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I’ve been living abroad as an expat/student for 2 years now. On average, I take one trip back home every year. As I board my plane to visit my family this year, I started reflecting on the things that I miss the most about North America (Canada).
1. Speaking English (poorly)
I miss speaking English so much! In Europe, the only country where they actually speak English as a native tongue is the UK.
Where I live, the local language is French. I miss being able to express myself in English because I sound a lot funnier and wittier when speaking English than French. I might be bias but I’d also argue that everything sounds funnier or wittier in English! That’s why even French people have adopted many English words in their daily vocabulary.
What I miss most is being able to speak English without having to worry about speaking “properly” to be understood. I miss using trashy English slang, terrible grammar, and slurring my words!
2. Eating local food, especially unhealthy fast food
When you move away from your home country, there will always be local delicacies that you miss. For me, that is the local Asian food because that’s what I grew up on. I also miss things like pancakes with maple syrup and poutine fries!
Another thing I miss is the fast food chains. I miss being able to walk into a McDonalds or Starbucks at every street corner. And I especially miss being able to eat fast food as a meal without being judged!
3. Driving an automatic car
I miss having a car and being able to drive! Most of the time, however, the public transportation is so convenient that I don’t really need to drive.
Here in Europe, almost everyone drives manual cars.
I have never learned how to drive a manual car. Whenever I go out with friends, I feel bad that I can never offer to be DD (designated driver) even though I conveniently don’t drink alcohol!
4. Blasting the air conditioning
Air conditioning does not exist in most parts of Switzerland. This summer, I was horrified because (I kid you not), on a daily basis, I was seeing news flashes of houses, boats, trains, and busses catching on fire. I have no idea why that kept happening all over Europe because this sort of thing never really happened in Canada (as far as I know).
I guess not having air conditioning is good for the environment but it’s still hard to get a good night’s sleep when your room feels like a sauna!
5. Shopping at Walmart and Costco… or just shopping in general
I miss shopping at Walmart for the convenience and everyday low prices! All the department stores here are extremely overpriced and I don’t even dare to step foot in them.
I guess I just miss being able to go shopping and feeling that I can actually afford to buy things. I miss seeing things go on sale and using coupons!
6. Wearing sweats, uggs, and lululemon
Lastly, I especially miss being able to walk around in sweatpants and a hoody, or in an oversized shirt and leggings. Scrap that last part, I mainly just walk around in oversized shirts and leggings.
However, in Canada if you dressed like this, you fit in. In most places in Europe, people will judge you for your lack of fashion sense. I miss being able to dress like a hobo and not get judged for being ridiculously unstylish.
I was waiting at the airport for my flight and figured that I should write a blog post. I hope you enjoyed my reflection of the top 6 things I miss about living in North America.
The one thing I learned after these two years abroad is that in life, you can’t have everything. I love living in Switzerland and the country has been very good to me. So, it is worth it to sacrifice a few things like good Asian food and Walmart in exchange for the freedom I have living abroad!
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