There are a few differences

Several people have asked about “culture shock” upon returning home, and for me at least there really hasn’t been much (I’ll let WeatherGirl and Sub-Evil speak for themselves). One thing that has been really amazing, though, is the peace and quiet here.

Midwestern evening

The photo above is from a few years ago, but it’s representative of what it’s been like being back. The roads (and sky) are wide and quiet, and peddling my bike down a big empty street seems kind of otherworldly after a year in a much more crowded part of the world:

Heavy traffic (from on high)

The other huge difference is the damn mosquitoes. Didn’t really miss them while we were gone, and wasn’t too thrilled to see them again (in vast quantities) upon our return.

Oh, and burritos are much better in Minnesota than in the UK (and much better in Texas than Minnesota). Really. Much better.

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The end of an era

One that didn't get away We’ve been lucky enough to have a very nice chippy up the road. Peggottys was a neat family operation, one of that dwindling pool of old-school independent shops. We’ve gone there roughly once a week all year and gotten to know the folks there, so we were sad to learn that they were selling up to a group that runs several chippies in Colchester.

The hand over occurred a few days ago, and tonight was our first chance to frequent the establishment under their new ownership. Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as good as before. They had definitely changed either their suppliers and/or their processes. The fish was hard and rubbery, and the chips were pale and greasy. All in all, not the win.

Very sad, really. Luckily there are other chippies within ready walking distance, and we’re only here another month, so this isn’t catastrophe it might have been. Still, we will miss the Peggottys folks, their hospitality, and their food. If I’d thought of it sooner, it would have been really cool to have taken a photo of them all at the shop, but that moment has passed.

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