This post was inspired by 18 Months in DC’s post on the best things about a trip to the UK (her home country), and my recent trip back to the good ol’ USA last month. I’ve grown so accustomed to things like instant coffee and breakfast sandwiches with no cheese, that I almost forgot to be excited about them the second my plane touched down in Philly.
- Trees. The landscape in the northwest of England is often bare grass and clusters of grey slate houses and roofs. I miss the brightly colored foliage that comes with a New England autumn, and so enjoyed it, especially since this last trip home took me to Vermont and New Hampshire, where some of the most beautiful leaves are.
- Hoppy Beer! The hops, the microbreweries, and the variety are all so different than British real ales. While I’ve grown accustomed to less cold and carbonated beverages, a good IPA from a craft brewery is well worth drinking, and they just aren’t available where we live. We visited old favorites (Beer’d) and tried a new brewery, Outer Light (one of the many that has popped up in the year we’ve been gone).
- American roads. Roads that fit two cars wide safely, and have appropriately low speed limits? The norm in America. If I don’t have to cross my fingers that another car won’t come flying up the lane and I’ll have to back up or pull over, well that’s a good day in England, the norm in America. I’ve grown to see the benefits of a good roundabout, but the narrow country lanes still do my head in sometimes
- Food. Even in a relatively small American town, within a 15 minute drive I can find almost any type of food I could want, from sushi to gourmet hamburgers to cupcakes. Seriously. I miss a lot of the variety, and though I can make it myself, the convenience and choice is really nice. I know that in larger UK cities all these cuisines would be available, but the downside to living in Cumbria is that the selection is limited!
- Things are open on Sunday! The grocery stores tend to have normal business hours, and most shopping centers are only slightly reduced, making it easy and convenient to do a weekly shop on Sunday afternoon, even after 4 pm.
- Restaurant service. Although I’ve grown to love the lack of tipping in the UK, there is something to be said for expedient service, motivated by additional money. Or a bit of extra rum in the punch, if you’ve been tipping the bartender well.
Of course, really the best thing is seeing all of my friends and family! Its so hard to stay in touch and I’m so glad we all make the effort to talk on facebook messenger and facetime, but really there’s nothing like the in person conversations and late nights chats after a few too many drinks. (And on this trip home the BEST thing was getting engaged to my partner and best friend, AND being able to celebrate it with everyone!)