This is an archive entry reposted from an older version of this blog on June 12, 2012.
Today marks exactly one year since I moved from Belfast Northern Ireland to Southern California. There are a lot of things I do not miss about Europe (like the rain and the wind), but there are a so many more things and people who I do miss.
My last full day in Belfast I spent in the Titanic Quarter and later at a fest noz with my friends. After the fest noz, my friend drove me to the bus station and waited with me for almost an hour. I will never forget waiting with her and then later finding the card she stuck into my bag while I wasn’t looking. The following (half) day in Ireland I spent in Dublin at a hotel and in the airport before finally making it out to the US.
The most terrible part of moving is having to say goodbye to everyone and wondering if you will ever see them again. While living in California this past year, I have only seen one friend from Ireland (she happened to be in town the weekend of my wedding). Although I have spoken with a few of my friends on Skype and through other online outlets, I long to see them again in person. I greatly miss all of my friends.
So on this one year anniversary, I’ve decided to be sentimental and post photos of my last day in Belfast, Northern Ireland while visiting the Titanic Quarter as well as a list of things I miss from Europe.
1. Being able to walk everywhere. Nothing compares to running around the corner for groceries, coffee or to pass time with friends. In Southern California it is impossible to do anything without getting in a car because everything is so spread out and far away.
2. Running into my friends on a day-to-day basis. Because I walked EVERYWHERE in Europe, I was always running into my friends. Here, most my friends live a decent amount of time away and so I feel like I never see them. We always have to plan getting together rather than getting together by chance.
3. The bakeries. In California I can’t walk down the street from my apartment to get freshly baked goods (oh, pain au chocolat, I miss you). If I want to stop at a bakery, I have to make a concerted effort to get there, so it never happens.
4. Breton music and dance. I already wrote an entire post lamenting the lack of Breton music and dance in Southern California. You can click the link to read more about it if you feel so inclined.
5. Reading. For some reason I had so much more time to read in Europe than I do here. In fact, I feel like I have a lot less time to do other things here than I did in Europe.
6. Coffee. Okay, so this one isn’t necessarily for Northern Ireland – it is for France. I miss the coffee in France, American coffee just doesn’t compare! I will concede, however, that American coffee is better than Irish coffee, so no complaints there.
7. European Architecture. Yes, the US has some rather beautiful architecture, but because it is a far newer nation, it just doesn’t have the same history as buildings in Europe. I miss beautiful old buildings, bridges and doors.
8. Public Transportation. If I had to choose between traffic on the major Californian freeways and a train or bus in Europe, it would be quite obvious which would win. Public transportation doesn’t compare to that which is available in Europe.
9. Crêpe Parties. In both Ireland and France, my friends, family and I would throw “crêpe parties.” We would get together, make crêpes and enjoy one another’s company and conversation. My niece is 11 and she already kicks my booty at crêpe making.
10. The availability of multilingual reading material. Reading, again, I know, but it is something I miss! In Europe, if I wanted to read something in a different language, I could visit the library which was a five-minute walk from my home. In California, I have to special order books online or ask family members to mail them to me.
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If you have moved to a new location, what do you miss about your hometown?