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US Expats living in London what do you miss?

US Expats living in London what do you miss?

Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 09:49 AM
  #1  
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US Expats living in London what do you miss?

I am heading to London and will visit with a cousin who has recently moved his family there to live. I would like to bring a gift but here is the catch.... I am planning to carry on luggage so liquids are out. Suggestions?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 09:54 AM
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Why not ask the cousin what they miss? (I can't imagine there is much you can;t get there.)
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 11:24 AM
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True, because I bet anything you are going to find mentions of some junk food, some of which many people may not even like, let alone miss. And cheap junk food isn't much of a gift, anyway IMO.

Because what else could you be referring to that you can't buy in London and which gets used up so that this cousin who just moved there doesn't have any more? I guess some particular brand of soap or cosmetic (maybe), but that would be specific to a person.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 11:33 AM
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When I lived in the UK I really never missed anything - except sometimes family of course. There are either just as good options available there - or something better.

Sure- some Mexican seasoning (which are much more available than when I lived there), a favorite California wine - there would be the occasional 'twinge' but nothing I had to have. The main thing I missed was a large US refrigerator - which won't fit in your carry on - nor probably in the cousin's kitchen -- but I learned to cope.

So - your only option really is to ask if there is anything they are craving.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 11:35 AM
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I can't imagine that there is anything one can't find in London or online, never mind something anyone is "missing." Just bring them the same sort of nice gift you would bring anyone else living anywhere.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 11:41 AM
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Agree that you should ask your cousin. Maybe they would like some sort of liquor from duty free at the airport. If it were me, I would love a few recent issues of my favorite magazine. Or if I ordered online from someplace I like to shop and had it shipped to your house and you brought it to me. But bottom line, it's very personal.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Well, if he is missing Twinkies, you are out of luck.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 12:52 PM
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As an ex-pat living just outside of London, I'll give you my opinion.

You're very kind to think of this. Ask your cousin if there is anything you can bring. You may miss out on the surprise but you'll know for sure if there is anything he misses.

There ARE some things that are difficult to find here. Maybe not impossible and if it was a necessity I could probably get my hands on most things, but for a price. For instance, I love Almond Roca! I've never seen it here. If a family member flies from Seattle to see me, I ask them to grab a canister from the airport for me. I'm not saying I can't live without Almond Roca, or that it's better than anything I can possibly get here, but it's tastes nice and I like it.

Is your cousin from a part of the states that has a specialty?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 12:54 PM
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Oops -- one more thought. This is very specific, but as you mentioned his family I thought I would throw it out there. If his family has video game consoles they will probably only play US games. You might ask if there are any recently released games that they would like!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 01:19 PM
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There must be a specialty shop in London for just about every nationality. You can even buy those huge American fridges in Harrods if your kitchen is large enough and your wallet deep enough. About the only thing I miss is not being able to watch my favourite NFL team every week, but I understand there is a subscription service for that on the internet now.
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Old Dec 24th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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Thanks everyone. I did ask my cousin before I wrote the post but he did not give me any requests... I'm sure because he did not want me to feel obligated to bring anything. I thought there might be some little fun thing that they would say "wow how did you know!" that would being them a little holiday cheer and memories from home in the USA (they are from southern California). Too bad I can't bring them sunshine and a beach!
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Old Dec 24th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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"I did ask my cousin before I wrote the post but he did not give me any requests... "

Probably because they aren't really 'missing' anything. If there was something they really craved I'm sure he would have said something - even just in jest. >>You won't believe this but the one thing we REALLY miss is . . .
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Old Dec 24th, 2012, 10:02 AM
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When I lived in the UK I missed Gates&Sons barbecue sauce but that's a Kansas City thing (and no agreement on which KC sauce is the best). Anyway, sauces can't go in carryon. Through trial and error I now make a reasonably close approximation.

I also missed some McCormack spices, particularly chili powder and cumin. Not that they aren't available in the UK, I just knew how this brand was going to taste.

Now, in France, the thing I really, really miss is Arm&Hammer toothpaste but can't have my "carryon only" friends bring it as zealous homeland security folks will confiscate.
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Old Dec 24th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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When we lived in London for a year five years ago you could find almost anything "American" you wanted except two things 1. Wheat thin crackers and 2. Cheerios (as one of my friends said "then what do their babies snack on?"). Other Americans who had been in London for years said there used to be other things they would have friends bring: chocolate chips, ziplock bags, marshmellows and other things they would tell me about.
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Old Dec 25th, 2012, 05:52 PM
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I am not an exPat (I wish) BUT my son lives across the country from home and for Christmas and we sent him local sports team goodies - just a thought.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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>

That's probably what they are missing the most!

You mentioned SoCal -- they might be missing good Mexican food. I can't find canned chipotles here. I can find chipotle paste, but it's not the same thing. I always bring regular taco seasoning back with me as well. Like Cath mentioned above, often you can find spices but they just aren't the same.

If you've given up on the idea of bringing something you could offer to take them to dinner when you're there. Here are the two best Mexican places we have found.

http://www.crazyhomieslondon.co.uk/
This is out by Notting Hill/Portobello Market. It's just a little hole in the wall but it's our favourite.

http://www.lupita.co.uk/
This one is right by the Embankment tube stop and it's a bit nicer than Crazy Homies. The food is pretty great.

Oh and there's also Wahaca, which is nice and a chain so there are locations all over (but it's not as good as the other two).
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 07:58 AM
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BKP,

Thanks for the Mexican restaurant recs in London, we get up there about twice a year, son lives in Camden.

Mex, Tex-Mex, etc. restaurants are a little thin on the ground around us.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 08:20 AM
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I'm not an expat YET, but I have read on other forums that Mr Clean Magic Erasers aren't available (for a reasonable price) there. I will be packing an extra box of them since they work so well for erasing crayons, scuff marks... just about everything.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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You're very welcome Cath! Believe me, we've done our research!!

Here's one more for you NOT to try -- Cafe Pacifico near Covent Garden. I've heard good things about their margaritas but didn't try them. We did try the nachos -- which came out as tortilla chips covered in marinara sauce and then melted cheese.

Natalie - that's a good one. Also, anything like the Shout wipes, Shouts pens, etc.
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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My brother-in-law asks us to send beef jerky. Apparently it's not easy to find in London.
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