Why is living in England so much different now than it was 6 years ago, when i have lived here my whole life you may ask? let me tell you. Since moving back to England I have noticed a few things that really get under my skin. In America, the houses are so much bigger, like twice the size of a regular British house and not only that but they have wall sockets everywhere. I use to think, why? why would you need so many wall sockets in one room? well, now I know. it makes life so much easier, you don’t have to stress that your T.V can only go in one of two places, your floor lamp can be plugged into any corner of the room without having to buy an extension cable to do so. I remember the days where i would want to move my bedroom around but I was restricted to where I could put things due to the fact there weren’t enough wall sockets!
Storage is another one. I noticed that when I was searching for a house here in England that not many houses had much storage. Most houses here don’t come with garages or sheds already built in the garden. The kitchens have just about enough space to put your food, pots and pans plates etc. And even then its a squeeze to fit everything in. Or maybe I just suck at organizing. American houses pretty much automatically come with a basement. In our 4 bed house in south Dakota we had a split level house which meant, as you walked in the front door you have stairs that lead upstairs and stairs that lead downstairs. Upstairs had the living room, bathroom kitchen and 2 bedrooms. Downstairs had another living room the same size as the upstairs living room, 2 more bedrooms a bathroom and a laundry room. When we moved back to England we moved into a 4 bedroom house but we had furniture from a house that had two living rooms. So of course, we had 2 sets of couches to fit in one living room, obviously that didn’t happen and we ended up having to sell quite a lot of furniture.
Having a second basement gave us the choice to put things in that space that we didn’t want in our main living space, but also didn’t want to get rid of. We didn’t use it as a storage room but it did help to allow my husband to have a space he could call his own, without his style clashing with mine. Now were finding ourselves trying to fit everything into one living room and trying to make it fair on each other without the other ones style taking over the other.
Fridges, freezers, fridge/freezers are also a lot bigger. We are a family of 5 so we tend to buy a lot of food. After living in America and wondering why our fridge never seemed full I now know why. They’re much, much bigger. now I can’t find enough space and find myself having to limit the amount of food I buy because there is no way we would fit it all in. I also became accustomed to having ice in my drink and the bag of ice we buy takes up a whole drawer in the freezer by itself. Now, I could just buy a bigger one right? but those buggers are so expensive! I don’t really want to have to spend that kind of money if we end up moving back again in few years.
One thing I do love about being back home compared to being in America is the fact that a town is within walking distance and buses can take you anywhere you want to go. America seems to have designed their houses to be on one side of the town and the shops on the other. You literally HAVE to drive everywhere. Want to nip to the shop to get some milk? better grab your car keys. Want to nip into town on a nice warm sunny day? Don’t forget to grab the car keys. Public transport is pretty much non existent in America. Apart from the big cities of course, like New York etc. But in little ole South Dakota, jumping on the bus was never an option. The reason being that there are too many agencies at all levels of government, especially at the local level, and not enough coordination between them. The newer cities are sprawled out which makes good transit hard, and the older cities are too paralyzed by political dysfunction to expand the systems they have. So I found it highly frustrating that getting a bus wasn’t an option or easy. My kids had actually never been on a bus until we came home for my mums wedding in 2019. They still haven’t been on a train either.
Being able to walk into town was something I really started to miss. Sounds stupid right? but when that is all you have known and have always done, not being able to do it became quite a big culture shock for me. I love driving so that was never an issue but the fact that I had to drive everywhere became tiring at times. Like seriously, I just want some milk for goodness sake, I shouldn’t have to put petrol in my car so I can go get milk!!
Anyway, I find it funny that these things bother me because when I first met my husband, and when we were dating he use to always complain about the exact things I now find frustrating. But because I had never experienced anything different, it was normal to me so I never truly understood how something so small like the wall sockets, could be a big pain in the butt to someone who had 10 in one room vs the 3 in one room we get in England.
Last but not least, I really struggled with adapting to the food in America. My husband can go anywhere on earth and have a commissary on the base that carries all the food any normal American grocery store would have. But for me, I was never able to have the home comforts of food unless I paid out the butt to have them shipped to me. Of course, I adapted quite quickly and actually ended up preferring most food over British food. But of course, nothing can ever compare to a hot sausage roll or sausage, bean and cheese melt from Greggs!
I never knew moving away would have impacted me so much. I’m not sure what I was expecting from moving back home, of course things were going to be different, things were going to feel different. I wasn’t expecting moving back home to be almost as much of a cultural shock as moving to America was in the first place.