January 27th, 2016

noplacelikehome

IT ALWAYS GOES BACK TO FOOD

In the middle of busy week, though yesterday my massage was cancelled and today 2 meetings at work were, so at least a few fewer things on the list. We had a goodbye fika today for one of our team members (in the events group) that is leaving us this week and moving to Paris, to work for our company as an events manager for the southern Europe region. He's a truly nice, positive guy so it's a bummer to have that dynamic leaving our department. The manager that hired him, however, just quit her job and is coming onboard in the Corporate Marketing department in different managerial role. What a flip-flop!

His team leader gave a lovely speech about him and how we'll miss him and what he will miss from Sweden and then handed him a big bag full of things to help him not miss Sweden, or us, too much. It included Swedish chocolate and salt licorice candy and instant "snow" and a framed picture of all of us, among other things.

It got me thinking about what you miss when you move away from home; to another country. When I moved to Sweden, I had a very long list of things I missed. My mother was over-the-top kind and generous and spent a literal fortune mailing care packages of candy and food and cosmetics and toiletries to me, for years. I still buy the majority of my clothes in the US, as well. Some things, there are simply no good substitutes for. I remember Anders mentioning once that apart from salt licorice, one of the things he missed was kassler (a kind of very salty ham, sort of like Canadian bacon).

I still miss things, but I've found substitutes for most of them, or they've come to Sweden in the time I've been away. There are some things I still stock up on every time I go to the States, but I don't ask my mom to mail much anymore or for friends or colleagues to bring me stuff back when they travel to the US.

There are still some things that I simply must have and those I still order and have shipped here: Crest Cinnamon toothpaste, for one. Spice cake mixes. Red hot candies for decorating cookies.

Foods I miss that I can't get here, so I only have them when I'm actually in the US: good bagels, Fritos, Cheetos, English muffins, Campbell's Cream of Celery soup. I make my mom fix recipes that I loved growing up. We always have to go eat at our favorite restaurants at least once. It's funny how when you talk about things you miss from your homeland, it's almost always food that tops the list. Or is that just me?

I miss Halloween, still, the decorations and the love for it. I miss bookstores filled with English books. I miss Chicago and Michigan. I miss having 4 full seasons...and not just rain all the damn time. I miss my family, like crazy. I miss my friends, the ones I left behind and the ones that have moved back. But I don't miss that much else. Not enough to make a difference or to make me want to move back to the States...my family is the only thing that draws me; that's hard enough without adding a hankering for Three Musketeers bars.

If I DID ever move away from Sweden, I know the list of things would be just as long and in some ways much more comprehensive. The pace of life, the food, the calmness, the security, my friends, would just be the tip of the iceberg. I'm glad that we live in such a global age, where goods and people can move so easily around the globe. Missing things just ain't what it used to be, when you see commercials on Swedish television showing kids how to eat Oreo cookies.

What would you miss if you moved away?