Besides obviously missing my family and friends, there are a number of things (or luxuries) I have at home in Canada that I really miss having. They are:
1. A high quality, normal size hair straightener. The travel size straightener I have is barely good enough to straighten my bangs and if I do manage to get them straight with it, they curl right back up when I go to brush my teeth in the bathroom that lacks a fan and is still humid from my shower. The iron is heavy. I really didn’t want to waste the money on buying one to use over here when I have a perfectly good one at home.
2. The deodorant selection. Even in the drugstores, there is a very poor selection of deodorant in Germany. A whole wall of every possible type of Nivea and Fa deodorants plus a selection of anti-perspirant sprays. I took a chance and bought a bottle of Nivea. This particular one is designed to prevent deodorant stains on your white and black clothing. I think that’s all it does. That and make me feel paranoid that it’s not giving me a good enough armpit coverage. I finally ordered some from Amazon. It took 3 weeks to get here and came in a large two-pack, but it’s much better and hopefully will last the duration of the trip. Make-up in general is difficult if you have some preferred brands. Germany doesn’t have any of mine. I also ordered some mineral powder online.
3. Peanut Butter. The Edeka in Nürnberg has 3 different jars of peanut butter, crunchy, smooth, and a different brand that’s also smooth. I think it costs €3.30 for a small jar. It looks like peanut butter and it smells like peanut butter, but it doesn’t taste like the peanut butter at home. In fact, it tastes like half the peanuts were left out.
4. Longer or double check-out lanes at the grocery store. And by check-out lanes, I mean the area between where your items are scanned and the place where you bag them. It’s bad enough in Canada that most grocery stores are no longer bagging your food for you, but at least your given enough time to bag your food and get it in your cart. In Nürnberg, they don’t bag your groceries, there is definitely not even enough room for all of your groceries to fit on the counter and if you aren’t finished bagging by the time they give you your change, the next persons items are being sent flying into yours or being handed to them one by one. It actually stresses me out each time I check-out, no matter how much I try to organize the items on the belt according to what goes in which bag and whether or not it goes on the bottom. You have to be ready and have your bags open for when your items start flying down. If you can’t move fast enough, you should probably just throw everything back in your cart and bag it elsewhere.
5. ATM machines that allow you to deposit your money into them. There are very few ATM’s here that allow you to deposit money by sticking it into the machine. Matt says one of these ATM's exists in Bamberg but we are not taking an hour train just to deposit money outside of regular banking hours. The system is very old school. You go into the bank, fill out a form that has your bank account number and the amount you want to deposit, and then you stand in a line to reach the one teller that makes cash deposits, during regular 9-5 Monday-Friday bank hours of course.
6. My blackberry. I got so use to having a keyboard that I no longer no how to use T9 and have resorted to punching the number 1-4 times to get the letter I want or up to 6 times to get the number. It’s also very small and plastic and difficult to hold. It looks like a child’s toy. In fact, most children have nicer looking cell phones in their toy boxes then I am currently using. The answering machine system is also in German…I do not know how to check my voicemail messages. ...I don’t miss the bill though. I’ve spent €40 to date on this phone and that is likely to last me at least another month before I run out of time. I might only need to add €5 more to get me through until the end of May.
7. The ability to get milk for my coffee in a restaurant. Even if you ask for milk here, they give you a creamer. It curdles my stomach.
8. Tim Hortons. $1.45 for a large coffee…$1.10 for a muffin. There are two German coffee shops beside the u-bahn station near my work. They are both expensive. It costs €2.20 for a small hot chocolate or cappuccino and almost as much for a muffin. I think even the German Starbucks list the same numbers as I would see at home, except here, the price is in Euros, so it’s actually 1.4x the amount. Needless to say, I don’t make going to any of these places a habit.
9. 12 Hour Clocks. My alarm clock is in 24 hour time. I never know what time it is once it hits 17:00.
10. Regular sized shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles. At home, regular bottles are 355ml, in Germany, the majority are only 250ml. So, not only are all the bottles that much smaller, but with two people using them, it feels as though a bottle only lasts 3 weeks.
So, when I return to Canada, I will be sure to hit the Tim Hortons before I even leave the airport, either a half hot chocolate/half coffee or a coffee with milk if I so choose, I will pick a new blackberry as it will be time to renew my cell phone contract, I will straighten my bangs effectively and they will still look fine 12 hours later and I will eat SOMETHING with real peanut butter on it. It doesn't even matter what it is.