I’ve been thinking about homesickness recently. Every blog and book I read about moving to a new country and culture references the ending of the “honeymoon phase” and the start of the “homesickness phase.” I can’t help but wonder if I’m still in the honeymoon phase and blissfully unaware of the impending crushing homesickness or if I’m just not going to be homesick. These thoughts led me to exploring things that I really miss about Houston/Texas in general to see if further examination warranted feelings of homesickness. So far… nope. It also led me to research Christmas Markets in Europe over Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving is typically my favorite holiday but if I am otherwise engaged then I’m hopeful that I won’t spend the day crying into my store bought gravy and stuffing.
Please know that this doesn’t mean I don’t miss anyone. I miss my friends and family like crazy. At this point, I want everyone to pick up and move here rather than me back there though! I also still really miss my job. My thoughts on that are too numerous for this posting though so I’ll save that for another day.
Things I miss…
- My house. My house with my huge bedroom that fit our king sized (super-king in the UK) bed with room to spare. My house with my walk-in closet and large en suite. My house with my stunning kitchen that finally looks just how I want it. My house with the refinished fireplace and the tile that I fell in love with. My house with only two floors. My house that is officially on the market and priced to SELL. Click here or here! Send to everyone you know that wants to live in a lovely gated community with fabulous neighbors. Seriously. The kind of people that look out for you. The kind that move your packages to the backyard at Christmas time when you’ve ordered everything that Amazon sells and then left for the weekend.
- Fans. They’re just not a thing here. I need the noise for sleeping and I need the coolness when working out! Yeah, no fans in my gym here!
- Large dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and freezers. Small loads/trips are so frustrating. Going to the grocery store and doing laundry have taken over my life. If our garage wasn’t currently filled with all of the things that won’t fit into our house then I’d be pressuring Brett to get a full sized fridge and freezer to put down there.
- Filtered water & ice from the fridge. So cold! No need for ice cube trays!
- La Croix. I know that’s a weird one but they don’t have flavored sparkling water here that isn’t super sweet.
- Bacon. Normal, US bacon. They have “streaky bacon” here. It’s not the same.
7. Access to nearly every obscure item mentioned in cookbooks.
8. Flour. The flour here is different and I cannot get Brooks’ muffins to cook correctly with the British flour! If anyone reading has a solution to this, please let me know!
9. Pedicures and Manicures. They just don’t get it here. I miss Bora Bora Nail Salon!
10. Anonymity. In the states, I don’t have an accent. Here I do. Here the accent is a novelty and you attract a certain amount of attention when you speak in public. I see people’s heads turn and can tell that they’re listening when I’m speaking next to them in a shop. I don’t blame them. I did the same thing! If I heard someone speaking with an accent or in another language, I listened more closely. But it makes me more careful of what I’m saying and what my kids are doing/saying. I never want to be that loud, obnoxious, uncouth, stereotypical American.
11. Matagorda Beach. There aren’t many places I miss in Texas. Yes, I know that Texas possesses its own kind of beauty and that a sunset in the hill country actually is something to write home about, however, the picturesque views outside of every window and literally at your doorstep have me pinching myself every single day. The one physical place my heart misses is Matagorda Beach. I think it has a lot to do with unofficial motto of Matagorda coined by my cousin Joe: Beer belly a must; teeth a plus! The come-as-you-are, drive on the beach, pull right up to the water and pop your tent, sit in the waves, start drinking at whatever time you’d like shoreline – will always have a special place in my heart. And in my kids’ hearts, too. When I picture us making the trip home in December, I picture us at the beach on one of those not-so-rare warm December days.
12. The sun. This one is actually a prediction. While sunrise is getting later by 3 minutes a day and sunset is getting earlier by 3 minutes, day light saving time starts (or ends – whichever it is) on Sunday. Already Brooks wants to know why I’m up in the middle of the night (when it’s 7:30AM) and why his amount of time to play outside has shortened. I’m very interested to see how all of us respond.
Things I do not miss…
- Traveling 30 minutes to get anywhere.
- The faster pace of life. I didn’t understand the comment, “It’s just a slower pace of life” before I moved here. There’s not one big thing that makes it that way but a ton of little things. There aren’t drive thrus. You have to walk into every shop, pharmacy, dry cleaner. No drop off of kids in the car pool lane. Everyone has to walk their kids into school. There’s not special parking for this either. Briarmeadow peeps – can you imagine what it would be like if everyone was required to walk their kids in and out every day? Fewer pre-packaged things. The idea of tea in general – the fact that you sit down and socialize with a little snack mid day. Shops close at 5 or 6PM most days. Also, people brake for you when it is totally their right of way. Just because.
- Insane traffic.
- Beltway tolls. (Although you do have to pay for parking here in most places.)
- Fear. Fear of leaving my purse on a bench while I race after my toddler. Here I do not worry about leaving my purse unattended while I follow my kids around a soft play area or around a huge trampoline facility. This probably has more to do with living in a smaller town than with Scotland. Although the crime in all of Scotland is significantly lower than the US. Yes, there are fewer people here.
- Fear. Fear that someone is going to snatch my children right from my front yard. (I’m quite sure that they would be returned quickly.) I do not fear for my son’s safety when he’s riding bikes with neighborhood kids – even when he is out of sight. I would have never let him do that in Houston. Even in my incredibly safe, gated community, in a cul-de-sac, with vigilant neighbors. It’s Houston after all.
- Fear. Fear of my son eating something he shouldn’t. There is so much more awareness here in regards to food allergies. Every waiter is knowledgeable and if not can access the correct materials quickly. The cafeteria workers at his school, in addition to everyone else, are knowledgeable of his condition.
- Fear. Fear of going broke due to necessary medications for Brooks. We got 3 months of meds before we left Houston so that we could have time to find doctors, get into doctors, etc. So just last week we picked up his first round of meds from the chemist. Free. Alllllllll free. It was actually a bit awkward after the pharmacist handed them over and I stood there with my hand on my purse (wallet – a wallet is a purse here; a purse is a handbag) a beat too long before I realized the transaction was over.
- Fear. Fear that someone is going to walk into a school with a gun and grudge. I do not worry about my children’s safety when they go to school. I do not worry about the psychological trauma they might experience depending on how their teacher or school handles a mandatory intruder drill. I do not miss wondering how I would make my way to wherever Brooks was if such an event were to occur in real life. I do not miss picturing the events that transpired at Sandy Hook taking place in my own school.
- Lack of options for children at adult events/places. Children are always thought of here! Play scapes at nearly every castle, ALWAYS a coloring page at restaurants if not other options.
- The heat. I do not miss the heat in the slightest. And, it turns out that there is this season between summer and winter called autumn. Who knew!? It is awesome! I now understand why people get excited about scarves and cozy lattes.
To everyone reading, I love and miss you! Come and visit us! We love sharing our life here with you! And tell me, what do you miss about “home”? Wherever that is or whatever that means to you?