Thursday, January 03, 2008

Home Comforts

It's weird what you miss and need to take back to your adopted country from your land of origin. Some things - margarine, decent sliced white bread (no, not an oxymoron) belong here and only here. Others - Yorkshire tea, gravy granules - you need to take back because there really is no equivalent and you haven't yet adapted to not needing them. For the last couple of days I've been making a list of what I'm missing; this isn't just for thoroughness, but self-preservation when I enter the glorious world of Boots, so that I don't spend all my tuition money there, as tempting as it may be.

Globalisation is bizarre - it means that I could drink Coke in a tiny village in Malawi, all sorts of strange things like eating the same pineapple chicken sandwich from Nando's in Lilongwe or Lewisham. Yet, it's not complete and that's even better. There is enough of a confectionery difference to send my US friends into raptures over the wonders of Dairy Milk; to get me excited at the thought of Maltesers, Topshop, Superdrug and Primark (small child labour aside); and to thoroughly enjoy the physical version of the grauniad. Having talked with at length last night with a friend who is a travel rep about the inabilities of Brits to cope abroad (choice quotes below), I have long rejected that through basic snobbery at the idiocy of such people. But, truly, I don't want Britain abroad, or New York Euro-style - because that makes the original that little bit less special. And those who can't see that probably don't really appreciate it anyway.

  • I wanted to come to Majorca with a J, not Mallorca with Ls.
  • Why can't I get to Barcelona by taxi? [it is explained that Barcelona is on the mainland of Spain] Since when was Mallorca an island?
  • General moaning about Mallorcan bus drivers who don't speak English (never mind they speak Mallorquin and Spanish, so two languages); too many Germans in the hotel.

1 comment:

Adela said...

Igh. It's difficult. When I first got to NY, I hardly missed anything. I was dazzled by the newness of everything, tastes, smells, lifestyle, etc. But it took one trip home to remind me of the things I left behind: salsa, tortillas, tamales, atole, buenuelos, etc. etc. So now, when I go home I pig out. I bring back a few things I can munch on for one month, and buy tortillas at the corner store. Not bad, eh? Funny though, now when I'm in Mexico visiting, I find myself yearning for the cookies I buy at Fairway. Did not see that one coming.