What do you miss from where / when you grew up?

Girl scout cookies! (not available in Ireland)
Firstly, I"m delighted to have stumbled upon this blog: An American in Dublin, written by an ex-pat, like me, who's a Yank living in Ireland.  Particularly I want to give a shout out to his most recent post which looks at the creature comforts of home and missing them.  I was a bit homesick yesterday, that's normal on the Fourth of July but it got me thinking...what do I currently miss most about where I grew up (besides the obvious - family & friends) and how has this changed for me throughout the years?

The below is a response I left to Glenn's blog.  I hadn't intended it to become a blog in its own right but I went on so darn long I thought I should post it here.  And don't forget to check out Glen's blog - he's newly(ish) arrived in Ireland and has very good insight into the immigrant experience.  

Kath O'Meara says:
Hey fellow ExPat!
Its exciting to see another of your posts! And an especially poignant one to read on July 4th.
I’m a Yankee living in Ireland (Dublin) for over a decade and aside from the biggies (family & friends), every year there is one thing I miss more than others. At first it was coffee and coffee houses (this was 1995 Dublin, when you could buy a cuppa joe at Gloria Jeans [long closed] in Powerscourt mall, Dunkin Donuts [also long closed] on Grafton St. or Bewley’s). Cafe Mocha (do they exist anymore?) was just coming in. I used to wish for Starbuck’s (being from Seattle and all) but now I’ve just noticed two Starbuck’s across the street from each other on Westmoreland St – be careful what you wish for!! In 1997 what I missed most was American bacon. But now you can easily find Spanish bacon in most shops which is very nearly the same – at least, it does the job for me. In 2010-2011 I missed the US consitutional separation of Church and State. This year I’m missing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When I visit the States, one of the things I miss most about Ireland is wholesome food. I find eating out in the States to be a challenge – everything is so processed. Its been hard for me to order a side of carrots/broccoli/cauliflower that’s just plain and not drenched in cheese or some sauce. It also takes a day or two for me to adjust to the different volume at which people speak. And the uber attentive customer service. I’m not used to it anymore and often feel like saying: “Just leave me alone! AGH!!!.” I have become so accustomed to early closing times and limited opening hours that I miss that when in the States. I’ve come to adore the idea that not everything should be available and open all the time. And I love walking through Dublin on a Sunday morning when everything’s shut and quiet.
When I need the creature comforts of home I go to Fallon & Byrne to buy Nestle’s chocolate chips, Crisco (buy two tubs at a time, they don’t always stock it), and Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix and maple syrup (the pancake mix kinda kills me cause I know I can make it myself but I can’t resist it). And…now this part I’m embarrassed to admit but…I’m just enough of a food snob that I would NEVER buy the following in the US: Stouffer’s Stuffing, Pop Tarts, A-1 Sauce. But when I see them for sale at Donnybrook Fair? You bet I buy them. I don’t even care I’m paying 3times the price, because its the comfort of where I grew up that I’m buying.

Now here’s where Ireland makes me a better person. Being originally from the West Coast and all, I’m a total greener hippie. Living in Dublin for so long has made me happily accustomed to not driving a car, not having a dishwasher (although these are common now), not having a dryer, not having a fridge bigger than a college dorm room fridge. My carbon footprint is much smaller for living here. The only thing I miss about of the above is having a dryer to de-lint my clothes from time to time. That’s it.
And on the 4th of July? I miss fireworks. And watching the Boston Pops with my family.


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