As an ex-pat you learn to live without a lot of home comforts and of course you find new ones. There isn’t much I can’t live without here in Berlin and a few things I will really miss if I ever have to move away. It teaches you a lot about yourself and you attachments to home, I know a lot more about what makes me, well me and I would recommend moving to a new country anyone who is trying to figure themselves out. Not only does it give you a chance to break bad habits and patterns but it also lets you leave you baggage behind (figuratively and literally) and decide exactly who you want to be.
So having said that here are the things from home that I really really miss.
- Proper sausages and bacon – I can get these frozen from a shop called Broken English but it’s not the same as going to a supermarket and having a choice of fresh.
- Cadbury’s chocolate – yes I know by the standards of continental chocolate it is cheap and nasty with more fat and sugar that cocoa solids but it is what I was raised on and to me it’s what chocolate should taste like.
- Magazines – specifically GWPs on magazines, I can read my gossip online and for the most part my German is good enough I could read a glossy here but in Germany the don’t give away stuff to encourage you to buy. So for the most part I don’t because I’m not getting a free lipstick or nail polish, sad but true.
- The BBC – I simply can’t live without Qi, The Great British Bake Off, Mock the Week, Strictly Come Dancing, Luther, Sherlock, Dr Who and The Graham Norton Show to name but a few. Plus, the BBC News site is still me first port of call to find out if anything is actually true.
- Boots the Chemist – Drug stores here are mediocre at best and the Apotheke can be daunting (you are normally given the 3rd degree and offered something “herbal”) I loved being able to wander into Boots and get decent medication off the shelf and not to mention the choice in toiletries and cosmetics.
- Paying by card – everywhere take cards in the UK and in the event somewhere doesn’t then it is very unlikely that a cash point will charge you for taking money out unless it is one of those silly little ones in shops. Here in Germany you pretty much have to use your own banks cashpoint or risk being charged anywhere between 3 and 6 euros. This is a problem here because hardly anywhere take cards and you could be a nile from your nearest cashpoint.
- Anime – Silly I know but I can’t buy anime here was it is either dubbed or subbed in German with no English options. This can make watching it tricky as there is often not much context in these shows and a lot of fantasy/sci-fi terminology that unless you are a native speaker can be very difficult to understand
So as you can see it’s not a big list and I certainly wouldn’t give up what we have here in Berlin for those things but it is so interesting to find out what you took for granted.