1. Trader Joe's. I can't even begin to express how much I miss grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, and the very real despair I feel knowing that Canada has not a single Trader Joe's in the country. Not a one. Here is a short list of things I'm already missing: sea-salt brownies, endless bags of affordable dried fruit and nut combinations, the cheese selection, hazelnut dark chocolate bar, organic veggie broth. I really could go on and on, so I'll stop. I'm not the only one who relies on Trader Joe's for optimum household maintenance. So Trader Joe's, until next we meet.
2. NPR. Specifically, WHYY in Philadelphia. I have always loved CBC radio and I'll continue to do so for years, I'm sure. Canadian public radio has many things to offer, I think, and I just need to rediscover its treasures. But NPR, oh how I adore you. I know that the most of the shows are available as podcasts, so I'll still be able to listen to Fresh Air and This American Life and Car Talk (I love this show for and have no explanation as to why), but there was just something about my local NPR station that I loved. It was comforting (get a room, why don't you). Did I mention I was very lonely sometimes?
3. The Birth Center. What can I say? I gave birth to Shira at this wonderful place. My midwives were kind, competent, and funny, and most of all, they knew to leave me alone during most of labour. I liked especially how Sarah had to tell me to stop closing my legs when it was time for the final push. (It hurt a lot. Can you blame me?) I especially liked the giant tub of water I delivered in, even though I was cursing how long it took to fill when I arrived at the Birth Center at eight cm dilated. (Katie, the midwife: "It should only take fifteen minutes." Me, the labouring mama: "In fifteen minutes this baby will be out and going to kindergarten. Do it faster." At least that's what I wanted to say. Always the people-pleaser, I think I kept my mouth shut and just gave her the stink-eye.)
4. New York City: I have only visited three times, and even though one of those trips was a challenge, I feel magical in NYC, and I liked being only two hours away.
5. Philadelphia Please Touch Museum for Kids: No contest, the best kids museum. Alyce knew that place like the back of her little hand and would have made an excellent tour guide for Shira one day. This place has it all: water to splash, gardens to build, babies to nurse back to health, groceries to buy and put away, and the best Alice in Wonderland tea party around. Alyce has asked me three times this week if we can go to The Museum. I've been avoiding her, trying to buy some time in order to find out if there is one anywhere in Ontario (which will never compare--did I mention there is a carousel inside the museum?--but it might appease) . Please someone tell me there is.
6. Willa Road Children Center: They loved Alyce, we loved all of them. Alyce began daycare at thirteen months and after a brief transition adjustment (that was me, actually), it became that kind of place for Alyce where everyone knew her name (but they only served pints of regulation milk, water and juice). A lovely new routine developed for us, where we would excitedly look forward to Alyce telling us about her day (and eventually, when she learned actual words, we could even understand her). It is a very special place, and we are sad to leave it behind.
7. Parades: American know how to do a parade. Halloween, Memorial Day, anything you want. I'll miss those, and maybe nudge a few Canadians to take to the streets a little more often.
8. Online shopping: Don't even get me started. Alright, just for a moment. In the U.S.A. you can have ANYTHING delivered to your door. Need diapers? Sure, they will be there tomorrow. Want to throw in a dvd player because your old one broke? Sure, we've got those, too. Can we set up a schedule for you where everything you need arrives every month at your door? We'd love to! For a family of four (we go through a lot of stuff) and the owners of a teeny tiny Kia (that doesn't hold much of anything), online shopping was delightful. Canada? Let's get on with it.
9. Pandora: I don't really understand the internet, but I know what I like, and I like Pandora. For some reason (maybe someone can explain this to me), Pandora doesn't work in Canada. I am going through a massive withdrawal from all that wonderful music. Someone please fix this.
10. These two faces. I miss you both a lot.