June marks nine years of living in England. A few weeks ago I joined an American ex-pat women's group on Facebook. I wish I had that resource when I moved here with a three-month-old and a two-year-old, it would have helped on things like figuring out your washing machine, the best way to do banking and maybe passing the driver's test in less than seven attempts (but who's counting that one??). This past Saturday a few ladies in my area met up.
And of course, the conversation steered to things we miss (or don't miss like the complicated healthcare system . . .don't get me started) about the US since living here in England.
I have to give a disclaimer that this is not a rant session nor do I really miss living in the States. England has become my home and I've adapted to about 98% of it - and actually prefer many things here that I would sorely miss if I were to ever go back (which is not in the plans).
So spurred on by that conversation, I've thought of the top things I miss from the good ole US of A. In no particular order:
1) Larger washers and dryers. I'm always shocked by how quickly you can wash and dry clothes in the US - and the fact that you can do 3x the amount in one load. Most British people don't have a tumble dryer, but that was a non-negotiable for me despite loving recycling, wanting to be energy conscious, etc. as I had small children and it was too much of a culture shock to go without one at first.
2) On the lines of larger appliances, I don't mind smaller fridges but an ice maker would be nice. You can find them but they aren't the norm and kitchens here are built for much smaller refrigerators.
4) Speaking of food . . .I deeply miss Tex-Mex. Yes, it has gotten easier to find Mexican, but Tex-Mex (Texas inspired Mexican) is a rarity. Especially chips (tortilla crisps) and queso, the yummy and warm cheese dip.
5) America is the land of convenience, especially drive-throughs. I miss drive-through banking which is very helpful if you have a wad of cash you need to deposit.
6) How about pay-at-the-pump which is unusual here in the UK but almost archaic if you don't have it in the US?
7) A few years ago I got stuck in a seven hour traffic jam on a motorway - there were no exits for miles. Had we had a even one or two more exit points I could have found another way home. But no, we were very stuck. With two young children. For hours. And it was warm. And did I mention our kids were young?? I'm not bitter . . .
8) One store store I miss, and wish we had here is Target. It has everything you need all in one place. And I also really wish we had shopping trolleys (aka shopping carts) that didn't have a mind of their own. They are made differently here, and I always seem to get the one that starts driving itself and strains my arm muscles when it's laden with heavy items.
9) It is rare for it to be consistently warm here in the UK - maybe a total of two weeks of the year and usually not at the same time. I think outdoor pools would be really impractical here but coming from Texas, ours (or a friends) outdoor pool was where friends and family came for social gatherings.
10) And when it is warm, I miss ice tea (or iced tea). Most Brits are mortified by the thought of black tea on ice (versus warm with milk). I grew up in the South on the stuff and had it is an option next to the sodas in every restaurant. I can make it here but it's just not the same . . .
11) Last but not least, the main thing of course that I miss is family and friends. This is a given, and having an ocean separating my children from their grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles is the hardest sacrifice we have made. Which means, of course, they just need to come visit us more! *not so subtle hint to my family*
I really do love life here in England, but there will always be that bit of America still inside me...
Any additions to this list that you would add??
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