I spent yesterday in London with a friend. We took the train from Cambridge, ate a delicious lunch and took in The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. It was just the best day. I love (LOVE) London, especially on a warm, sunny spring day. While I don’t often make the 2-3 hour trip into the city, I’m definitely going to miss having the option to do so. I’m convinced a person could live in London for a long lifetime and never discover all its wonders.
London aside, there are several other things I’m going to miss about life in England.
- Cheese. Seriously. English cheddar is SO GOOD, and you can find the extra delicious unpasteurized stuff at the grocery store.
- The quiet. Have you ever heard the stereotype about Americans being loud? It’s true. Here people understand that you don’t actually have to speak very loud to be heard. I like it.
- Small roundabouts. There are some instances where roundabouts are the worst. Five Ways, for example, where the roads leading from the bases to Bury St. Edmunds intersect with a big highway from London to Norfolk. Idiotic. Especially with the current construction. However, roundabouts where there might otherwise be a four-way stop? SO much more efficient. As long as everyone knows how to use them.
- Walks. There are so many 3-year-old-worthy treasures on walks around here. Snail shells, bright lichen, streets covered in moss… and so many places to wander once you load up everyone and get there. I definitely need to get out more while we can!
- Signs of the seasons. Let’s forget the wretched dreariness of English winter for a minute. The seasons come in a beautiful sequence of color: white snowdrops in January, followed by yellow daffodils, pink flowering trees, yellow rapeseed fields, red poppies, purple lavender, yellowing trees, bright red vine maple leaves of autumn… there’s always something in season.
- No billboards. Outside of cities you almost never see billboards. I know I’m not supposed to say it as an advertising professional, but they’re ugly. It’s nice to not have them interrupt your view.
- Proximity to Europe. We didn’t take advantage of this as much as we could have. But hey. We still took several trips that we never would have made from the States, so that’s a win.
- Dressed people. I’m no fashionista, but it’s weirdly nice to be surrounded by people in tidy clothes when I’m out shopping. No sweats. You rarely see people in tank tops and shorts (it’s rarely hot enough for them anyway). This is totally a double standard, though, because I look forward to grocery shopping in comfy yoga pants.
- The clothes line. You’re going to think I’m insane. I actually enjoy hanging some of our stuff out to dry on the clothes line (when it’s sunny and warm). It has taken 2+ years to get to that point, but I like standing in the sun, listening to the birds chirp and catching wafts of the detergent. It’s so peaceful (and good for the environment!).
- English kids. Tiny people with British accents are SO CUTE! Especially if they’re dressed in cricket whites. It’s also fun to hear their names at the playground. Freya, Imogen, Poppy, Georgina, Hugo, Alfie, Oliver, Harry… I doubt we’ll get too many of those in Alabama.
- Grocery store hand car wash. I can pay a guy to wash my car while I’m grocery shopping. I think that speaks for itself.
I’ll think fondly of our time in England, for sure, though I won’t forget how hard it was to be so far from family. Maybe I’ll forget how difficult the move was, or that our household goods took 3 months to get here. Maybe I’ve blamed England for some of the challenges we face in day-to-day life, and maybe I’ll be disappointed when I face them in the U.S. Time will tell.
What do you miss about the countries you’ve left behind? Has it changed with time?