What I miss most about home
Jack Rooney | Wednesday, April 12, 2017
It’s always pizza.
Well, it’s people, too, but also always pizza.
A few months ago, one of the students studying in Dublin asked me what I missed most about home after being in Ireland for six months. The answer was easy.
Now, in less than a week, I will return to the the United States for the first time since August, and I will have my glorious reunion with Chicago pizza. And, you know, my family and friends.
So, with my trip home rapidly approaching, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what I really do miss most about home. I won’t mention specific people except to say that, all joking aside, whenever I’m away from home, I miss family and friends the most. Aside from that, let’s dive into the five American cravings that have developed over my eight months away (spoiler alert: most of it is food). Hold on to your hats, folks, it’s about to get Buzzfeed-y.
It’s true. I haven’t lived in Chicago for more than a few weeks at a time in the past four years, and I always miss the pizza. I’ve found good pizza elsewhere, even Ireland, but nothing compares to my neighborhood favorites (Rosangela’s and Palermo’s to be specific). I’m not even the biggest deep dish fan, though I do appreciate the true Chicago art form. I more so miss having a seemingly endless array of excellent pizza a mere phone call away.
I’ll admit this one is a wildcard, but it’s necessary to include. I live in a quirky little apartment in Dublin, and nothing gets to me more than the dryer. It’s such a small thing, but it’s a small thing I miss. My dryer here isn’t connected to a hose that carries the steam outside. Rather, it stands alone and the steam collects in a small container within the dryer, which I then have to empty two or three times throughout the course of the two-hour load if I want my clothes to be even relatively dry when the cycle completes. I have a few drying racks, too, which I use sometimes, but the damp air in my basement apartment isn’t particularly conducive to air-drying anything. So, in this case, I really just miss the ability to be lazy whilst doing laundry and being able to count on soft, warm clothes fresh out of the dryer.
Places that are open late (and on Sundays)
Ireland has a great work-life balance, and I love that aspect of its labor culture. Few places are open much past 7 or 8 p.m., and most businesses are closed on Sundays. Even gated public parks close at sundown. All of this allows for people who might otherwise be working the midnight shift at a restaurant to be at home with family, out with friends or spending their time outside of work however best suits them. I think that’s a healthier system than we have in the U.S., but my American brain still loves the idea of being able to walk into a grocery store at 10 p.m. or grab a slice of pizza at 2 a.m. And I’m used to only three places being closed on Sundays: the bank, the post office and Chik-fil-A. So while I understand and truly appreciate why lots of businesses here close early, I miss the ones that are open late.
Big, hearty breakfasts
Speaking of late night joints, I deeply miss the kinds of massive, greasy breakfasts that you can only seem to get at a 24-hour diner that serves breakfast all day. You know, the ones where the waiter checks to see if you need more coffee about every five minutes and you can get an omelette with pancakes on the side to get the best of both savory and sweet worlds? Yeah, they don’t have those here. I miss those breakfasts.
American sports (at a reasonable hour)
I had to include this one. I stayed up until near 6 a.m. on two different occasions last semester to watch Notre Dame football lose. And while I stick with the Irish through thick and thin, it helps when I have a good night’s sleep. Similarly, I stayed up to watch my least favorite baseball team win the World Series, and I have yet to have been able to watch a full baseball game this season. I love watching rugby, hurling and Gaelic football here in Ireland, but I miss flipping on the TV and catching a baseball game on a Sunday afternoon.
Now, I’m self aware enough to know that this column comes off as whiny, pretentious and perhaps most of all, painfully American. Know that a lot of this is hyperbole, and that small, genuine truths lie only at the very base of these thoughts. I love Ireland, and I’m blessed to spend my first year after college here. But I miss home. And pizza. And I’ll be happy to see each of them next week.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.