Before moving to the Netherlands, I knew I'd fight bouts of home-sickness. While I anticipated missing my loved ones, I didn't put much thought in to missing my California creature-comforts. To be honest, the transition has been quite okay, but in the 4 months here, I've missed these things the most. And if you're visiting from California, you might miss these things, too.
1) Quality Mexican Food - there is no polite way to say this. I've only encountered Dutch abominations of Mexican food. Someone please prove me wrong here. I am dying for carne asada, re-fried beans and fish tacos. (Update - JP read this and wants to remedy this grievance, I'll let you know how it goes).
2) Quality Hot Sauce - I didn't realize how good I had it in California. I could always rely on Trader Joe's, Mother's or even a basic supermarket for a vast selection of hot-sauces to compliment whatever I was eating. My palate grew accustomed to pizza only being pizza if it had Trader Joe's Habanero Sauce poured over it. Eggs weren't eggs without a healthy dose of Cholula. My first trip to Albert Heijn involved hoarding and sampling every selection of hot sauce available. To my dismay, they all taste like spicy vinegar :(. Someone from CA, please send me hot sauce.
3) Aimlessly driving for relaxation/entertainment - The day I turned 16, I got my driver's license. After that, I drove almost every day. While I certainly don't miss the absurd rush hour traffic, and bikes are a great way to get around, I do miss the open road - whether it's a short trip to the beach or driving the span of the golden state, driving for fun was, well, fun.
4) Acai bowls - for obvious reasons. The whole organic/fresh-pressed craze must fly under the radar here. Or, perhaps there's a hole in the market I should be taking advantage of. Nekter, if you're listening, I volunteer as tribute to open your first Dutch location.
5) The Desert - while I love the lush and green climate here in Dordrecht and appreciate the beach, mountains, foothills and forests of California, I really, really miss the desert. Nothing compares to the paradoxical vastness that is somehow so empty and so alive at the same time.
6) Sandals + Sun-dresses - The average temperature in my home city is around 25 degrees (77 Fahrenheit). I basically lived in sun dresses, shorts, t-shirts and sandals. Now it's more like tank tops under sweaters under scarfs and under jackets. Sometime I even wear leggings under my jeans, it's really cute. Anytime I wake up to blue skies, I cross my fingers it's warm enough for bare legs. I've had a 0% success rate.
I anticipate growing/updating this list as time goes on, but this is good for now. What do you miss most about home? What would be in your ideal care package?