

In Valladolid, having pets is as ordinary as breathing. Dogs, in particular. 

My host family, unfortunately, doesn’t have any, but I get my daily fur baby dose just by walking down the street. Since the majority of the people in Valladolid live in apartments, they are constantly taking their furry companions on walks outside — and what a variety there is. 

I’d expected them to be mostly small dogs, the kinds that yip and can fit in a purse, but I was, once again, wrong. 

On more than one occasion I have seen Newfoundland-sized-bear-dogs ambling about the streets on leashes that resemble the stringy remnants of a hot glue gun in comparison to their mammoth size. 

Granted, there are also a slew of medium and, yes, small dogs, too. Particularly beagles, crusty white dogs (you know the ones I’m talking about) and teacup poodles

Tragically, it is not custom to walk up to every four-legged creature, squealing in whistle tones how cute they are and asking if you can pet them like it is in the U.S. I’ve been reduced to admire from afar, but just seeing them is enough for me. 

Copas with the besties: It’s not alcoholism if it’s social 

The more-than-occasional voyages to our favorite bar, El Colmadito, will be sorely missed. 

It is home to some of the cheapest jarras we have ever seen — pint sized mugs used for serving beer and tinto de verano, a magical combination of red wine and sprite, or any kind of fizzy soda. It is refreshing, absolutely delightful and I will most definitely be attempting to recreate it back in the U.S. 

To any future Valladolid study abroad-ers, if you ever make your way over there, make sure you meet Victor. He’s the owner and an absolute sweetie — tell him “Grace from Alaska (the one you say should become an actress)” sent you. 

He might give you free drinks if you do. I’ve been his loyal customer for five months now and we are besties. He doesn’t know what that means, but it’s true. 

It is impossible to name all the aspects I will miss about Spain, but those are just a few of the ones that bring a smile to my face when I think of them. 

Pues, gracias por todo, España. Ha sido un tiempo increíble, lleno de crecimiento, aventuras y amor. A la gente de Valladolid, gracias por su paciencia y amabilidad; a los hombres de Tinder por ser exactamente lo mismo que en los EE.UU.; y a mis amigos por su amistad y los buenos momentos. 

Suerte y ánimo con todo y nos vemos pronto. 

Schutte can be reached at [email protected].