After living abroad for a year, adjusting back to life in suburban America has taken more time than I thought it would. Like a grownup watching their favorite movie as a kid for the first time in years, once you leave America for an extended period of time, it's hard to see it in the same way ever again. We don't always realize that sometimes, coming back to America can be just as hard as leaving it in the first place.
People worth missing
In some ways, coming home is amazing. Spending the summer with my family and lifelong friends is easily the best part about being home. Being a part of the everyday events again, rather than just the "big" yearly events is one of those simple joys in life that should never be overlooked. With the right people, a great summer night can be just as memorable as Christmas morning.
Things we take for granted
While I studied in westernized Europe, there are some things that just can never be duplicated. There were days I'd kill for a New York bagel, or a simple slice of pepperoni pizza. Oh, and Dunkin Donuts. Sure there's Starbucks on every street in London, but let's face it, Dunkin's better. (It's what America runs on right?)
It's amazing how when you're in another country, something as simple as a New York accent can make you feel at home. Hearing someone order a cawfee in the middle of a Parisian café is one of the most beautiful sounds when you've been away for a while.
Baseball. It's silly and cliché, but baseball is truly America's pastime. Most of the other American sports have made some kind of impact on Europe, but baseball is nonexistent. The sheer absence of the game there can make you nostalgic even for the Mets. (A feeling that passed as soon as I was back on American soil and saw their record.)
Things not worth missing
The gun debate -- one that's practically nonexistent in the UK. Coming home to a country torn apart by weapons is not something I missed.
Anthony Weiner. Need I say more on that one?
Honey Boo-Boo. Again, I think that one kind of speaks for itself.
Things I'm unsure about
Losing the naïve view of my homeland. I wasn't completely oblivious to how to the rest of the world views Americans; I'd just never seen it firsthand. Not everyone hates us, but not everyone loves us. I know that in the long run, finding these truths out makes me a better American but let's face it; sometimes the truth hurts.
Overall, living abroad has been a very positive experience in my life. It's easier to understand yourself and your culture from a distance and while it might not look the same as when I left, I know there's no other place I'd rather call home.