There’s no place like home

There’s no place like home


Leaving home is a bittersweet thing.  I love Northern California: boiling summers in Sacramento, playing the tourist in San Francisco, living down the street from the most famous start-up Internet companies in the world. Yet I’m looking forward to settling down in a city (and country) that was established before interstate highways and cookie-cutter suburban homes.

Granted, things are looking as if I might not be leaving home tomorrow as planned, but my feelings surrounding that (mostly breathe, smile and realize I have NO control over a darn volcano in Iceland) are enough for a whole separate post (coming soon).

Things I’ll Miss

  • Living alone. After a year in a sorority house, I absolutely adored having a studio to myself in Sunnyvale: no one to interrupt rare afternoon naps, judge my weird eating habits or bother me when Friends was on. A homestay will be a beneficial experience, but it will take some getting used to.
  • In & Out Burger. And smell of fresh fries as you drive by one. Yum.
  • Target. Literally, everything I need under one roof and within walking distance: it’s unbeatable. France has Monoprix, which is cool–but let’s face it, no Target.
  • Being able to run errands in my gym clothes.
  • A big bowl of milk and cereal. It’s not the same when they sell un-refrigerated milk.
  • Bikram yoga and kickboxing class.
  • A Starbucks on every corner (especially when I’m running late and need a latte fix).
  • Friends and family. Duh. But they can visit.

Things I Won’t Miss

  • Having a car and the resulting expenses: gas, oil changes, new brake drums/alternators/engines when you can least afford it.
  • Awful public transportation with limited routes and inconvenient schedules.
  • Spending the majority of my waking hours in a cubicle.
  • Chain restaurants that appear in every city and on every freeway.
  • A Starbucks on every corner (forcing locally-owned coffee shops out of business!).

Then again, you never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. I bet I’ll miss the predictability of how gosh-darn delicious a Chipotle burrito tastes, no matter what location I buy it from. And I know I’ll miss my trusty little Focus when I want to make a trip somewhere the train won’t take me.

Either way, I’m going to try my hardest to embrace the change and everything that makes France unique. The best thing about home? You always know it will be there waiting for you.

When you’re abroad, what do you miss most about home? What do you wish you would have taken with you? Then again, when you’re abroad, what do you miss least about home?

  • I missed bagels terribly when I was studying in Italy. Although, the ensuing conversation with one of our professors, attempting to explain exactly WHAT a bagel was kinda made up for it. I also missed books in English — they were hard to come by (this was pre-Kindle & iPhone), and my Italian was (and remains) only good enough to read basic Italian lit.

    I didn't miss the frenetic pace of life in the US at allllll. I tend to always move at full tilt, and white it took a bit to get used to it, I got rather attached to the slower, more relaxed pace of my life in Italy. Some days I find myself trying to get back to that, but it's almost like it was something in the air in Italy that allowed me to breathe more deeply and exist more slowly.

  • Is it sad that I don't know how I would survive without Target?

    I've never been to France, but I think I would miss the movie theater, and movie theater popcorn.

  • camorose

    Mmm blueberry bagels with cream cheese are my biggest weakness. That's definitely something I'll miss–although pains aux chocolats aren't a bad replacement 🙂
    I love the pace of life in France as well–I especially like how relaxed and enjoyable mealtimes are. In America, I'm always rushing through meals–eating at my desk, while I'm driving, or while I'm getting ready. I love that in France/Italy, you sit at a proper table and really enjoy your food and your company.
    Thanks for weighing in 🙂

  • camorose

    I heart Target (but I think your obsession is a little bit more than mine). France has Monoprix, which is like Target in that it has EVERYTHING but it's just not the same!
    And as for movie theaters, Paris has more movie theaters per capita than any other city! The French LOVE their movies, and they have great theater complexes, especially the newer ones. Not only do they have great popcorn, they also have bars at the theaters with beer and wine, as well as paninis, fresh yogurt and salads. Way better than just a hot dog. I think you'd love it!

  • I always miss Mexican food when I am abroad. Sometimes I see wannabe Mexican food on the menu, get kinda excited, order it, and then realize that it is horribly wrong. Luckily, I have the Chipotles mapped out from SFO to home, just in case I need my fix on the way home.

  • camorose

    SO true! Only Californians know this–I crave everything from Americanized Chipotle to hard-core tacos from the taco truck when I'm abroad. It's never the same in Europe. Darn it, I haven't had Chipotle in weeks and now I'll be stuck for months without it…

  • Shireen

    I MISS TARGET!!!!! I would give anything to live down the street from one. And you’re right about Starbucks…it’s a love/hate and I can’t decide if I miss seeing those stores everywhere or if I’m kind of relieved to not see them (though I miss reading in those big comfy chairs.) I can understand how it’s great to be home, but is it harder now to be completely content there when you know how great things are outside of the Big 50? I wonder how I’ll feel once I’m home again. Adios~

  • camorose

    Believe me, Target has been one of the most brilliant things about being back–but not while I’m trying to save money!

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