However, being abroad is about being “outside of your comfort zone.”
New experiences tend to be intimidating and people are often hesitant to engage in the unknown, especially when it comes to food. During my time abroad in Spain, I always felt guilty when a friend would turn up their nose and make an unpleasant face when they were presented with a new dish. I kept thinking, if the Spanish are anything like my family, they would be offended to see somebody make faces without even trying the food. The cooks in my family are very proud of the dishes they create but they also understand that not everybody will be as fond of them as they are. Everybody has a very distinct palette and they prefer different tastes. Most of us prefer to eat what we grew up eating. When we are away from home we seek out the flavors we are used to. For me, a handmade tortilla will make me feel as warm as receiving hug from my grandma. A nice cup of Mexican hot chocolate will make me feel right at home. Food is comforting and when you are away from those you love, it provides a tiny moment in which you connect with them all over again.
I consider myself one of the pickiest people when it comes to food. The list of food that I don’t like is probably longer than the list of the things I will eat. However, I must remind myself to always try a dish once. Sometimes, this is harder to do because new dishes appear too different than what I am accustomed to. When I prepared to leave for Spain I already knew that I was going to have a hard time adjusting to the food. I could have traveled to Mexico and still had a difficult time. I simply had to get used to the fact that I was going somewhere new to have new adventures. After returning from Spain I can assure you that I most certainly did not love all the food I ate, but I did fall in love with new dishes.
I am very proud to say that I put on a brave face and tried what was set before me. I left my host family sure that I had no offended my host mom in any way, especially in her cooking and I let her know how much I appreciated that she would cook for us every single day. Being away from home is hard, and having your comfort food once in a while is normal but when abroad, remembers to embrace the new, the different, and even the slightly weird.
DUAbroad Peer Advisor