Going on our fifth year living overseas, I’m constantly reminded of things I miss from “home.” Sometimes it’s the ease of simple grocery shopping, or perhaps the social norms I expect in certain situations, such as queuing. I get excited when I find the red cup at Starbucks symbolizing the beginning of the holiday season! These feeling are something common among the expat community wherever I go, and I’m still intrigued by what other expats miss the most. I got the chance to get some feedback from some fellow ladies on a local expat Facebook page, Desiree from the Netherlands and Amy from Michigan, USA.
Desiree has lived abroad for almost 20 years. That being said, there are a lot of things that she used to miss and got over with time, but she has started to miss them again lately. Confusing, I know, but I guess over the years and in each situation, it all changes. Perhaps it’s how comfortable we feel in the culture we’re assimilating.
One thing Desiree misses a lot is pumpkin spice! Now, you may be thinking this is actually not something from the Netherlands, but having lived all over the world, she has started to really enjoy it and misses it here in Singapore. Once she found out she could at least get a pumpkin latte at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, she was quite thrilled! Adding to her list of “great misses” from her home country are the variety of cheeses, good healthy breads and a readily available organic variety of veggies at a descent cost. There are other things she really misses from her home country is quite a bit, but found out a lot of the items she can actually get from the German Market here in Singapore, so it’s not a biggie.
Holiday “Miss Lists”
celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on the night before Saint Nicholas Day, 5 December, in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day itself, in Belgium, Luxembourg, and Northern France), and the goodies that go with that celebration. Banketletter, gevulde speculaas and gluhwein are a few more holiday treats she longs for. “What I also miss…herring!!! We Dutch love our herring, raw of course, with chopped onions!!! Eel, also very good!!!”
Amy has only been overseas for eight weeks, yet her “miss” list from Michigan is already starting to grow. One of the things she misses most are the big, wide-open parking lots that don’t cost a thing. Who would have thought? But I get it; especially here in Singapore…they don’t exist. Cider Mill Donuts & apple cider, ground turkey (definitely on my list too!), barbeques & bonfires, driving fast on the freeway (difficult to find a long stretch of road here in Singapore to open it up, but you can do it freely in the UAE!), garden fresh salsa and just being able to “run into” a store on my way somewhere also. Amy is also feeling the aches of missing her first holiday season back home, “even though I hate the cold with a passion, I will miss that 1st snowfall, especially when the flakes are big and fluffy and they just slowly drift down.”
No matter how well you think you are adjusting to living in another country, and no matter how long you’ve actually lived overseas, there’s always something that you’ll long for or just wish was easier to get your hands on. Maybe it’s even just seeing or smelling something familiar. Despite how many things are on my list, I’m always grateful for the opportunity we have to travel the world and learn about other cultures, and funny enough, I now have things I miss about each of those countries too.