Missing: you

Many people have asked me what I miss from the United States, wondering if they could put it in a box and ship it to me across the Atlantic.

Un/fortunately, most of the things I miss you can’t put in a box.  I miss good vegetarian meals, tempeh and Thai food, and diet soda.  I miss well-stocked grocery stores and whole grains.  I miss having bookstores and libraries and the print version of The Economist and an abundance of reading material nearby.  I miss being able to walk everywhere I need to go.  I (and my jeans) miss the dryer.

Oddly, I find myself missing things that I didn’t even really like in the United States.  I miss movie theatres, though I went to the movies perhaps five times in the past year.  I miss late-night McDonald’s runs with Andrew, though I am loathe to eat anything McDonald’s calls meat.   I miss big chain stores and knowing where I can go to get the things I need.  I miss football Sundays and Jay-Z mornings.  I miss trashy girl magazines (which, for the record, I only read at the gym).

Mostly, though, I miss people.  Skype and email are a life raft, but not a substitute for face to face contact, endless phone calls on free nights and weekends, and knowing I could be anywhere in less than a day if I was needed.  I miss the stimulation of conversing with my friends and the abundance of cultural activities DC had to offer.  I miss beating Andrew at Jeopardy.  I miss being able to call my mom when I need to know what I can substitute for baking powder.  Even though it’s silly, I miss things I missed even in the US:  Cornell, being in school, Telluride, midnight picnics at the Plantations, and sitting on my blue couch with Calvin and Linda and laughing until we couldn’t breathe.

Finally, though mostly as an unconscious longing, I miss intangibles:  being comfortable in most situations, understanding cultural cues, and only occasionally getting myself in trouble.  In short, I miss being in a place that feels like home.  I like Malawi, and I’m glad I came – but it sometimes feels unspeakably far away from the lives I’ve led.

So that’s what I miss.  If you can’t tell, I’m feeling nostalgic today; chalk it up to a few phone calls yesterday combined with some ill-advised digging through old photos.  In terms of what I need, I actually did a fairly good job of packing, and didn’t seem to forget anything absolutely necessary for survival.  But, for you package-makers, here are some ideas of things I would like:

Irish breakfast and/or Earl Grey tea
Cumin (apparently not available in this country?), other spices
Books
Playing cards
Herb seeds (for planting)
Games (I would LOVE a travel Scrabble)
Granola bars
Yarn (for knitting – I have needles)
DVDs/Music
Insect repellent
Multivitamins

And I always love to get mail.  I know that sending packages is a pricey venture, but you can send me a letter with only one US postage stamp!  If you don’t know how, email me for instructions.

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3 Responses to “Missing: you”

  1. Holly Says:

    I miss you too, man! *Woman.

    No but seriously, even though the greater part of our friendship has been across state lines, it’s just not the same knowing how far away you truly are.

  2. Rachel Says:

    It is odd…you have only been gone a short while and I already wish you were back here. And it is strange because it is not like I get to see you all the time and sometimes years go by and I haven’t seen you. But I think it is because I got to see you sometime this past year and now I wish you were within sensible travelling distance. I have yet to hear about any running over there. We must run our marathon when you return!! Do Malawians run?

  3. Anne Says:

    So…how do I send you mail?

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