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.