While our cute little Lyonnaise apartment is great, there are still some comforts from home that I miss. Here are a few that come to mind.
1. A dishwasher! Here in Lyon we only have a small, undivided sink with poor lighting. Since we don't have a lot of bowls, plates, utensils, etc., we have to rewash after every meal. On some days it feels like I spend half my life in that dark corner up to my elbows in soap suds!
2. A bed. Upon arriving in Lyon, we purchased the cheapest mattress that we could find, put it down on the floor, and thought we'd be fine for ten months. Unfortunately, after about two months it lost all of its "squoosh," making for some rather uncomfortable nights. On the positive side, someone from church randomly gave us an old couch that folds out into a bed. Despite being right on the floor, it's actually reasonably comfortable. Even so, it's pretty small, especially when the girls climb in with us early in the morning. It's also a bit of a pain to have to collapse the bed into a couch every day and remake it every night. Once we're back in the States, I will definitely be happy to have an actual bed again!
3. Our couch. While I feel really lucky that we have a couch here (two in fact, if you count our couch "bed"), I miss our Illinois couch. Trying to keep a solid black and rust colored couch clean with little kids has been practically impossible. The couch shows every sticky little finger print, and even gets water stains to boot when you try to clean it. While our patterned couch in Illinois may not be tremendously stylish, it definitely handles dirt and stains much better!
4. Cupboards, shelves, and towel hooks that I can reach. While I am extremely grateful that our apartment here has abundant amounts of storage space, all of the storage space is really high for someone who fudges slightly to claim five feet. I am definitely tired of having to constantly move chairs and step stools to function. To hang up my towel in the morning, I literally have to jump to reach the hook! While this may be humorous for anyone observing, it's definitely embarrassing if you're me.
5. A shower. Here in Lyon, we have a very deep tub with a handheld shower head, but no actual shower. While I enjoy baths, I can't wait to actually stand up and take a long, hot shower. Letting the water run down over you is so much nicer when your arm isn't getting cramped from being the shower head.
6. Someone who bags my groceries for me. Here in France, there seems to be a general attitude that emphasizes the rights of employees over those of consumers. When you enter a shop, you are considered a guest who ought to greet the shop owner and have a general attitude of gratitude for the services they provide you by being open and generally existing. While I'm very much in favor of clerks receiving better pay and treatment, it's kind of frustrating when they sit and watch you struggle to bag your food, rather than helping out. Worse yet is when they start checking out the next person in line, so all the food starts piling up! While I'm getting much better at bagging my own food quickly, it can still be inconvenient, especially if you're shopping with kids.
7. Last but not least, I miss having a "noise-approved home." Apartment living has been really challenging, especially in an older place that isn't very soundproof. We have one grumpy neighbor who doesn't seem to understand that kids just make noise. Sometimes I feel like a broken record who does nothing but tell the girls to walk, use their inside voices, and whisper on the stairs. Yesterday I had to chuckle when I told the girls that if they wanted to jump, they needed to do it on the bed/mattress (after all, they can't make it worse) instead of the floor so that they wouldn't make so much noise. Anyway, I can't wait to be back in the States where it is okay to jump, dance, laugh, squeal, and heaven forbid, run in the hallway!
I guess the moral of the story is that no matter where you are and what you have, there will always be a few things that you wish were slightly different. I think the key is to learn to be happy in the moment and delight in the many things you have instead of the few things you don't. So thanks for reading about the things I miss, and stay tuned for the next installment of the things I don't.