Thursday, June 27, 2013

What we miss

Add to Google Reader or HomepageI just saw a friend’s post in which she referenced “35 Things You Appreciate About America After Living in Europe.” It was written by Lucy Hebb and first posted at I found the list interesting and more than exhaustive (exhausting?) I wondered if the author had to limit herself to 35 things or if she had to stretch to reach 35. I am sure that the author found all of the items to be legitimate but several times I had to ask myself why she included X or Y but, hey, it is her list.

As counterpoint to that list, I offer an update to my 2009 list of what I miss when not in Europe (France). My list contains only 25 items. Feel free to add to my list if there are other things you see that I missed.

  1. The friendliness of shop owners “Bonjour, monsieur” greeting as I walk into almost any store (followed by: “Au revoir, monsieur. Bonne journée” as I leave a store – even if I didn’t buy anything.)
  2. Very good wine for under $10.
  3. Specialty stores – butcher shops, fish shops, vegetable shops, bakeries.
  4. Open air markets/market days
  5. Sitting in cafés nursing an espresso (for hours, if you want) and none of the wait staff push you to leave
  6. Cheese selection – more than 200 varieties
  7. Fresh rabbit – and other selections of protein such as pheasant, quail, guinea hen
  8. Walking (everyday) to purchase food items for dinner
  9. Bread (baguette) for $1.00
  10. A fresh baguette everyday
  11. Minimalist (environmentally friendly) approach to packaging
  12. Diesel fuel which costs less than gasoline
  13. Inexpensive espresso
  14. Cars with clean-operating diesel engines
  15. Cars with manual transmissions
  16. Fast, on-time trains
  17. Roman ruins
  18. Fields of poppies
  19. Slow food
  20. Small portions (of food entrées in restaurants)
  21. Dry rosé
  22. One dollar (euro) coins
  23. Well-maintained roads and streets
  24. Families walking together on Sunday afternoons
  25. Mussels from Brittany (moules de Bouchot)


  1. Great list, Mark. I miss the light. In Provence, it is so evident why so many famous painters chose that as their spot to paint.

  2. Great list! I would say that your top 10 would be my top 10 as well! Have a great day.

  3. Mark, Does this list suggest that we cannot find these same things in the states? Or, does your list suggest that when found in Europe the quality is really that much better than what your country and countrymen (and women) have to offer? Certainly you encounter a friendly face every time you go to the Lansing Farmer's Market, n'est pas?

    I hope you will always recognize that when you are in Europe we all miss YOU and are just a bit sad when we think that maybe you believe our world is not up to the quality found in France. Certainly, when one finds themselves in Vaison-la-Romaine listening to the beauty of the French language the charm is inescapable. But one surely can find that charm, Sunday afternoons in the park, good wines (Oregon) and well maintained roads in lovely corners of the United States (that are not feeling all that United these days).

    Nice list, but as you wrote of Lucy Hebb, "it is your list."