What I miss most from home
Despite where expats choose to relocate themselves, there will probably be an aspect of their home lands that they will be forced to leave behind with their families and friends. We don't often think about them until it's too late, till we're living in Russian Market in Phnom Penh and wishing we could roll up to a Target department store for basically everything we could ever need, and then some things we don't.
As time passes, however, we learn how to get by, where to get the best cup of coffee, how to navigate our new supermarket, how to manage on a weekend when everything is closed on Sundays. It is not until we return home that we remember the conveniences of our favorite places, services, etc.
Apart from family, friends, and pets, the following list reveals what I miss the most from my home country.
The beauty about weekends in the States is that you have two full days--that's 48 full hours--during which you can buy photo frames, peruse new computers, go grocery shopping for the upcoming week, or anything else that you don't have time to do during the week. In nations like Spain where religion is a bit more observed, Sunday is the day of rest and the day when shop owners literally close up shop, leaving consumers one day per weekend to cram it all in. The good news is that everyone else in town is doing the same thing you are (Ikea runs, clothes shopping, stockpiling groceries) so crowds and queues are omnipresent.
The aforementioned superstore is an American godsend. Think Wal-Mart, but better. Clean aisles and order welcome shoppers to a world of low prices for everyday items from clothes to greeting cards to housewares, and even food. Most shops in Spain specialize in one type of product (i.e., fruits and vegetables, bath and beauty, home improvement) but Target has it all under one roof. Separating shops into their product-specific categories does help me retain focus, however as the aisles of Target tend to persuade me that I need 12 other things besides just deodorant.
Can my liver handle all-you-can drink mimosas? Not anymore. Do major European cities serve brunch? Yes, some do, including Barcelona. But my home abroad lacks the ubiquitous bottomless mimosas and make-you-own Bloody Mary bars in the States, a tradition that surely helped take the stress out of the Sunday blues.
This is a bit more Allie-specific, and those who know me know that I could never write a list like this without including the NHL and my beloved Washington Capitals. Although I can stream live games at 1 a.m. and catch highlights the following day, there is no comparable activity to attending a live ice hockey game. I could head north to Sweden or Norway where the sport is just as (or arguably more) revered, or I could save my money for a live Caps game the next time I am in Washington, D,C,
Although the above are materialistic wants, they are by no means day-to-day needs. By eliminating some of these conveniences from daily life, I have learned how to live on less and appreciate more.
If you have lived abroad, what did you miss the most from back home?
Lead photo: Aerial view of Boston, Massachusetts, USA.