Surprising Excitements

For the first time in about 1.5 years I’m going back to Florida for a visit. I’ve been very excited about the trip – mostly over the obvious things like seeing my friends and family. Ever since moving to The Netherlands, there has been this question that always gets asked of me. Now that my return is approaching, the question has been asked more frequently:

“What do you miss about Florida?”

This is actually a difficult question to answer. The most obvious thing is of course my family, but that’s not usually what’s being asked. Everyone wants the details – what foods, customs, places, smells, etc is whats really being asked about. To be honest, some of the obvious Florida-y things that people expect me to miss are not really on my list. I actually prefer the weather here in The Netherlands over the harsh, tropical climate of the Sunshine State. I love the seasons and seeing actual snowfall during Christmas time – that’s something I’ll actually miss about The Netherlands while I’m away.

I have been putting more thought into which details or small pleasures I really do miss about my home state. The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more surprised I am at the items I really crave. Some things are expected (I knew I’d miss it before I left the country), but many things have surprised me. “I didn’t even realize I liked it that much” is something I’ve been saying a lot when talking about what I’m looking forward to.

Here is my brief list of revelations I’ve had about small things I miss from Florida:

  • Black & White Cookies – This was a recent revelation for me. I knew I liked them, but I never realized I would actually miss them when they weren’t around. There is probably a place here in The Netherlands where they are sold, but I haven’t seen it. I will be stopping by a TooJay’s shortly after landing.
  • The Quiet – This is going to sound weird due to stereotypes, but it is so much quieter in Florida than in The Netherlands (at least when comparing all the cities I’ve lived in on both sides). It’s not just city noise, people are just all-around quieter. I think this one will be hard to believe and people’s experiences will vary, but for me: Florida is so quiet compared to where I’ve lived here.
  • Burritos/Tacos – Specifically: Chipotle and any variation of fish/shrimp tacos. I actually miss Taco Bell as well. Finding a burrito/taco place isn’t impossible, but nothing has lived up to what I’m used in Florida. This was something I expected to miss, but I didn’t realize just how much. It’s a lot.
  • American Diner Breakfasts – There are not many places to go out and get breakfast around here. I really miss going out for American-style pancakes, sitting at a booth, and getting my filter-machine coffee constantly refilled. Overall, I prefer the food (and coffee) here in The Netherlands, but for some reason I still miss that locally-owned diner experience. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just the atmosphere of it all. Whatever it is – I miss it.

There are more little things that I am looking forward to, but these surprised me. Having your life divided between two places can be weird at times, as each has their goods and bads. The longer you live in one place and away from another, the more you’re surprised by what you miss, what you don’t, and what you didn’t even realize you liked. There is so much that I can write about with my experiences between countries, so there will likely been more on this topic in the future.

This is just what I’ve been thinking about lately.