In homage to the 4th of July yesterday, I thought I’d share some of the things I miss about America.
Being openly proud about your country is a very American trait, while the English are far more reserved about it. We wear, decorate with, and fly the U.S. flag and colors without a second thought, which is not as frequently done here. English people also don’t have an equivalent of the Pledge of Allegiance, and they only play their national anthem at some major sporting events (versus the U.S. where we play ours for almost every event – sports and others).
“Big” houses, more space
I wasn’t expecting homes in London to be very big; I certainly know I downsized when I moved here. But even outside the city, homes in England aren’t very big in general – I have found the rooms in some to be quite small and they aren’t as into the ‘open layout’ concept that we see a lot more of in the U.S. For all my DC area friends, the McMansions that we are used to are definitely rarely present in England. I’m not sure this is necessarily a bad thing (less is more?), but I also wonder where they put all their stuff!
Keurig machine and Coffeemate coffee creamer
Keurig machine, I miss you so. Keurig machines are not really present in England, and while I could have brought my own, I also wouldn’t be able to easily buy the k-cups to insert into them here. I also really miss Coffeemate coffee creamer. English people either use powder creamer, or milk… so no Hazelnut or French Vanilla or Pumpkin Spice creamer for me anymore (so sad).
There is pub culture in England, but its not like American bar culture because nobody talks to you! In a pub you stick to talking to the people you went with for the most part; it would be weird to approach someone else there to strike up a conversation. Pubs also tend to have a more relaxed atmosphere than the busyness of a bar, and many are family-friendly.
Country bars and music
I love my country music. But for all my Northern Virginia people, I definitely have found myself missing Nick’s Nightclub in Alexandria. Country karaoke, country bands, and line dancing are not really found even in a city like London (although I did find some country bands on the 4th of July weekend after searching them out!).
England has a few wineries – nowhere near the amount we had in Northern Virginia and none of which are particularly close to London. For anyone who knows me, one of my favorite activities is to spend a lazy afternoon sampling wines and having a picnic at a winery. Thus far since moving, I’ve visited only one winery when I went to Spain, and my friend Miriam and I recently went to a wine and cheese tasting at a hotel in London. I’m hoping to visit some more wine-oriented destinations in the future though (and when I visit home!).
Tailgating is not really a concept in England; they’ll go to the pub before a game but they don’t do cookouts and drink in the parking lot before sporting events and country concerts like we do.
And lastly… my family and friends!
I was really, really lucky to have a great group of friends at home. I also have never lived very far from my immediate family, so that was an adjustment when moving. I’m grateful that so many people have kept in touch with me and made an effort to see me when I was home, and I’ve also been lucky enough to have a few visitors as well (everyone is welcome!).