Last week I shared just a few of the many things I’ll miss about living in the UK when we move back to America. But as Dorothy said, “there’s no place like home.” So what do I miss about the U.S.?
Family and friends
Pretty obvious. But it’s definitely the most difficult part of moving so far away from home. Luckily there are many ways to keep in touch, like Facetime, texting, email, and more. But nothing beats a hug from your mom, lunch out with your sister, or watching your kids play with their cousins. This is the first time I’ve lived more than an hour from my immediate family, and it’s definitely been my biggest adjustment. Fortunately, we’ve already had a lot of visitors, with a few more scheduled in the months to come.
Good Mexican food
There are a lot of American food products I miss, but at least some of it can be shipped over to us or brought back in a suitcase from time to time. But what I wouldn’t give for a quality Mexican restaurant nearby. We used to eat Mexican out almost weekly when we lived in the States. We have made do by cooking it at home, or eating at the American-based chain Chipotle every time we go into London. But as far as food goes, it’s what I miss the most.
I feel like I’ve learned to drive over here pretty well and fairly quickly. I started driving the very first day we lived here, and just forced myself to learn. We’re in the process of getting our UK driver’s licenses now. But even though my comfort level with the roads here is growing, I still miss wide streets instead of the narrow, twisty roads I usually find myself on. Sure, they’re charming. But it requires intense concentration and I always fear I’m going to take out my side mirror. And I’d love a few extra meters to work with when merging onto a large motorway.
Let me be clear, I have no issues whatsoever with the NHS. I think it’s very admirable that the UK provides universal healthcare to all its residents. The U.S. could learn a lot from it. I also don’t doubt the quality of the medical care here at all. But it is structured differently than what I’m accustomed to in the U.S. And so when my kids were really sick for two straight weeks, I found myself longing to see a pediatrician, a doctor who only treats children, instead of a general practitioner. But it was my only option. The doctor we were assigned didn’t have a good bedside manner with young kids and didn’t seem to enjoy treating them, either. (I also think that when your kids are sick, as a parent you’re really vulnerable emotionally. I’m sure I missed the familiarity of home at that moment for many reasons beyond the doctor we saw.)
So that’s the perspective of just one American who sometimes misses home. Just for fun, I thought I’d widen the circle and ask my husband and son what they miss, too.
My husband played in a weekly basketball league. He really misses playing the game that he grew up with and the exercise. My sons and I miss going to watch him. We’ve been surprised by how easy it is to keep up with sports we love from the U.S. (although often the games are on in the middle of the night!) But he misses opportunities to play himself. He’ll just have to learn rugby or cricket!
This was from my 4-year-old, after he rattled off every member of our family, a handful of friends, and his preschool teacher. Once I told him I was curious what he missed besides people, this was all he could come up with. Such a shame, as the cheese here is so good. But he finds it too strong. His 2-year-old brother, on the other hand, can’t get enough of it!
If you’re planning a similar move across the pond (or dreaming about one!), you might appreciate reading some of the tips I shared for surviving your first six months as an expat.