by Allison Deutschman
I'm sitting at my desk, in my stereotypical, European-style apartment. There is rain coming through the windows, followed by the distinctly drunk voices of "freshers" (first-year, 18-year-old students at the University of Leicester). It's just an ordinary 8 p.m. on a Thursday, but 4 p.m. back in New York - the time change is wacky this week, because the United Kingdom changed their clocks back before America did.
I reflect on the other differences surrounding me:
•The outlets here have switches on them.
•I'm surrounded by thick accents; sticking odd words like "queue" and "lift" into the language I thought I had been speaking my entire life.
•"Cheers!" the bus driver says, when he opens the doors to let me off at my stop.
•I walk into the kitchen and grab a glass of "lemonade," which is actually Sprite.
These quirky changes remind me I'm not in Western New York anymore.
My mind focuses less on Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," and more on the what I have observed since boarding the plane to London Sept. 16.
I am enjoying my three months studying abroad in England immensely, but being 3,000-plud miles away from Western New York reminds me what I am missing most at home.
10) Subs. It has been 54 days since I have indulged in a Wegman's sub. I envy the immediate proximity of delicious, thick Italian bread, layered with lunchmeat such as turkey and ham, instead of coronation chicken and tuna.
9) Pizza and wings. The Panini bread the English use as the base of their pizza, topped with sweet sauce and some cheese, makes Pizza Hut and Dominos look gourmet. It makes my skin crawl when they refer to it as "New York Style."
Just imagine their wings.
8) Football. I miss being able to say this "F" word without clarification. This Sunday sport produces a lifestyle focused on family, friends and food.
7) Pumpkin and apple picking. Within 5 miles of my parents' home in Youngstown, I can find three pumpkin patches and two apple farms. I have been hunting for both of my favorite fall activities since I've arrived. Never have I realized how much I took baked pumpkin seeds and apple crumble on a fall day without rain for granted.
6) Halloween. Although the holiday is acknowledged in England, it is not fully celebrated. Nobody creates lavish costumes weeks in advance. The grocery stores stock Christmas decorations in October, skipping right over the ghosts and ghoul.
5) Thanksgiving. No turkey, no pilgrims and no pecan pie. My heart aches for my family when I think about the stories and heaps of food I'll only get to witness via Skype Nov. 27.
4) The American dollar. Nearly doubling the price of every item I purchase is a painful experience. The Great Britain Pound has a way of making everyday necessities suddenly appear unaffordable. I miss living in a world where I only acknowledged the exchange rate between Canada and America.
3) My job. With a student visa for less than six months, I cannot work in the UK. I miss co-workers, styling merchandise and having a meaningful pastime that doesn't involve schoolwork.
2) The Western New York family. Bonding with random people over the score of a Sabres game or being a member of the #BillsMafia. Collectively laughing at other states freaking out over a dusting of snow. Drinking Tim Hortons' coffee and boycotting Bon Jovi music.
It's the little things.
1) My family. Between my parents, three brothers, one sister and a large extended family, it should be easy to understand why I feel like I left part of my heart back in America. My cats aren't here to cuddle with, and my siblings aren't here to bicker with. It's just not home.
Given the opportunity, I recommend that everyone study abroad in another country.
Just don't forget your chicken wing-loving, underdog sports team-cheering roots.