5 Things That Make Me Miss America

Missing America often happens like a fast-approaching thunderstorm.  I will be living a very normal day – I’ll even be enjoying it – when I feel the climate change.  The atmosphere will carry familiar scents of home in the air.  The ominous clouds, with their scenes of home, will fill my eyes as they quickly roll in, they open up, and the rain will come.  It will soak me through with its heaviness, weighing me down with calls back home.  And then I hear it, the voice that suddenly begins to thunder within my heart, “Take the leap.  Move back.  It’s where you belong.”  I cave and stay out in the thunderstorm, feeding the call and lamenting all that isn’t mine.  That usually involves spending  a number of futile hours looking at property websites in America…..and the inevitable conclusion is that I get really angry about house prices in the UK.

It happened recently and I’ve stopped to wonder what these scents, these triggers are that lead me from a contented family life, to a frustrated expat wife in a matter of seconds.  They may not be what you expect.

1. Closets –  My parents have no less than 8 closets in their house.  EIGHT WHOLE CLOSETS.  Their master bedroom closet is bigger than rooms I’ve lived in while in England and, hand on heart, it isn’t even that big.  I appreciate the history of Medieval cottages or the beauty of a carefully crafted Edwardian house, but lie four men of about 6ft tall down side-by-side, measure it out, erect some walls, and call that space a closet, life and your clutter will suddenly feel lighter.  Promise.

2. The weather – A few days ago, my Mom told me that it’s 90+F/32+C back in Ohio and I pined for that kind of hot, but it’s not just the heat of the summer that makes me miss home.  I miss the distinction of seasons.   My life back in America was marked by the weather and traditions of seasons.  When 89% of the year is lived under England’s mono-cloud, June could just as easily be October and it often leaves me wondering whether I should be stripping down for summer or cozying up to a fire.

3. Warmness – Sometimes I wonder if warmer weather is directly correlated to warmer natives.  I don’t expect (or want) every stranger to stop and engage me in a random chit-chat, but come on give me a little smile…..a head nod?…..EYE CONTACT?!……some kind of slight movement to acknowledge that I actually exist and am not living in a parallel universe?  What is most concerning is that I find myself slipping into the Brits evasive ways.  Americans, arrange an intervention before it’s too late.

4. Laundry – Life is better when you don’t have to hang your damp laundry in your kitchen.  See weather.

5. A good burger – I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t live in a metropolis, my options are too limited, but please don’t pass me that unseasoned hunk of meat on a bap and call it a burger.  I have so many things to teach you, grasshopper.


24 thoughts on “5 Things That Make Me Miss America

  1. Monique

    Oh, man, your post comes just in time for Fourth of July and all the missing-this and missing-that the holiday will bring for me. 1-YES 2-EVEN YESSER 3-MAXIMUM YES 4-YES 5-YES. YES, YES, and MORE YES to all of these. There’s a Ruby Tuesday opening in my town. If the burgers are any good there, that’ll be one down, four to go …

  2. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

    Monique – I’m not one to break a person’s spirit, but I do feel obligated to prepare you emotionally for any heartache. I went to a TGIFriday’s once and got their potato skins. I will NOT be doing that again. In this case it might be better to take on a British mentality, expect something terrible and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Monique

    Oh, you couldn’t let me have my pleasant dream for even a day? 😛 We’ve had really great British-food-that-is-British here, so no complaints about that, but the ‘american style’ food (or, god forbid, the tex-mex) has been dreadful.

  4. Gary

    When I first read the title of this blog, I thought you were going to tell us why you should win a beauty contest!!!

  5. Lindsay Borland

    Oh B – you make me laugh and want to cry at the same time … missing home creeps up on us just when we think we are ok and the years away do not make it any easier. in fact i think it gets harder! thanks for your honesty – it brought a smile to my face!

  6. Jenny

    Oh yes, all of these are things I miss too. Your number 4 would be #1 on my list. The barbie-sized washing machine that takes 2 hours to complete a cycle paired with the electric condenser dryer that sort of just steams the clothes really make life difficult for someone with 3 kids and piles of dirty laundry. I think I am going to shed tears of joy when I set foot in my American laundry room again.

  7. Christy

    My Mexican uncle warned me once upon going into Mexico as a child not to try any food that “seems” American. It is has a Mexican counterpart… You’ll be terribly disappointed.. but if it is straight weird and you have never heard of it.. you’ll probably like it. This rule of thumb has followed me to many countries (hence being afraid of tex mex american food of any kind in the UK!)

    But yeah… I get ya there. I am here and getting ready to return and already sad about leaving this place and I choose to live in the UK. Why are our hearts always in so many places at once.. the curse of the expat!

      1. sandysview

        Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Owned by Kiwi’s. Best Burgers in Britain, bar none! Nothing to do with me but I go as often as I can and I know my burgers

  8. Su

    Um … people do smile and say ‘hello’ in Pethy … that’s about all I can say in our defence. Oh, and I dry the laundry in the bedroom, not the kitchen.

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      I have actually heard that people are much friendlier in the Southwest and I am finding that I will get back as much as I give here. I have, however, heard of people who have completely shut down just for trying to say hello to a neighbour. I do think regions and towns can make a difference.

      1. Su

        Yes! Yes! Yes! We may even have a room that is in a fit state for you to sleep in by then …!

  9. Emma

    Hugs. It’s not easy is it. I am a brit living just down the road really (Bavaria) compared to you, but it’s still hard. Love your cloud analogy. 🙂

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Those homesickness thunderstorms sneak up on you, don’t they? Some days (and months and years) are much easier than others. Thing is, I know moving back wouldn’t solve anything. It’s like the lyrics to the Neil Diamond song:

      But nowadays
      I’m lost between two shores
      L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
      New York’s home
      But it ain’t mine no more

      Who knew that someone who sings “Coming to America” could sum up homesickness so eloquently?


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