The grass is always greener on the other side. I have American friends who are just as in love with the continent of Europe as I am, and I have European friends who are eager to hop in my suitcase, come back with me, and enjoy life on the other side of the Atlantic. Which one is actually better in the end? This is a highly personal call, which probably comes down to wherever a person feels more at home, intermingled with where they have the best economic opportunity.
Whatever one prefers, I think it’s always easier to remember what you like about a place once you’ve left it. The not-so-good bits fade away, and you’re just left with the taste of gelato in your mouth…and not the scorching hot Italian sun that makes you wither into a weary puddle.
Since I am currently not in the United States or Slovenia (I’m on a quick weekend getaway trip to everybody’s favorite number-one tourist destination: Poland!) I can say with extreme confidence what I love about both. And lucky me, I get to go back and experience what I love about these places in-person.
Without further ado, Eight Things I will miss when I no longer live in Slovenia (I will return to visit beyond a doubt,) and Eight Things I miss when I’m not living in the United States. More will come, I’m sure. But this is a good start.
–The mountains. I adore the big, giant, alpine mountains always on the horizon. I know you can get fantastic mountains in a lot of places, but I’m especially fond of these ones. This is a truly beautiful country.
–Burek. Yum yum yum. Maybe I will make my millions exporting this delicious and filling pastry. I wish it was readily available beyond the Balkan region sooo much!
–My friends, naturally.
–Speaking Slovenian. I feel like I’ve joined a secret club of two million.
-The neighbors. Italy! Croatia! Austria! Slovenia is in the middle of all that.
–Drinkable yogurt. Here, the standard yogurt is liquidly, and you drink it rather than eat it with a spoon. Plain yogurt, without sugar or flavoring, is commonly available and I’m addicted to it.
–How clean everything is. They take very good care of their cities here, and it makes living in them a great experience.
–The attitude towards health and physical activity. Everybody is always outside in the city parks, enjoying the nature. Grandparents and grandchildren, day in and day out. I go running every-other day, and it’s great to see so many people out moving and getting fresh air. It’s not like in Southern California, where you were either crazy fit and sporty and you go running, or not. Here, “normal” people go running and hiking. Exercise is not considered a duty or a chore, but a pleasure. Also, everybody rides bikes everywhere.
–The obsession with going out for coffee. In Slovenia, coffee isn’t something you gulp down for the caffeine rush, but something you savor with friends over conversation out of small ceramic cups.
The United States
–My friends and family. I love you all! I hope we can skype soon, Grammie and Grandpa!
–The emptiness. The population of Europe is squeezed into much less land than the United States. Although they have can have beautiful countryside, it’s just not possible to go long without seeing some sort of civilization, and a lot of land is under cultivation. Some Americans I know find this to be incredibly psychologically claustrophobic. I’m not quite so bad as that, but there are moments when my eye wishes for an untouched landscape.
–American coffee. I admit it. I love good American drip coffee. I’m sorry, Nation of Italy. Forgive me.
–Hulu. For those you who watch Hulu or movies online through Netflix, know that you live in a privileged land. Neither of these services is available in Europe.
–American Grocery Stores, especially natural food Co-Ops. American grocery stores have incredible variety, and you can buy food in bulk! I miss bulk! I’ll also admit a current craving for the overly priced hippy drink Kombucha, and Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.
–Ethnic Food, especially Mexican. I’ve already gone on about this for a million blog posts. You know how I miss it.
–Politics. I am probably the only person on the face of the planet who wishes they were in the United States for the upcoming election. But I wish it, I do. Not for presidential election, necessarily, but the Portland mayoral election. I’d have liked to get my fingers into it, and we need more women involved in the political process! I sincerely believe if more women were involved in politics, the world would be a better place.
–Brightly colored clothes. My current wardrobe has been thoroughly Europeanized. Black, dark gray, black, dark other color, brown. Easy to get dressed in the morning, and easy to get depressed! Just kidding. (Sort of.)
And there you have it! Eight things I miss from each. Oddly enough, quite a few of them are food-related….Hmm. Maybe in my next list I will try and avoid bringing up anything eatable. It will be a challenge. Or I could avoid the issue all together by never creating a part II.