Sunday, March 4, 2012


I've been home sick. I knew this would happen and I know I'll come out the other side eventually, but I'm a little disappointed with myself for being quite so struck down by it. I don't want to miss out on the exhilaration of living in a completely new continent. However much I want that I'm getting really frustrated by countless little things not being 'right' or easy - everything seems like a hard slog and every moment of normality hard won. More than anything I don't want to be the sort of person that complains about the country they've moved to not being as good as the one they left behind. You encounter the displaced academic a lot in this line of work, and I always found the constant whining annoying. I don't want to be that person! I don't think it's leaked out too much in front of my new American acquaintances, but poor Dan is baring the brunt of it instead.

I thought I could be sensible and just switch the things I couldn't have/do for new things. That great British staple - Indian food - is terrible so far in Philly. No problem, we can eat Mexican instead. I don't have our garden any more (I think about it constantly at the moment - I can picture every corner of it and every spring bulb with complete clarity). I figured now my hands aren't subject to such regular manual labour I could make the most of it by painting my nails. Sadly it doesn't matter how far I go down this root, I don't think having orange nails is going to compensate for not having earth under my nails. And that's the problem, some things are just too well loved not to miss.


Which leaves us with the next solution - recreating a slice of home in our American city loft apartment. We now have a monthly repeat prescription of 160 Yorkshire gold tea-bags from Amazon, if only because the cost of the 40 tea-bag boxes we could find in town was astronomical. We've also laid in a stock pile of Marmite for similar cost efficiency reasons. I think if we weren't lucky enough to live next to Reading Terminal Market we'd be in serious trouble food-wise. For the most part we really did eat seasonal, local food back home. The thing about America is that because it's so big, local takes on a different meaning. The bewildering choice of vegetables available left us initially quite confused about what to cook with. On top of that, things we thought of as seasonal staples - leeks and rhubarb - are bizarrely expensive and get confused looks from the check out people.


I think we're figuring it out slowly, but the level of perseverance required to get something simple - like yoghurt - in a format that you like - runny, instead of weird, set and jelly like - is exhausting. Thank god for Amish farmers, that's all I can say!


  1. I so identify with your pantry! When I first moved here from England I think that other than friends, I missed the comfort foods the most. Back then, British foods here were even more scarce than they are now (there was no Amazon...heck, there was no internet!). It was years before I had salt and vinegar crisps, or custard cremes. I remember once having an entire case of Branston Pickle jars delivered because I simply refused to live without it, and I've been known to hoard a few jars of Marmite too. That said though, last time I was visiting England I was aghast to see Cheerios, and Pringles next to the Hula Hoops in Sainsburys! :P

    1. Glad I'm not alone! I feel like a bit of a cheater for not being able to live without this stuff. The most confusing thing is buying things you think you recognise from home only to discover they taste completely different stateside. I bought some mini-eggs, but because they're made by Hershey's in the US, the chocolate was all grainy and horrid :( such a disappointment.... The next coping strategy is going to be an indoor garden - I just have find somewhere that sells compost and pots!


Thanks in advance for any comments sent my way, they arere always appreciated!