Looking back across the pond

I have less than a week left in Charlottesville now. On Sunday I will be travelling to New York where I will spend two nights before flying home on Tuesday, and I’ll be back for a month. I really can’t wait to get home now, actually. I’ve been away for three and a half months now, which is hard to believe, and I do find myself really missing Britain at times, more than I thought I would as someone who has never really felt particularly British. Obviously I miss friends and family a lot, but I also miss things about the country itself. Time for a list (not entirely comprehensive but rather arbitrary things off the top of my head):

– British TV. Surprising, since I watch so little of it – almost everything I tend to watch is American anyway. Maybe more specifically, I miss the BBC. Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, things like that… and even the stuff I don’t watch regularly but is just comforting to know it’s there, like The One Show and Antiques Roadshow and the Six O’Clock News. (A lack of ITV I have been totally fine with, by the way.) American TV is just awful. Of course there are a lot of good shows, but most of it is utter crap and there are SO many ad breaks (hence – missing the lovely, advert-less BBC). I still don’t understand the difference between the channels or which is on what number or how they figure out all the time differences across the country. It’s totally confusing.

– Christmas things. This encompasses mince pies, mulled wine (which I don’t even like but I guess it’s nice to at least have the option), town centre Christmas lights, Christmas crackers (which totally don’t exist here, FYI, and which I have had to explain multiple times), Christmas adverts (including the John Lewis one, although I have actually seen this year’s already on YouTube because I’m that cool), decorations everywhere… obviously there are Christmassy things here but it seems like not nearly to the same extent. Luckily I will be home to experience all of the above in time.

– Cadbury’s. You can buy it in a few places here but it’s not entirely the same.

– Sausages and mash

– Spaghetti Bolognese

– Pubs (the one ‘Irish pub’ I’ve been to here looked like the most stereotypical American bar you could imagine)

– Not so much dependency on cars. I even find myself missing the British train system (maybe. Just a little tiny bit.)

– Custard. It may exist here but I haven’t come across it and it probably wouldn’t be the same anyway.

– Real cheese.

– People who understand what all of the above are.

– Most of all I miss things that are hard to put into words. I feel like, particularly around Christmas, there are things that bring everyone in the country together simply through common experience (of Christmas traditions, TV shows, even just by all complaining about the same things). Although obviously I’m not American and so not fully part of the ‘experience’ or whatever, I feel like the country is so huge and diverse that there isn’t quite that same sense of shared experience. Like I said, it’s hard to put into words. But I miss it.

Although all this might seem slightly negative about my experience here, I’m just getting myself excited about coming home. The truth is if I made a list of all the things I’m going to miss about America and UVa (which I’ll do before I leave for good) it would probably be much longer.

Strangely patriotic love,

Natalia xxx

P.S. On a slightly related note, today I mentioned to my roommate that I didn’t really like tea and she said, “Wait… you’re British and you don’t like tea?! That’s awkward. Maybe you should move…” I said, “I did!”  and she replied, “No…. as in for good.” Looks like I fail as British representative in this respect!

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