I get asked whether I feel homesick quite a lot, and I think people tend to be surprised when I say that on the whole I don’t. The fact is that – love the UK though I do – it’s my family and friends that I miss more than anything, and if they were all transported over here, I’d probably asking ‘where’s Britain?’ within a matter of months.
That said, it’s probably only natural that our thoughts gravitate to the place where we’re from. Whether it’s Elk River in Minnesota or Craiova in Romania, there’s an invisible thread that inextricably attaches our hearts to the places from which we hail. That’s admittedly unfortunate if you’re from Liverpool, but it simply can’t be helped.
As a result there are always times when expats feel a little more homesick than usual. And usually for the most inexplicable reasons. Realise that you’re doing any two of these things and you’re probably missing home a bit.
Find yourself doing all eight, and it’s time to switch on BBC America, crack open a can of London Pride and sit with a knotted Union Jack hanky on your head for an evening.
1. You spend thirty minutes in bed one night trying to explain the joys of curling to your nearest and dearest. And protest loudly when she says “that’s not a sport, that’s just a spoof that somebody has made up to make fun of the Scottish.”
2. You find yourself daydreaming about eating pork pies, and go as far as to look up local stockists via Google. You don’t even like pork pies.
3. You realise that you’ve been away from home so long that you don’t recognise any of the presenters of Blue Peter. Worse still, you can’t even remember the theme tune.
4. You hear somebody saying that something is “on the DL”, and you automatically assume that they’re talking about the District Line.
5. You spend the whole of Wednesday afternoon avoiding Twitter and Facebook, so that you can sit at home that evening watching the UK version of The Apprentice without knowing who Sirallun has fired.
6. You’re reminded of British summers, by heavy rain in April. And you smile as a result.
7. You see a New York subway map, and pine for an Underground map that makes no sense whatsoever if you’re walking above ground. After all, tourists are meant to get lost.
8. You use up an hour of your precious weekend surfing Amazon’s UK site to make sure that you’re not missing anything new. And end up buying three DVDs. Of American TV shows.
Still when I’m at my most homesick, Britain goes and starts making a fuss about someone like Susan Boyle, and I start to feel better. Yes, I know she’s got a great voice, but having the appearance of someone who has been dragged through a hedge backwards doth not 12 million hits on YouTube make. Now she’s on all the morning shows in America, and you can’t open a newspaper without reading about her.
Britain, you’ve got a lot to answer for.