My U.S. miss list

BrooklynEveryone is attacked by the dreaded homesickness disease at some point. Maybe a memory triggers it. Sometimes it appears out of thin air, and starts cutting off our oxygen and threatens our very existence. When you live abroad, you try to integrate into the local culture as much as possible. That doesn’t mean I’m not craving or thinking about things from back home. Here’s some things I just can’t replicate over here:

1. Friends and family. This is the obvious first choice. Not only because people are different, but also since I never have to explain myself or question my sense of humor. There’s nothing like being at home and just being yourself.

2. Jamaican food. In the photo to the right, you will find some of my favorites: oxtail, jerk pork, rice and peas and Koala Champagne. There’s a Chinese Jamaican restaurant that we always go to. If you saw us on House Hunters International, a few years ago, it’s the restaurant where I had my goodbye dinner – Henrica’s in Queens.

Oxtail, jerk pork and Koala Champagne

3. Customer service. I can’t even begin to explain how much I miss this. I once had a German tell me they prefer meanness to fakeness. Listen, I am not trying to be best friends with sales clerks or waiters. But I never realized how much their positive attitude can really affect you. I’d take their fakeness any day over being yelled at in the bakery because I forgot to tell the woman “to go” – and she didn’t ask either (true story, btw).

4. Cheesecake! Yes, American cheesecake is my favorite. Sorry käsekuchen, but you have nothing on American cheesecake. Not only have I had the pleasure of devouring Junior’s, but I also know Cheesecake Factory. I was telling someone about red velvet cheesecake and white chocolate caramel macadamia nut cheesecake recently and almost started drooling on myself.

5. Red velvet (cheesecake or cupcakes). I ate the BEST red velvet cupcake in Philly when I was there recently. It’s Oprah approved, people, so you know it’s great. It literally melted in my mouth – the perfect combination of creamy frosting and light, buttery cupcake. I’m making myself hungry right now!

6. Bagels. The epitome of New York breakfast. We even ordered some decent ones from Bagel Brothers, but it doesn’t live up the original. There’s nothing like ordering a fresh, hot bagel from the local deli while the butter melts and you take a bit of the delectably crispy outside and buttery, soft inside. OK, I have to stop torturing myself.

7. Abundance of diverse culinary. From Venezuelan, Korean, soul food, to any culinary cuisine your heart desires, NYC has it all. Additionally, the are open 24/7. A lot of restaurants in Germany and the Netherlands are closed on Monday since it is (supposedly) the day that most families eat together.

8. Manners. Some people say that Americans apologize too much because we use “sorry” synonymously with “excuse me.” I used to be guilty of this as well. Then I learned in Germany and the Netherlands that no one bothers to apologize when they bump into you on the street. Let the free for all begin!

The Lion King!9. Entertainment in English. While this isn’t a huge obstacle in Maastricht, it certainly is in Germany. Movies, for example, play in the original version (English) for about a week before it switches to German. My best friend and I finally went to see The Lion King this year, after discussing it for years. It’s also showing in Hamburg, but not in English. At least in the Netherlands, movies are in English and have Dutch subtitles. However, it’s still a disadvantage if you don’t speak the local language and want to participate in cultural activities. 

10. Holidays. Yes, of course, there are holidays in the Netherlands and Germany. But this ties back into the first point. In particular, I miss BBQ on 4th of July, turkey on Thanksgiving, and apple cider in the fall. I have to give Christmas to Germany though because the Christmas markets are beautiful.

There’s always something else that I miss, but these are the major, consistent ones. Do you have a miss list? If so, what’s on it?

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