The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.
The first rule of living in another country, however, is never compare your new expat life to that of your one back home.
And I’ve been good with it, honestly. Whenever I’m about to make some catty comparison, I always precede it with “I know you shouldn’t compare it to your old life, but…”. I make an effort. I remind myself every day how lucky I am to be in this incredible place.
But then sometimes you find yourself watching something like Pride and Prejudice and you can’t help but be all “OH BRITAIN HOW I MISS THEE!”
Because, believe it or not, I don’t have a heart of stone. I do (occasionally) long for the pitter patter of 24-7 rain and the sweet sweet smell of uncollected garbage in my tower block. I crave the “kill me now and end this pain” look of shop assistants in Primark and the humbling sight of a mother forcing a Big Mac into their innocent baby’s face.
not sorry about that but truly, the pang is real. There are so many things I miss about the world back home that I would never have expected to miss.
I miss fish and chips. There, I said it. Even living in food paradise, I miss the delicious grease of a freshly cooked fish and chips wrapped in vinegar soaked paper. Sitting on the bay with Top Gun’s finest as the sun (once a year) beat down, savouring every mouthful. Sure, the reality was me running around the bay eating them whilst screaming at the top of my lungs thanks to the bastard seagulls following me but still, let’s keep this romantic.
I miss Tesco. I miss Asda. HECK, I even miss Sainsburys! Y’all have no idea how good you have it. 3 packs of meat for £10? Buy one get one free on Sharwood’s curry sauce? HUMMUS FOR 70P?! You live like kings, my friends, in a world of oh so cheap goods. I
accidentally paid 5 euro for some strawberries the other day. Just think about that for a moment.
(Granted, the 2 euro vino slightly makes up for it but COME ON)
I miss the awkwardness of British guys (now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say). I find it absolutely hilarious when friends back home ask “So, how are the Italian stallions” wink wink. Just… no. No. A hundred times no. I blame this more on my inability to act like anything other than an awkward mess in even a semi romantic situation. Truly, I am the polar opposite of the men here. That, coupled with the hideousness of first dates (my most hated of all activities) is just a recipe for disaster. HELLO NEW LIFE OF ETERNAL LONELINESS.
I miss bow and black. I miss sinking a pint of it in a grimey pub with a plate of cheesy chips sat temptingly in front of me. Even better, a bottle of ice cold Rekorderlig in a beer garden; that sweet nectar, christ on a bike I need you.
I miss Phillip Schofield. With all my heart I miss that silver fox smiling dreamily at me from my TV screen. The Cube, This Morning, Dancing on Ice… come back to me, Schofey.
Paying anything other than 10 euro for paracetamol. Being able to go to a shop past 8pm. Walking down the street without being attacked by lookie lookie men. Using Andrex toilet roll. Relaxing in my own watery filth (aka a bath). Going to Waterstones. Eating a Magic Wrap.
But most of all, I miss the incredible network that is my family and friends. Anyone who says it’s easy being separated from their loved ones is a god damn liar.
What it is, is so very worth it. Being away from these home comforts (looking at you, P dawg) is how we grow. You learn to live without them and just deal with the change. You embrace it.
And when all’s said and done, I would not be able to achieve this lifestyle anywhere else in the world. I am constantly reminded of the beauty that surrounds me and the overwhelming magic of this unbelievable country.
I know that this journey has only just begun. I have so much left of the adventure before I even think about life back in the UK.
But I know, when I do, there’ll be a steaming hot mug of Yorkshire Tea waiting for me.