Living in London is so romantic. Or something. There is definite romance and charm to the architecture and history of this beautiful, wet isle. And there is novelty in learning up close a strangely unfamiliar culture.
But after living in England for the last three out of four years, there are still things I miss about the mother country (mine), in no particular order as follows:
1. Customer Service. How many times have I wished the grocery-stockers at Morrisons knew something outside of their two-aisle specialty? I'm pretty sure those who work at Safeway or Giant or Thriftway (yes, that was a shout-out, Provo, Utah hometown) across the Pond are required to memorize where all items are, and all of their lovely sub-varieties. Sometimes paying more helps, but not always. The employees at our local Sheperds (think a smaller version of Whole Foods/Paycheck with lovely American marshmellows and real graham crackers for our chiminea) know where every single item is; however, I had to ask five different employees at Selfridges (an upscale department store - my favorite, despite the customer service) where the children's section for Burberry was. Bless all of them.
2. Supply Chain Management. Why has no one invented a computerized system for UK stores that will tell management what products are most in demand/ out of stock, predict sales based on past performance, and automatically order more of that product from suppliers before it runs out? Stores would make so much more money, and customers would be so much happier if they didn't search for the buttermilk or corn crisps (chips for the Yanks) only to realize they are out of stock - again! This doesn't seem to happen as often in the States, no?
3. Watching the Olympics from an American Perspective. As much as I love living here, I am no British patriot. I want to see American athletes competing in the Olympics, thank you very much! Nothing reminds a body that they are so very far from home more than when they can't cheer for their country in the Olympics because nobody is showing them compete. NBC, why doesn't your website have more videos?
4. Texting Family. I live very far from family, and am reminded of that each time I fly back across the Pond (just arrived back home last Friday). Yet living here has not yet meant that I see them any less than when I lived on the East Coast. For instance, when we lived in New York in 2012, we still didn't see family members more than once or twice throughout the year. Calling is also something we've figured out via Skype - finally (Tolers, would love it if you followed suit!). But I miss the texting. My sister-in-law sends out adorable pics of her kids I never see because they are sent out over text. I loved texting my family these last two weeks while my domestic phone was functional.
5. Appliances. Within 48 hours of being State-side, I had washed and dried G's baby hammock (that's another benefit of the hammock - it travels!). I have washed his sheets and mattress cover several times over because I had at least two of each. However, I hadn't, up to that point, been able to wash the actual hammock because our washer takes 3-4 hours and air-drying (machines are somewhat hard to come by in rented flats) requires 12 - and G sleeps every three hours at a minimum. I was reminded how nice all of the American-sized appliances were while "home" (I don't really know where home is anymore), including those massive dishwashers!
6. Garbage Disposals. I was also reminded while State-side how wonderful the little invention of garbage disposals are. It removed a step of cleaning I don't enjoy.
7. Hulu. Nope, doesn't work in the British Isles (as BBC iPlayer does not work State-side). I could do the separate VPN thing like other fellow ex-pats, but I probably shouldn't pay for my addictions. Parks and Recreation, Glee, and Duck Dynasty (is it even playing anymore?) will just have to wait till my summer TV-gluttony parties.