I have quite a few posts written in the "drafts" section of the blog. Sometimes I will spend an hour or so writing and then never publish something All in all, you should all be really thankful I don't. They are mostly garbage. One post that I have never gotten around to publishing was the one titled "What I miss the most". The reason: It's keeps changing, getting longer, sometimes (rarely) removing things, sometimes changing the type to bold or italics for emphasis. Oh, but I can't post it. Along with my neurosis there is also a good measure of guilt that builds when you get to live in a free house have plenty of food on the table and an amazingly healthy and understanding family surrounding you...and then you complain about something. Are you kidding me? I'm gonna complain about the lack of my specific brand of Peanut Butter?! Ridiculous.
...I will share the top three things that are most difficult. I mean, I get to complain a *leetle* bit every now and then...Are you ready for this? Actually, I should stop right there and warn you that this is not a tear jerking, "I miss my friends and family" post. You are still gonna roll your eyes at the end and wonder what the beef is about but I figure I should be honest because other than missing the sweet Texas air (oh, it is so sweet) and people you know me, what I miss are real, tangible, and explainable things.
So, as you can see, I've really narrowed it down for you. ;)
1) If anyone tries to tell you anything about Poland that they "know" it will include two things, Poles invented Vodka, and Polish food is delicious. The jury is still out on the Vodka thing, just ask any Russian, but hands down, everyone will nod and agree that the food is delicious in Poland. Really outstanding. The sausage/meat, the cheese/dairy, the bread, really, just all of it. And they're right. The food here is very good... if you're a tourist, or a native. Visiting here in the past I couldn't wait to get off the plane and grab some good country bread, some fresh country butter and some tasty country Kabanos (my favorite style of Kielbasa/Sausage). You can go to any outdoor market and there will be some farmer or his wife, or both of them, selling fresh hunks of butter, churned that morning from their own cows. There will be cheese to go with it and the next stall over is selling the bread on which to slather them. We have farmer's in our family so we get hand made fresh linked kielbasa by the pounds every other month. It is truly delicious. It as if you have never tasted these things in your life until you taste them this fresh. And now that your mouth is watering I am here to say thaaaaat, I am sick of it. I don't want any more sausage. I don't want any more country bread and I don't want any more white cheese! I want my HEB soft whole wheat pre-packaged bread, I want my huge block of Colby jack generic brand cheese, and I want some Boars Head ham off the bone. No, these things don't necessarily taste better and they certainly aren't healthier, but they are my tastes. I can recreate just about any dish here that I made in America, but it never tastes the same. The ingredients all have the same name, but they taste different. Different cows eating different kinds of grass make different dairy. Different pigs eating different kinds of slop = different ham, and the bread, well, I just want some classic American sandwich bread (for the peanut butter, of course!). The version they have here comes out of the bag as if it has already been lightly toasted. Weird. I lament to Martin often how I am tired of the food, the tastes. He doesn't understand, but then again, he will eat anything.
Food confession: I have not drank (drunk? drunken? dranken? Idk) a single glass of milk since we have been in Poland, this includes adding chocolate to it, hot or cold, and cereal. Why? I can't stand the taste of Polish milk. I use it in my cooking and in my tea and coffee but I cannot drink it or have it in cereal. How many bowls of cereal have I eaten since we've been here? Answer: 0. (Poles will not think this is a huge deal, but American are shedding a tear for me right now...late night snacks, cravings, etc.) (also, milk is not really drunk here the same way it is in America, and Poles don't eat that many cookies so they don't understand the whole chocolate chip cookie and milk thing...oh, I miss it!)
Food confession: I still can't stand Polish desserts and don't understand why everything has to have so many layers and so many different flavors and nuts and creams and fruits added. And what's more, I have yet to make a successful "American style" birthday cake. I am really upset about this actually. Hejjo's birthday is this week and I don't even know if I can find Cocoa Powder here ( I haven't looked for it yet, that's how far ahead I have planned. Yowzers!). Anyone?
Food confession: If I have to eat one more bowl of Rosol, made by my own hand or someone else's, I am not joking when I say, I might be sick.
Anyway, as you can see, food is a huge one. I'm not even that big of an eater. Eating is not one of my favorite past times or anything, I just really miss the taste of America. If that's even a thing. (also, last thing, I promise, food changes the way YOU smell, your body, your breath, your children's body and breath, your body odor...it's interesting....and I could do with less of it, mkay?)
2) Before we came I bought some new clothes. This is the longest I have gone in our marriage and not been pregnant, which means I am finally a stable weight. Which means I can buy real clothes. Not only "cheapest thing I could find" because I might not fit into them next month, and not purposely too big or too small because I'm gaining or losing weight. I was excited about these clothes, I waited for the sales and ordered them from here and shipped them to Martin's parents. Martin's father brought them all over for me in a suitcase a couple months after we got here.
I shrank all of them within the first two months of their arrival. And by all of them I mean all of them and by shrunk I mean you can see my post-four babies stomach when I raise my arms (and don't no one want to see that). This was due to my complete idiocy in forgetting about the whole Celsius and Fahrenheit conversion with the washer (AND the washers here have no cold setting...they MAKE you heat the water at least a little bit, this doesn't make sense) and not understanding the new dryer ( the owners manual came in Spanish, Dutch, and Slovenian) I have given most of them to Martin's cousins who are shorter than I and kept a few pieces for around the house. I was really upset about this. I still am to tell the truth. Why? Because the only things I can seem to find in Polish stores by the way of clothes are the most uber trendy styles you can think of. Even the khakis are "skinny". Khakis! What do people wear to church here?! (well, I know what they wear to church, exactly what they wear to the mall, which is also what I wear to church because I can't find a single pair of slacks under 50 dollars that doesn't show off every curve God gave me and there are no skirts that even attempt to reach the knee!)!
Clothes confession: I bought some clothes recently from Land's End UK. Shipping was expensive (re: not free) and return shipping on items I couldn't wear/didn't fit was astronomical. Like the return shipping was the same price as the clothes I kept. It makes me nauseous to think about it.
3) I've already mentioned this one a few times. The only dead horse around here I like to beat (whew, have fun with that one, my Polish readers ;) ) is how bad the air quality is in the winter. So I'll spare you the whole, "I wish they had a Hobby Lobby here" speech. I do, and Poland, just sayin', you are really behind in not having a store like that. I don't even know how long 20 Pasmanteria's (defined as: a place where you find everything you need, to sew anything you could possible imagine, EXCEPT the fabric...dun dun dunnunununn) in a 5 mile radius can last, but gosh darn it, you're givin' it your all! Right now I am trying to make Lina's Easter dress. I have made her special occasions dresses for at least the last 2 years now and I really want to continue to do so. Buying the fabric, buying the accessories and finding the perfect pattern is so easy in America. Here, well, half the stuff they just don't have readily available (all of it I have to buy online, all of it), and the other half, I don't even know where to start looking. It's just not trendy here, I get that. It's just frustrating. Really frustrating. (interfacing, anyone know where i can find it?)
Hobby Confession: My mom and brother are coming in 6 weeks. You better believe I am ordering fabric and yarn for them to bring over in their suitcases. I don't even care. (imagine nose in air, arms crossed across chest and stomping of my foot...)
In the end, honestly, it's not really any one of these things or any of the other hundred things that are different. It's not any one thing. It's all of them, put together. It's navigating them, researching them, discovering them...steeping in them...pickling in them. Every thing I do, some days, feels like I have concrete blocks tied to my feet because I have to wade through the differences to find the one or two things I am familiar with and then turn around and try to make them work. Half the time failing.
I asked Martin for a plane ticket home last week. Looked up flights and everything. Why? Not to see my family and friends. In fact, quite the opposite. If I had a plane ticket home right now I would drive to the nearest grocery store, buy all the foods I have missed, drive out to the hill country and sleep and eat, and watch American T.V. for a whole week straight, by myself. I would go to my favorite fabric shops and yarn stores and browse, all by myself, and drink Dr. Pepper fountain drinks. I wanted a plane ticket home so I could just be (all by myself). To be able to let my shoulders down for even just a day or two, to un-clench my jaw, and let my mind not constantly be searching for the right word, or my ears not listening so intently to try and understand. To give my senses a much needed rest.
And just so I don't come off sounding like a Sour Susan, I'm putting all this out there for really two reasons. I like to share these things. It's helpful, and I like help, you like help, we all like help. And I think it's important to keep things in perspective for anyone who may be thinking of a big move like this to, well, anywhere. You should totally do it by the way, it's amazing...it's just not sunshine and lollipops all the time. And that's ok too. Tiring. But ok. :)