Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Těším se na .../ I look forward to...

After two years of living overseas, people have asked me what I'm looking forward to back home. Of course, there are the easy answers like friends, family, and my dog, but when I really gave it some thought, I came up with a big list. Some of these things might surprise you, make you laugh, or give you a glimpse of what the past two years have been like in my apartment. But my real hope is that it will help you to appreciate some of these "little things" in your own life a bit more. After all, the little things tend to add up.

Here's the list (in no order of importance or gleeful expectation):

  • Bathroom cabinets. And a bathroom counter for that matter. There's just zero storage space in bathrooms here, which is fine if you live alone, but a different story if it's 3 girls living together.
  • No visa issues or foreign police to worry about. 
  • Good morning hugs from family.
  • Baking with (and partaking of) PUMPKIN. If you follow me on Pinterest, you already know this...
  • Talking to my parents and friends in person instead of over Skype.
  • Readable oven settings. I've never truly been sure which symbol was for 'bake' on our oven. In fact, for the first month or so last year, my flatmates and I were accidentally broiling everything. 
  • A double sink in the kitchen. Necessary? No, but super handy.
  • Room under the bed for storage. My bed frame here is like a wooden box that the mattress sits in.
  • Easy availability of items like vanilla extract, brown sugar, peanut butter, pancake/waffle syrup, good cake and brownie mixes, etc.
  • The crock-pot, blender, and food processor at home. I am super pumped to make smoothies and utilize the goldmine of crock-pot recipes that I've found over the past two years.
  • Being able to buy medicines at places like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and CVS, where I can browse for what I need AND read the labels. Here, I have to go to a special store for meds and ask the people behind the counter for what I need. The people are always nice, we just don't speak the same language.
  • Not having a 6-hour (minimum) time difference between me and my family and friends back home.
  • Being able to rent DVDs from the library and/or Redbox and watch them with company on a TV screen, as opposed to streaming movies online from my tiny netbook (no disc-drive) where I have to use headphones to hear anything decently. 
  • Going to hairdressers, dentists, and doctors that I know and can communicate with in English without needing any language-barrier assistance. 
  • Having a washing machine that doesn't drain into the bathtub. Trust me, that water smells gross.
  • The ability to get filtered coffee almost anywhere. Here it's usually only espresso-based beverages that are available at restaurants, cafes, and gas stations. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good cappuccino, but sometimes, you just want a cup of normal, drip brew.
  • Multiplied kitchen counter space. I don't know how Czech women prepare such big meals with such limited preparation space. 
  • Huge (and relatively inexpensive) ice cream selection in supermarkets. 
  • Having a printer/copier at home. 
  • Renting oodles of books from the library at no cost. 
  • The joy that comes with getting mail from the mailbox and the newspaper and ads from the front door.
  • REAL Italian food. They often use ketchup in their tomato sauces, and don't even get me started on their lasagna...
  • REAL Mexican food. It just doesn't exist here, and neither do frozen margaritas for that matter.
  • Seafood. You can get it here, but it's definitely not cheap or very fresh. Czech is a landlocked country if you're not up on your geography.
  • Snuggling with my dog. Czech people love their dogs, and you can usually see at least one in any direction that you look, but petting a stranger's dog is frowned upon.
  • Ceiling fans (I have yet to see one here) and more widely-available air-conditioning. 
  • Window screens to keep the bugs out while letting in fresh air. They are available here, but our flat doesn't have them. Needless to say, I've become good friends with the flyswatter. 
  • Product labels that I can read and don't have to translate. Usually, the front label or product title will be in English, but the user info and/or preparation guidelines/instructions are in 2-3 other languages (not including English). Hooray for Google Translate!
  • Flavored coffee creamer.
  • A clothes dryer, especially for delinting and softening towels.
  • English measurements for weather comprehension (Celsius is like Greek to me) and cooking/baking ease.
  • Being able to sew projects and mend items with a sewing machine.
  • Having a real home address for online shopping. 
  • Blinds/curtains in the home. Not that they're not available here, we just don't have them in our flat. Let's not think about what people may or may not see from the street...
  • Sticks of butter. It sounds silly, but you try baking with a big bar of butter that's measured for baking in grams instead of cups.
  • Challenging sermons at church with no headphone translation necessary. 
  • Not having to carry my groceries home from the store. For this reason, I don't ever recall buying potatoes here.
  • BAGELS. I don't know why, but they just don't have them here.
  • My church family at DCOG. I'm so looking forward to worshiping and serving with them again.
  • Watching football with Dad.
  • Honeycrisp apples. They're my favorite, and they kind of turned me into an apple snob.
  • Finally being able to make a lot of the recipes and crafty things I've found on Pinterest.
  • Cheaper drugstore makeup. For example, the average L'Oreal mascara is about the equivalent of $15-20 here. 
  • Commercials. Call me crazy, but I tend to like them, especially the ones from Target.
  • Target! I could browse there for hours.
  • Being around a larger percent of people who wear deodorant. As a friend here once told me, "Czech people are clean, but they don't wear deodorant. German people are both clean and they wear deodorant. French people aren't clean, but they try to cover it up with deodorant."
  • Reese's peanut butter cups. They finally have Oreo's here, but they haven't discovered the magic combination of peanut butter and chocolate yet.
  • Visiting my favorite restaurants from back home. There are way too many to name here.
  • Finally meeting my friends' babies that they've had while I've been gone and/or celebrating with my friends who have tied the knot in my absence. Amanda Kay Prior...Block, I'm looking at you!!!
  • Not being stared at by strangers when I answer the phone in English and have English conversations in public.
All that being said, there are so many things and people that I will miss from Czech when I get back to my Indiana home in August. In fact, I'm sure that I'll end up making a new list in a few months with the opposite perspective. But if I think about it now, I'll surely burst into tears. It's rough to have two homes. So for now, I will enjoy the last few weeks in Ostrava as I look forward to the people and things (be they big or small) that make up my life in my American home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment