Living abroad is great, 90% of the time. Really, it is.
But also, is it?
I love Paris. I love Paris so damn much. The thought of having to leave at the end of June makes me just so sad. But also, I can tend to feel a little homesick.
Like sure I seem to eat an unlimited number of chocolate eclairs, and sure my life is all pretty pink flowers, cold drinks in the French sunshine and generally faffing around Paris with no purpose or responsibilities. Whatever. Sometimes it’s also not that.
Sometimes I miss home. Yep, I miss the good old United Kingdom. England, to be precise, as that’s where I live.
The UK isn’t perfect. I know that. I know it very well. I mean, I’d be one of the first in line to complain about all of the awful people and things and politics and all sorts.
But, it’s my home. Everyone speaks English to me, I can go to a bank without crying, you can buy as much cake as you like and not one bit of it will be made of chantilly cream and choux pastry. Real talk, the only cake you can buy in Paris, unless you go on a very specific trip to very specific places, is supermarket marble cake, sold in the biscuit aisle.
Here are the 15 things that really get me feeling homesick on a lonely day in the Paz.
- The aforementioned cake. Durham is cake capital, Paris is not. Next year is going to see me, in a bath of cake, making up for lost time.
- Chinese takeaways where the food isn’t all out on the counter, put into a tub and microwaved in front of you. God knows how long that stuff has been sitting here under that cling film. I have no idea how Chinese takeaways work in the UK and they may even have the same set up behind that door by the till, but I don’t know about it and that’s fine with me.
- Cheese and onion crisps. Closest I can get in my surrounding supermarkets are those green Pringles and they’re great and all but not a packets of blues. Also, why, when in the cheapy cafés and at the airports and whatever, can I only get flavours like BBQ and bolognaise? Where’s ready salted at?
- Letting people off the tube before you get on. We don’t do that in Paris, and on the odd day that I’m in London I have to check myself once or twice before I get used to being polite again. The Paris Metro is more like a free-for-all trip in a moving Sardine tin than anything else, and if I’m honest I might actually prefer it. Meh.
- Pudding. In general. That isn’t creme caramel or cream based in general. Again, I guess this goes back to cake, doesn’t it?
- Grass. I miss green grass. The parks in Paris are all sandy and gravelly. It’s like ‘yay we have this wide open space! Let’s cover it in yellow!’ Now don’t get me wrong, I know that there are loads of geographical reasons for this and whatever, but also grass. One time, in Brussels, we found a proper English Park (open space rather than designed gardens) and my friend Annabel and I got all weepy to the point where I wouldn’t touch it incase it was a mirage. Ugh, such an embarrassment.
- Shopping anywhere other than H&M. There’s one TOPSHOP in Paris. One. Not that I ever really shop there at home. H&M seems to have a monopoly over all the clothes one can buy in Paris and while that’s totally fine with me because I only wear striped jumpers, it’s also like nah. Maybe I’m just too lazy to go to other shops. H&M is so cheap in Europe though!
- Country walks. I miss a good old walk in the country. Climbing over gates and fences, running from cows and sheep. What a green and pleasant land.
- Supermarkets that make sense. The supermarket below my flat is like every other supermarket in Paris, in that it’s made up of about four ground floor flats knocked together, and has no rhyme or reasoning behind its layout. Also you can buy cans separately from their plastic wrapping and I find that just so weird.
- Ready meals. I can’t seem to find them at all. I don’t even have a microwave so it’s not like it matters too much but also why can you only get pre-made meals in tins? Nah thanks.
- English breakfasts. Croissants are cool and whatever. No shade. But also I bloody love sausages and where even are they? You can’t really even buy them in the supermarket. Why?! Sure I could go to one of the ‘English pubs’ but also no because money. What I wouldn’t give for a Bill’s on my road in Paris.
- Friends that speak English allll the time, without stopping to chat in French amongst themselves. I mean, it’s cool cause I understand like three-quarters of it and I’m in no position to complain at all because they’re still my friends butttt…. what are you sayyyinngg?
- Wearing sports kit to lectures. In Durham it’s the most normal thing ever. Some might even say it’s cool. I once did it in Paris and got actual strange looks from people.
- Having a cup of tea outside my flat. Want coffee? Cool. Hot chocolate? No problem. Tea? That’s a month’s rent and you can only have herbal tea and why do you want milk? Nah. I’m not paying 5€ for a cup of hot water and bits of plant.
- Carpet. Bit of a weird one, bear with me. Ollie came up this it and as soon as he said it I was like oh my god you’re so right. My flat is entirely wooden/tiled flooring. All of my friend’s flats are the same. The family I babysit for have wooden floors. School is wooden. Carpets are so nice under your feet, why abandon them?
What do you miss when you’re away from home?
Could you give all of these things up entirely?