The other day I was at Starbucks and saw a poster that read Rediscover a Fall Favorite: New Strawberry Mocha.
No, no, no.
Fall is not iced (!) strawberry drinks. Fall is SWEATER WEATHER and finally busting out the knee-high boots. It’s an 832-page Vogue pushing plaid like it’s a new idea. My Pinterest pages are full to brimming with cinnamon sticks and steaming mugs of cider and clove-scented candles in mason jars trimmed with twine and maple leaves. Fall in the US is right at the top of the list of things I miss from “home.” And I’m not even saying I’m all in: I’m not upset I can’t make small woodland creatures out of pine cones and acorns gathered with my kids. But a trip to the pumpkin patch or a maize maze? Sign me up.
There are a lot of obvious, important things I miss: my family, for one. We see them every summer—sometimes in the spring or winter as well—but FaceTime is not the same as real time with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. My friends, for another. I get to see some of them over the summer, especially if I hop on a train to DC or road trip to Connecticut to make it happen. But there are little things I miss from home too.
Like Trader Joe’s Popcorn in a Pickle, which is magically delicious. And which, when I couldn’t find it on my last trip back to the States and started to panic, a passing store clerk informed me is a seasonal item. If anyone can tell me which season is pickle-flavor popcorn season, please do so I can better plan my travels.
I miss the convenience of buying organic veggies that haven’t traveled 5,000 miles from Tazmania (with a price tag to match).
Buying tennis shoes in my size would be nice. Store clerks retreat in horror waving their hands when I ask for a size 9. I am Sasquatch here.
Anthropologie, Anthropologie, Anthropologie. Pardon me while I get a little misty-eyed about Anthropologie and its unique wonderfulness. They do ship internationally, but it’s not the same as actually going into one of their perfectly designed stores with their deliciously scented candles burning while their interestingly attired salespeople help you shop for chunky scarves.
Which brings us back to fall. To that first crisp run in Central Park, to crunching leaves underfoot on a walk in the woods. On a fall day here, if I stay in the subzero mall long enough and ignore the hot weather alerts coming from my phone, I can try on a wool camel coat and a cashmere cardigan and pretend for a while I’m on the same Facebook page as my friends in the States.
And I can DIY autumn: go back to my house and turn down the a/c, pull an alpaca throw over my sundress, and console myself by watching When Harry Met Sally (fall in New York at its cinematic finest). I can sip a copycat pumpkin spice latté (thanks, Pinterest!) and smugly remind myself about the one fall element I won’t miss: the approaching winter.