Last year during my first year teaching and living in France, I wrote about certain items or objects that I missed from back in the United States (you can read the post here). Being that this is my second year abroad, I admit that the homesickness has gotten to me again, even though I’m doing a better job of coping with and assimilating into the country.
That said, I’ve decided to compile another list of things that I miss from home; admittedly, they might overlap with a few things from the last post, but then again, they’re quite the staple to have especially when I’ve grown up with them for almost all my life!
Any case, let’s get to them!
Things I Miss from Home
1. Good Asian food. I’m going to be brutally honest here: France does not make good Asian food. To call something “Chinese” doesn’t mean adding rice and soy sauce to it: there’s so much more to Chinese cuisine that I don’t bother going into Asian restaurants in France. The food back home in Los Angeles isn’t perfect either, but with its even-more diverse population, it’s more than likely that the dishes will be more authentic-tasting.
Any case, I’m been lately craving Korean food like no other. From tteokbokki (rice cakes, as pictured above) to hotteok (sweet pancakes), I’ve been desperately trying to hold in my saliva whenever I see photos of these dishes online (just like now, with the tteokbokki!).
Final thing is the tea: now, I’m all about the mint tea here in France, but I do miss the availability of oolong and matcha tea back at home. I’m not a huge fan of the Earl Grey and fruit infusion stuff here, so I’ll have to make up my loss when I return home!
2. Warm, dry weather. Now, I’ve already mentioned this point in my previous post, but this bears reiterating: I miss warm, dry weather. Whatever possessed me to return to the cold, rainy region of Normandy for a second year…well, beats me. It sucks, because you just never know when it’s going to rain, so you don’t dare go out unless necessary.
Plus, the lack of sun has seriously taken a toll on my mood, as I do believe that I got winter depression back in January, now continuing into February. Admittedly, things do start to get a bit better in April, but by then I’m already about prepared to head back home. Until then, I suppose!
3. Wearing T-shirts and shorts…and not being cold. …okay, so I don’t look like this model when I wear tank tops and shorts, but that’s not the point. What matters is that I can actually step outside of my flat wearing at least a T-shirt and not be freezing. At least in Normandy, it’s always about the drab, dark winter coats (also have noticed that the French don’t seem to like wearing bright colors) and scarves, the latter which I’ve only just recently started to wear.
For me, I love T-shirts and their diversity of prints, of which you just can’t really get from long sleeves (prints do exist, but not as creatively). As for shorts, I enjoy the looseness of it, along with feeling a bit, erm, more free and whatnot, if you know what I mean. 😛
4. Continuous service (banks, restaurants, etc.). Similar to what I wrote about 24-hour stores and restaurants in my previous post, I do wish that France, let alone Europe, have banks, post offices, and restaurants that have continuous service, even if it’s 4 pm and it’s in that awkward lunch-dinner phase.
This especially goes for banks and other administrative places, since sometimes you just can’t find any other time to meet with your banker or admin official between noon and 14h00. I understand that lunch breaks are necessary for our hard-working civil servants, but at the same time it would be nice to have someone else take over during those hours, instead of shutting the place completely. Again, it’s a cultural thing that I need to get used to, but still, it’s frustrating…
5. Bulk items. I kid you not, the photo above is an accurate representation of how Americans go grocery shopping, at least in Costco (which personally is one of my favorite places in the world). I mean, what’s not to like about buying a 20-pack of tissue boxes or three dozen water bottles altogether? With that amount, you’ll be set for life!
Finding things in bulk in France is a bit harder, but thankfully there are some intermarchés and hypermarchés (basically a huge commercial brand market) in my town, so bulk items aren’t as rare as they are compared with smaller grocery stores. Granted, the bulk items are in a small corner of the store and the quantities aren’t as “bulky” as the equivalents back home, but it’s good enough for me living on my own. Once I return to the United States, though, I’ll have to make a visit to Costco again!
…anyway, that’s about it for me! Don’t get me wrong: I like France, but sometimes the American in me comes out and has a problem with accepting things as they are abroad. It’s a learning process to get used to it, and I have to say that I’m doing better second time around. I don’t think that I could ever get used to the French way of life completely, but all the same, home is where the heart is, am I right?
— The Finicky Cynic
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