What do I actually miss?

24 02 2008

After 5 months in Ghana I think I’m allowed to ask the question, “What do I actually miss from the UK?” Before I left I posted a blog on what I expected to miss. Now I’m here I don’t pine too much for anything in particular, but occasionally I wistfully muse about home luxuries.

Reliable basic utilities (water, electricity, refuse) are the most obviously missed items. At the moment I’m typing in gloom because the voltage is too low to start the strip lights in my living room, with washing up waiting in the sink for water to flow again. My rubbish will get burnt at the weekend – I’m my own incinerator. Anyone commenting on this to complain about services in a developed country will be soundly ignored.

Sausages, or indeed processed pork products generally are next to impossible to find in a country with a large Muslim population. One of the sublime moments over Christmas was when we found a restaurant that served bacon. I dream of bangers and mash (potatoes are expensive luxuries here) washed down by a pint of good, honest bitter, or a decent ham sandwich with lashings of English mustard.

Bookshops and decent newspapers like the Guardian or Economist. I know I can subscribe to them, but my subscription to the Economist has yet to produce a single copy and while Amazon is well stocked it doesn’t have the same scope for serendipity as a proper bookshop and can takes weeks to deliver here.

Oddly I quite miss formulaic US police dramas like CSI. Less oddly I also miss quirky British comedies and proper BBC documentaries. And of course good old Radio 4, it’s odd not waking up with John Humphries or chuckling along to “Just a minute”.

Another missed thing could be categorised as “cultural stuff”. I don’t just mean high culture like theatre or classical concerts, although I do miss those, but live comedy, cinema and ceilidhs too, and doing those things with a bunch of mates.

In the post before I left I said I would miss friends, but missed out family. In some ways I don’t miss my family because they keeping regular contact and I know that whatever happens they’ll be there, and my relationship with them is long term. And it isn’t particular friends that I miss, but having a bunch of people around to go to the pub with after work or whatever. There are a great bunch of individuals here that I hope will become long lasting friends, but generally they’re hundreds of miles away when I fancy a pint after a frustrating or dull day.

On a positive note; I love the laid back, unstressed approach to life here (although it can be a source of a small amount of stress itself when things don’t happen at the speed you’re used to). Hopefully I’ve met one or two people who will be life long friends. A simpler, healthier life is good – and I’m learning about myself, my profession and my world. If I ever choose a job that means I have to get on a packed tube train every morning and evening again, please someone shoot me.
 

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One response

26 02 2008
Dr Nick

Tim – I’m sure your old job will be waiting for you when you get back (heh heh heh!)

Just in case you didn’t know…you can subscribe to Radio 4 podcasts via iTunes (or similar)….almost like being here??
Take care,

Nick & Kirsteen

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