It’s to be expected that when you pack up and move 16,000 km to the other side of the planet that there will be some things that you miss about home. I’m not surprised that I miss things that I took for granted, but I am surprised about what they are.
I’m not talking about Tim Tams or Vegemite (you can pick those up from Waitrose).
This article could also be a thinly veiled cry for help – someone please tell me where I can find these treasures from home!! Of course, there will be some things that just can’t be replaced or emulated here in London – only a trip home would help.
So here goes – the 6 surprising things that I miss about Melbourne;
1. Dim Sims & Good Chinese Food
Who would have thought – top of the list is that little gem of a fried (or steamed if you’re feeling healthy) treat – the humble Dim Sim.
‘What is a Dim Sim?’ I hear you say? Well… here’s a link to the wiki;
These golden parcels of goodness (well, you probably don’t want to know what’s in them really) are NOWHERE to be found outside of Australia. I knew it was a Melbourne delicacy after last time I visited some other cities like Sydney and Perth and wanted a dim sim with my Fish and Chips and was greeted with confused and horrified look.
Oh, to have a little brown paper bag full of dim sims with a drizzle of soy sauce and way too much salt – oh, a boy can dream.
Speaking of vaguely Chinese food – I am yet to find a wonderful Chinese food experience here in London. We are so spoiled for choice in Melbourne due the high population of people with Chinese background bringing their wonderful food to the city.
Needless to say, I miss having a great (and relatively authentic) Chinese meal. It probably didn’t help that I stopped over in Hong Kong on the way over.
2. Smith’s Chips (or, as they say here, crisps)
Oh, Smith’s chips. Such strong flavours and such familiar flavours.
We grow up with flavours like Salt and Vinegar, Chicken, Barbecue and Cheese & Onion in Australia – even ‘plain’ if you’re a bit straight laced.
But apparently, in the UK, everyone is more familiar with flavours like peking duck, caramelised red onion and mature cheddar, prawn cocktail, and pickled onion (that’s a particular face cringer).
Give me a simple, robust and crinkle cut chip any day. Might have to hold these cravings til I’m back home in Oz as shipping of these big packets of chips isn’t cost justified (I know, I’ve investigated).
3. Chatting to people who work in stores
You know – when you’ve popped your shopping up on the register and the shop assistant is scanning everything through – the little small talk about the weather or something else light hearted. We know the rules in Australia – a little friendly banter is fun and helps ease any situation.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be welcomed here. A little bit of smalltalk is generally accompanied by a stare to the door (I think they want to leave) – or worse, a confused and stunted conversation because it’s totally unexpected (I’m sorry, what did you just say to me??? Oh.. yes… lovely weather!)
I guess people don’t get paid to be nice here – but nonetheless, nobody is horrible so guess that’s OK.
4. Good design
I never thought I would say this – as I just assumed that good design was now standard in the modern era – but wow… there are some shockers here. I’m talking about homes and buildings.
Whilst looking for rental flats, boy, we’ve encountered some shockers. When you have to ask yourself why the fridge is placed in a different room to the kitchen (in a new build apartment) and why cupboard doors just don’t open unless they’re opened in the correct sequence (otherwise banging together), or even a bedroom being designed too small to even fit a bed in width ways… it’s quite concerning.
Oh, give me my wonderfully designed architectural wonder that is brought to the masses through oversized developers building cookie cutter apartment complexes. I think London is playing catch up to the rest of the world in this regard – bad design is everywhere.
5. Getting in the car and going somewhere
Who would own a car in London? Why would you bother? The tube is great and you can get where you want to go relatively easily and quickly (alas, not cheaply). It just doesn’t make sense to have a car, given you’ll need to find somewhere to park it – put petrol in it (Did I mention that petrol is probably double the price of that in Australia?) and then there’s all the congestion charges and taxes etc. Uh uh, not worth it.
But, I do miss the freedom that comes from being able to jump in a car (even if it’s rented quite cheaply) and burn down the freeway. Getting a car here is reserved for special occasions or perhaps a ‘mini break’ to the lakes district. It’s just not going to happen on a Friday night, just because you feel like it.
6. Being near family and friends
This is the killer. Being away from family and friends. Seeing those that you know and love on a daily basis. Sure, there’s skype / facetime etc… but it’s just not the same. Plus, when you want to share something you’ve just seen (Like, what was that guy wearing???) – the timing is just always off. People are in bed when you’re awake, and vice versa.
This is one thing that definitely needs to be resolved with a trip home every now and then – or equally as good – someone paying you a visit overseas.
Have you lived abroad and surprised yourself with the things that you missed? Let me know in the reply below.