The other day it occurred to me that most of the things I generally miss about the U.S. are really random, insignificant things. I generally find myself missing little conveniences of life much more often than the big stuff that you’d generally expect me to miss, like my hometown or my apartment. So for today’s blog post, I’m documenting the “5 Stupid Things Studying Abroad Has Made Me Miss.”
1. Chinese/Mexican food
When I say this, I don’t even mean I miss the authentic stuff (although I still miss that stuff too). But what I really miss is the cheap, Americanized Chinese and Mexican restaurants like Panda Express and Barberito’s. Granted, there’s actually a lot of food I miss (the British aren’t exactly known for their cuisine, after all), but these two genres of food are somehow the ones I miss the most.
2. Knowing what slang words mean
I genuinely feel so disconnected from popular culture. While, on one hand, I don’t know what a lot of British slang words mean because I’m not from here, I also don’t know what most of new American phrases mean. When the whole “how bow dah” thing became big, it literally took me two weeks to figure out what on earth people are talking about. Studying abroad creates this awkward in-between of cultures wherein you’re not really involved in either culture fully and it’s just weird.
While I miss this, I’m sure my wallet doesn’t. For some reason, despite there being Sephora stores all over Europe, there aren’t any in the UK. I miss the convenience of being able to go to one place to stock up on all of my favorite products at once instead of chasing them down all over the place, and I miss the free 2-day shipping program that my Sephora card has in the US. I really could modify this to say that I miss online shopping in general, because I honestly just miss getting a new package once or twice a week (yes, I do shop online that much – it’s a problem).
I’m one of those people that actually weirdly loves driving places. It’s almost somewhat calming to me, and I love that it’s kind of an escape from everything else. When you’re driving, you don’t feel like you should be doing something else instead, because you genuinely can’t be doing anything else while driving. In the passenger seat, you get that guilty feeling of “I should be doing my homework or reading or something.” The concept of driving here terrifies me though; I don’t think I could handle driving on the left side of the road with my seat on the right side. Nope, not for me.
5. A solid concept of how much things cost
I feel like I spend significantly more money abroad than I do at home (despite the whole not shopping online thing) purely because my sensitivity to what’s actually expensive is diminished. Since a pound is worth more than a dollar, I’ll see something that’s only 5 pounds and think to myself “wow, that’s so cheap!” without even considering that it’s realistically about 1.25 times that cost when converted to dollars. I only have a really solidified sense of how much I’ve spent when I look at my credit card bill, which is probably not the best place to have to check for that sort of thing.
So there you go: five random, ridiculously specific things I miss about America. Although if you look at it in the grand scheme of things, I’ll still happily go without those five in exchange for all of the amazing things I’m experiencing here. For example, as I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a hostel in Edinburgh getting ready to go climb Arthur’s Seat – and I wouldn’t trade that for all the Panda Express and Sephora in the world.