As of a couple of weeks ago, I have been living in London for a year! Sometimes it feels like it’s flown by; other moments seemed to drag on.
There are things I really love about London and England, that make me feel like I was always meant to be here. But there are also things that really, seriously annoy me, and when I’m having a bad day I tend to list them all in my head like some kind of broken record.
So in light of the recent celebration of America’s independence, I decided to share my list with you!
American Things That I Regularly Miss
- FOOD. Seriously, I took it for granted. I mean it’s really unhealthy but there’s just so many options and they’re so easy to get. I miss TexMex. I miss Sonic drinks. I miss Whataburger. I miss Chick-fil-a sauce. I miss Braums milkshakes. I miss Panera mac and cheese (even Velveeta). I miss Arby’s curly fries. I miss Fuzzy’s tacos and more importantly, their strawberry margaritas. I miss breakfast biscuits (this is what British people call biscuits and you do not want them for breakfast and they certainly do not go with gravy, which is only ever brown gravy).
- I miss fountain drinks. Do you realize that fountain drinks aren’t really a thing over here?? They’re not in gas stations. You can get them at McDonald’s or Burger King, but you will not be getting a refill. Free refills do not exist, except at Nando’s. God bless Nando’s.🙌🏼
- Air conditioning. Yes that’s right, we live in the 21st century, yet most of England’s homes do not have air conditioning. Or even central heating – it’s all underfloor heaters or radiators. But in the summer, you’ll just have to rely on a fan or leave your windows and balcony door open for three months. It doesn’t stay consistently hot like Oklahoma does, but honestly even 76 degrees starts feeling pretty hot when there’s no air. Plus I’m convinced that the pollution in London makes it feel 10 degrees hotter. There’s definitely something that makes the heat unbearable but I don’t have any scientific facts for you.
- Window screens: this may seem really insignificant, but due to the aforementioned lack of a/c and having my windows open for 3 months, we have flies and other bugs taking up permanent residence in the house. They aren’t even chipping in on the rent.
- Ah yes, the rental prices in Oklahoma. The rent on our one bedroom is about twice what I used to pay for my one bed in OKC. It’s also half the size. That’s not even an exaggeration.
- Which brings me to that apartment which I miss more than you can imagine. I had a walk in closet! A garden tub! A huge balcony! My dining room table wasn’t in my living room and I had room for a desk too. It was a palace in comparison to a normal place over here.
- Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. I didn’t realize how much I loved those holidays until I got here. I mean sure, I’m not that patriotic, but I’m a huge fan of fireworks, and my dad’s grilled burgers and hot dogs and chips and dip (add dip to the list of things that suck over here too). And obviously Thanksgiving meals are just the best. I mean for Thanksgiving we can turn vegetables into a delicious casserole that’s almost as good as the desserts. It’s an American gift. And don’t get me started on my love for pumpkin pie and pumpkin bars. You would not believe how hard it is to find a can of pumpkin here in November.
- Appliances. Guys, I’m the least #wifeymaterial girl out there, and never in my life did I think I would care about washing machines or vacuums. But here we are. Our washing machine? A normal wash takes almost 2 hours. My shirts come out covered in fuzz. Dryer? Well it’s supposedly built into the same machine, except that I can put a load of towels in there for 3 hours and they’ll come out soaking wet. Vacuum? We have this which is incredibly annoying to push around. You can get normal upright ones, but we actually don’t have enough room for one of those. That’s right – no room to put a vacuum except under the dining room table. Which is in the living room.
- 24 hour convenience. Okay so there are places in England that are always open. But they’re few and far between. No 24 hour Walmart. No IHOP at 2am. Sometimes I just want breakfast after midnight. Sometimes I want a 5 layer burrito after a night out so I can keep making bad health decisions.
- My car. So obviously I could technically own a car here as well. But I’d have to learn all their traffic laws, take the written and driving test, buy a car, pay for insurance, pay for gas (which is heellllaaa expensive), pay for a parking spot at my apartment, pay for parking almost anywhere I went, and pay a congestion charge if I drove in Central London. Which starts about 5 minutes from where we live. There’s probably another fee I’m forgetting. So all in all, not cost efficient, not gonna happen. Not to mention the whole “driving on the other side of the road with crazy traffic, bicycles, and double-decker busses pulling moves you wouldn’t believe” thing.
- Target. If you’ve ever been to Target, I don’t think this needs an explanation. If you haven’t, you probably couldn’t understand. They have everything I need. They have everything I don’t need. It’s actually better for my budget that I can’t go there and buy my 27th purse or 3 planners for the same calendar year. But it still hurts.
So there it is. A long but probably not exhaustive list.
Of course it goes without saying that I miss my family and friends most of all. Thank goodness I live at a time where I can easily Skype people to stay in touch.
For anyone thinking, “wow, if she hates England so much why does she even live there?” – don’t worry, there’s a lot of great things about England too. I’ll be back one day with my list of “Reasons why England is amazing and I’m not sure I could ever leave.” I should probably work on better names for my lists before then.
Here’s some more pics of the joy that American fast food brings: