I feel I ought to begin this article with some clarification: I love living in America. I do. From the beautiful Midwestern summers to the varying national landscapes; the food; the people; the cinema; the low-cost of living; the diversity; NPR; the innovation and the opportunity. I love it all.
But as a citizen and longtime native of England, there remains an infinitely long list of things that, from time to time, I do miss about my home country. After all, England – with the exception of the occasional holiday oversees – was all I knew for the first 27 years of my life.
And so, where better to start than with my fellow countrymen. I miss the British people. I miss interactions with them at bus stops and supermarkets. I miss them accidentally bumping into me, prompting my immediate apology. I miss their pessimism and their wit – two qualities both beautifully summed up by the phrase “it never rains, it pours.”
Speaking of which, I miss hearing the British moan about the weather. Come to that, I even miss the weather. As nice as the aforementioned Midwestern summers – with temperatures sometimes over 100 degrees – can be, the dreariness of Northern England would be a welcome break from time to time.
The food. How I miss the food. You can attack British cuisine all you want, but there’s no escaping the fact that Yorkshire pudding is the loveliest thing on Earth, especially when dowsed in Bisto gravy, accompanied by mashed potato, a pork chop and a generous helping of mint sauce. Failing that, just give me fish and chips. And I mean real fish and chips, with a side helping of mushy peas and 3 pickled onions.
Oh, and sausage rolls. Lots of them.
Let’s see, what else? Oh yes, I really miss public transportation. Sitting atop a double-decker bus, for which you had waited only 10 minutes, was always a unique way to travel. Part of me even misses the chavs who adorned the upper windows with saliva. This only happened occasionally, of course. Most of the time, the windows had already been smashed in.
Perhaps more than anything, I miss trains.
I also miss the Lake District, the Yorkshire Moors and the south coast. I miss the M6, Hadrian’s Wall and the River Thames. I miss London, Liverpool and Manchester. I miss Geordies.
I miss the phrase “donkey’s years”, as in “it’s been donkey’s years since I’ve seen my family.”
I miss my family.
I miss traffic being on the other side of the road, and I particularly miss the cars – small and boxy, though they are. I suddenly miss my dad’s Fiat Uno – the car he drove when I was a kid.
I miss British money, both the coins and the paper variants. I’m excited to see Jane Austen appear on the new £10-note. I miss British banking terms, such as cash machine, current account and…
I could go on forever with this list. The truth is, I miss almost every aspect of British life. I yearn for it with all the patience of an ambulance driver in a traffic jam. The thing is, I would happily sit in either an ambulance or a traffic jam if it meant, for a few days, I could be home.
Speaking of ambulances, I miss the NHS. But that’s for another time.