Guest Post by David
As we’ve both been saying goodbye to friends and colleagues over the last couple of weeks, the number one question I’ve been asked is ”What are you going to miss?” I’ve actually given that a lot of thought since the decision to leave the UK started back in December. And the answer is a lot. Every choice has rewards and consequences, and both coming here 2 years ago and moving back now are no exception.
It goes without saying that I will miss the friends I’ve gotten to know over the last couple of years, just as much as I am looking forward to re-connecting to the ones in Richmond. Friends aside, here are some of the things I will miss the most, and on the other side what I am looking forward to returning to the most.
I Will Miss:
- Not having to drive anywhere. Walking + public transportation was a pain (literally, I was out of shape) at first, but I’ve grown to really love it. I suppose it helps that my walk to work is only 1/4 mile, so I don’t have to deal with the tube on a daily basis.
- Pubs – Not a bar, not a club, a pub. I like how easy they are to go to and have a drink. And throughout most of London, you are never at a loss for options. Some of my favorites include Cross Keys, The Surprise and The Ship & The Shovel.
- Healthy food for 2 – Anne Taite has mentioned it before, but it’s not difficult to purchase healthy, organic food (UK restrictions on artificial anything in food are strict), and also to find food perfectly proportioned for 2 people.
- Food options – It’s probably the same in any large urban city, but you can get almost any kind of food you want in London. My favorite place is still the Saturday morning market at Duke of York Square. Food from all over the world at super low prices.
- Access to Europe – Europe isn’t actually going anywhere, but with the costs of flights from London being a fraction of what they would be from the States, we won’t be going to Rome for the weekend again anytime soon.
Looking forward to:
- Driving – I know I mentioned earlier that I would miss not having to drive, but that only refers to day-to-day driving. What I miss is the feeling of freedom only driving can bring to you. If you want to go somewhere, you turn the key and go.
- Southern cooking – Definitely not healthy, but if it’s what you grew up on, you know what I’m talking about. I’m looking forward to going to Millies for breakfast, Chick-Fil-A for lunch and Comfort for dinner. Just maybe not all in the same day.
- Family – I know it sounds lame to admit as a grown man (by age not by maturity) that I miss my parents, but I did a lot more than I thought I would. My dad turned 70 last year, and I couldn’t make it back to celebrate and it really bothered me. So I have some time to try to make up for, which I’m sure will be a large priority for the summer.
- TV – We have TV in London, but the content is usually old (or British) so we end up watching a lot of TV on my 13″ laptop. Even worse, a lot of the content is only accessible from within the US.
- 4 seasons – All four weather seasons exist in London, but autumn and spring are very short lived, and sometimes you get all four seasons in a day. Richmond, Virginia has tons of trees and is situated 2 hours from the mountains and 2 hours from the beach. You not only see all the seasons in Richmond, they are easier to take advantage of.
- US Holidays – Most of Europe celebrates the big ones, Christmas, Easter and (in some parts) Halloween, but I miss a summer holiday. Obviously, there aren’t any British celebrating the 4th of July. I miss a good BBQ celebration with sparklers.
- Cheetoes – don’t hate, you know you love them too.
When I sat down to write this list, I was reminded of some really great advice someone who has lived abroad in several different countries shared with me. He said that you can’t compare the places you’ve lived or it will drive you crazy. You have to find the things you love about where you are. He’s right; discovering what we love about London is what has made this experience so rewarding.