I always hate admitting this: I don’t love living in Europe.
Living here is not everything I hoped it would be. You might see some of my travel photos and think, “wow, to live in Europe is a dream!”
And yes, in those moments, it is a dream. The cobblestone streets, warm German bakeries, and plethora of historical castles used to be images I saved on Pinterest. Now they are a ten minute drive from my home. In those snapshots, I can’t help but appreciate the dream I’m living in.
But like your photos, what I post on social media doesn’t always portray the whole picture. You don’t see the struggles I had during my first year to make friends. You don’t see the tears from having to take a three year break from college – which consequently lowered my self-worth. You don’t see the stress from being in a completely different time zone as my family, or all the little annoyances of living in Europe – how bills work, heating in the homes, public parking, the lack of spicy food, registering cars, the huge communication barrier… the list goes on. All the little annoyances quickly add up to big frustrations. If you’ve ever lived here, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
In truth, I miss Texas. I miss the conveniences of the United States. And boy, I never thought I’d exclaim this, but I miss Walmart. To be able to grab something from the store at midnight is a luxury I never realized I took for granted. To shop on Sundays again… wow, what a dream!
Perhaps it’s because of the holiday season that I’ve been in such a homesick slump. With motivation to persevere, I put together a short list of some of my personal homesick remedies, things that give me a sense of comfort in the drear of Germany.
I think I’ll do this every now and then with a different theme each time. It’s only right to start off with the stuff from the best state there is y’all: Texas. Finding products that resemble home is what keeps me grounded, and makes the little frustrations more tolerable.
And for your piece of mind, none of these are sponsored products or people. 🙂
Tyler’s Candle Co.
Ah, the lovely scent of every true Texas woman’s home. These candles are made in a typical Texas town about 100 miles east of Dallas, called Tyler. With fragrances named Bless Your Heart, Diva, and High Maintenance, Tyler’s candles add a touch of glamour into my home.
I used to only find my Tyler’s Candles at a local boutique in Wichita Falls. I think now they can be found at larger stores, like HEB. And I’m thanking my lucky stars that Amazon offers a small variety of these. Mine candle is Diva scented 😃
Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe
I bought this book several months ago because of a recommendation from my dentist, Paul.
During much dreaded small talk in the dentists chair, I told Paul I graduated high school in Wichita Falls, TX. He listened as I also told him about my huge health transformation in 2016, which drove him to open up about our shared obsession with strength training. Naturally, because everybody knows everybody in Wichita Falls, he figured I knew about Mark Rippetoe and his iconic gym in “Fallstown.” But this was my first introduction to Rippetoes principles, which have influenced the way I train ever since.
It’s pretty cool to know that something amazing can come out of a small, uninspiring city like Wichita Falls. Many people leave searching for bright lights and fuller lives, but Rippetoe stayed put to create a powerlifting movement.
Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa
As a Texan, I like heat. Shoot, I welcome the blistering sun. And with Spanish influences in our Texan cuisine, spicy food is no problem for most of us vaqueros.
Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa is SPICY. It’s the perfect topper for my tofu breakfast scramble, or just to dip with Julio’s Corn Chips (another Texan staple). This jar of salsa brought the heat of Fort Worth, Texas to Germany. I could not be happier.
Can you tell I like spicy foods? When I spotted this bag of ghost pepper chips, I had serious doubts to how hot they would be. I mean, it’s a bag of chips? Then I noticed Paqui chips are made in the city I call home, Austin, Texas – that’s when I knew these would live up to their name.
This bag of chips is freakin’ hot! As all southerners know, the only way for the burning to stop is to keep eating more 😛 They aren’t for wussies. PLEASE try with caution, as the warning label states.
Okay, I’m not a huge fan of today’s hip hop… so this one was a surprise to me as well. I stumbled across Post Malone through Spotify. His song, “I Fall Apart,” was playing, and I instantly loved it. He has a great voice, and apparently makes all of his beats himself – impressive for a 20-something-year-old from Grapevine, Texas. (My dad used to be a police officer there!)
I immediately searched for him singing acoustic on Youtube because I wanted to hear what his voice was like without the autotune. Does anyone else validate artists like this?
Anyway, what I found was admirable. He can play the heck out of a guitar. And his voice is great without autotune.
So those are a few of the things reminding me of home while I watch the snow fall in Germany. It always amazes me how much the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
I’m someone who has jumped between 12 different school systems (as opposed to four – elementary, middle school, high school, and college). Each time I’ve moved, this idiom never fails to be true. I move on, hoping to find something better, only to miss what I had.
Anyway, thanks for reading this far.