Things I miss as an American ex-pat

It’s been seven and a half months since I moved from Chicago to Berlin. With everyone back in the States gathering with their families for the holidays, I’m finding myself feeling a bit sentimental about the random things, big and little, that I’ve left behind. For example:

I think what I’m realizing, through the process of writing everything above, is that I miss familiarity. It’s not that I actually want familiarity back – in fact, maybe I’ll write a follow-up post about all the things I love about living “abroad” generally and in Berlin specifically, and how the absence of familiarity is precisely what I sought by moving in the first place. Nonetheless (and pardon the triteness), if familiarity breeds contempt, then absence makes the heart grow fonder. Good thing I’m headed to Chicago in a week to get everything familiar out of my system. Maybe I’ll visit Target first.

  1. ...although German brand names/marketing can be hilarious/interesting. My glass cleaner spray of choice is called Ja!. My power drill is made by "Brüder Mannesmann Werkzeuge" (Brüder means "brother," and Mann means "man", since some crack marketing team apparently didn't think power tools were gendered enough). My chocolate chip cookie boxes are stamped with a label reading "American Style" — complete with a crudely drawn Statue of Liberty and the type of lettering you'd see in an old Western.
  2. I literally have three of the items listed above saved in my "US shopping list" in the Reminders app on my iPhone.