I find that my mood swings wildly in England. I do not recall being this up-and-down from day to day when I lived back in the US. My outlook is either so-bright-you-need-shades or characterized by such gloom-and-doom that one wonders how I can possibly go on. I seem to spend very little time in the grey area between the mood extremes. I can only hope this is just the hangover from the major life change of moving abroad, and that my mood will even out as I become acclimated to the local culture!
Today, in stark contrast to yesterday, I am not finding myself particularly charmed by my surroundings. There are many fine features of the English high street, but with so many small stores in a row it sometimes feels as though one has to locate a banana store in order to buy a banana. Thus by the end of a mission to acquire 5 things, one has performed 5 separate transactions resulting in 5 carrier bags from 5 specialized stores all located in a 5-block radius. And did I mention that all this to-ing and fro-ing had to be completed during the working day somehow? God forbid that the stores be open in the evening or for more than a few hours (if at all) on Sunday.
My ode to city life yesterday included brief mention of the fact that I desperately miss Target. Although I seldom used them, I miss the cart escalators in their urban multi-level stores. (Note: that link came from “Target Culture” a blog with this mission: “Target Culture is a blog for people who love Target stores and skeptics interested in understanding why Target lovers think it’s the coolest store on the planet. The ongoing theme is exploring the different ways that Target is shaping the world around us.” What a relief to know that I am not alone out there!) I miss that Target was open from 8 am to 10 pm everyday. I miss that I could buy anything there. I miss that it was bright and cheerful, with wide aisles and relatively little clutter. I miss the sheer silliness of being able to buy a Michael Graves limited edition toilet brush. I even miss the perky sales staff dressed in red.
I’m increasingly homesick as the time since my initial move has elapsed, and now my dreams grow in complexity. I don’t just crave orange baked snack crackers, I now crave the opportunity to go to Target to BUY the Cheez-its before consuming them in one sitting. One can only imagine how this fantasy will evolve in the remaining months before I get the opportunity to actually live it out with a visit home.