The Emerald Isle, Land of Saints & Scholars – the beloved country of Ireland has many names, but I just call it "Home".

My family packed up and moved back home to Ireland last September, after nine years in California. Lots of things brought us home, such as family, friends and lifestyle. However, I can't deny that it was also the little things, the things that you can't find anywhere else, that really sealed the deal on sending this homesick ex-pat home.

Here are the quintessentially Irish things that I missed when living in the States:

The people

There's nothing quite like the people you find in Ireland.

There's nothing quite like the people you find in Ireland.

I missed family and friends, of course, but I missed Irish people in general. We really are a friendly bunch, and I missed the “hello, how are ya’s” when passing someone I barely knew in town, and the obligatory wave when driving.

The food

Irish soda bread and butter: Could it be possible I missed the bread more that people?

Irish soda bread and butter: Could it be possible I missed the bread more that people?

Chocolate, chippers, good Chinese food,  chicken fillet rolls, rashers, Tayto, and bread, oh god the bread! The list goes on and on... I may have actually missed the food more than the people!

The craic

There's nothing quite like the craic you have in Ireland.

There's nothing quite like the craic you have in Ireland.

The Irish have the best sense of humor in the world. You just won’t get quality banter anywhere else, or our unique brand of sarcasm.

The weather

The weather... no really you'd miss the rain in California.

The weather... no really you'd miss the rain in California.

I really missed having four seasons. In California, it was just dry weather all the time, maybe some rain if you were lucky.  Call me crazy, but I missed the leaves changing color in autumn and being nice and cozy in front of the fire when it’s frosty outside.

The countryside

That countryside! There really are 40 shades of green.

That countryside! There really are 40 shades of green.

California might have majestic mountains and valleys, but there is nothing like the green, green grass of home. You don’t appreciate how beautiful the Irish countryside is until you leave it.

Tea and chats

Come on now... you'll have a cuppa!

Come on now... you'll have a cuppa!

Nothing beats chats with friends and family over endless cups of tea. Throw in some decent chocolate biscuits and you’re set.

Penneys

There's nothing quite like the joy of shopping in Penneys... if you don't know go!

There's nothing quite like the joy of shopping in Penneys... if you don't know go!

Every time I came home for a visit, I made a beeline for Penneys. There is no equivalent in the US. I go hell for leather stocking up on pyjamas, undies, cute clothes and accessories. I’ve no shame!

Christmas

There is a magic and togetherness felt around Christmas in Ireland and just so special.

There is a magic and togetherness felt around Christmas in Ireland and just so special.

Most companies in the United States only observe Christmas Day as a holiday – that’s one day off for Christmas folks! We spent a few holiday seasons in California. It’s just not the same when it’s 25 degrees out, the pubs are open and you’ve got work in the morning!

Christmas is an occasion in Ireland, with pretty much everything shutting down for a week of merriment and festive fun.

Life in California was good to us, and there is a great deal that I miss about it (*cough*Target*cough), but there is no better feeling than coming home. 

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There's nothing quite like being at home, in Ireland.iStock