After travelling or living abroad, sometimes the thing you crave most is actually visiting home. After living abroad in Germany for a year, it was definitely nice to come home to family, friends and everything that’s familiar…even if it’s just for two months.
Of course, I love travelling around Europe (the cobblestone streets! the castles! the vineyards!) but there’s just some things about Canada that are just irreplaceable.
Here is my top 10!
10. Tim Hortons
Like every Canadian, it feels like no day (or rather morning) is complete without a visit to Tim Hortons. My favourite is their steep tea, a drink that not even fancy Starbucks lattes can complete with. Back in uni in Canada, I would always get a large cup to help me get through my lectures and the habit has kind of stuck in my daily life. I also miss the brilliance of 24 hour Tim Hortons and being able to grab a doughnut at say 3am.
In Germany, simple, cheap coffee shops are pretty rare. Plus cafes in general close way too early. One time, I was craving something sweet at around 8pm, and me and the bf discovered that no cafe in Munich opened that late! (in the end, I got some cake at a bar and he had a beer so that solved that dilemma)
There is no substitute that tastes as good as authentic poutine from Canada. Period. Although the lack of poutine in Europe is great for my waistline, I always miss it dearly when I’m abroad!
8. Smoke free environments
Surprisingly, people in Germany smoke A LOT. And while there’s laws implemented that bans smoking in restaurants and other indoor places, some bars still allow it, which I feel like ruins the place entirely (who wants to sit inside a dark hot room with so much smoke that it’s hard to breathe?). Also despite the laws, people can smoke freely (and do in large quantities!) at train stations, outdoor cafes, and even just standing in lines. I’m appalled when I see adults smoke in front of their babies.
Apparently German schools don’t push the whole “smoking is evil” thing as much as they do in North America. For example, none of them have even watched the lady with a hole in her throat from smoking video! It’s so wonderful being able walk around in Canada and not have smoke fumes be waved in my face…it really is a beautiful country!
7. Clothes I actually want to buy
I’m not a fan of German fashion at all (think sneakers, loose blue jeans, very plain shirts and scarves galore) so when I’m living in Germany, I have to order clothes from British sites like ASOS for all my fashion needs. My style is a mix between edgy, urban and part boho (think Kate Moss or Sienna Miller), so it’s great being able to find clothing like tight skinny jeans, tight dresses, shirts with a bit of cleavage or heels easily.
It seems like while German girls prefer the comfortable, underdressed look while trying hard to avoid looking “sexy,” whereas girls in Canada are the opposite and I love that – embrace that femininity!
6. Hip hop music
What can I say, I come from the city of Drake and I love hip hop music. Unfortunately German bars and clubs love their 90s music and electro, so our music preferences clash quite a bit.
5. Paying by card
I love paying with either my debit or credit card back home since I hate having change with me. Unfortunately in Germany, most places don’t accept cards (of any sort), even at some McDonalds! It’s so nice being able to pay by card anywhere I want in Canada without having to ask in advance.
4. Free water in restaurants
I usually drink water with my meals since I feel like alcohol with food makes me really thirsty, and juices and coke have too many calories. In Germany, they don’t give you free tap water like they do in Canada, so you normally have to pay around 2-4 euros for a drink. The water they serve in restaurants in Germany is usually the carbonated kind that appeals to Germans but somehow tastes disguising to every non-German I’ve met, so instead, I always end up drinking way too much diet coke when I’m in Germany (and that makes me burp a lot).
3. Great customer service
Customer service in Germany isn’t horrible but it’s not the best either. Most people in customer service there do enough to fulfill their job requirements, but never go up and above like they would in Canada. I love how people here would go out of their way to help you with things, and are really genuine about it. There’s nothing like Canadian friendliness, is there?
2. Speaking English
I have to admit, I’m terrible with learning languages and German isn’t exactly an easy language to learn. Luckily me and my German friends speak English together, and I also have a good amount of friends from English speaking countries there. Other than with them, I try to speak German whenever possible but speaking it always makes me feel a bit self-conscious.
Being back in Canada, the ability to speak English to everyone sometimes feels like the most amazing thing ever! Plus it’s also good for eavesdropping on people when you’re bored and sitting on a bus.
1. Family and friends
Of course the thing I miss most is family and friends. I Skype with my parents once a week and talk to friends back home on Facebook all the time, but there’s nothing like seeing some familiar faces, especially the more you travel and the further you go.
And that’s my list! While it may seem like when I’m in Canada, I’m endlessly planning my next travel plans to somewhere far and distant, at the end of the day, I’m still a Canadian girl at heart. What things do you guys miss about home when you’re abroad?