Accents, and the mental work of untangling them.
Beautiful and old architecture.
Having the best baguette in Paris available, at my doorstep, baked fresh thrice daily.
Free blank-faced eye contact in public, with no requisite smile or interaction.
The added level of mental friction and difficulty of doing everything in another language. Things here seem easy (which is not to say straightforward or simple).
Being able to attribute any social misstep to my incurable Americanness.
Freshly-imported Italian delicacies.
Everyone expects to go to public parks to socialize, so parks are frequent and pleasant.
Inexpensive Swiss chocolate.
Being in a time zone ahead of GMT, so: always living in the future.
Children speaking foreign languages with perfect accents.
Reliable, fast, inexpensive internet connectivity.
An electrical wiring standard which does not threaten electrocution at every plug/unplug.
All my friends.
Those last two rank very closely. I'm not sure which is the more acute pang of separation. (Just kidding. It's cheese, of course.)
This post's theme word is escutcheon,
- "an ornamental or protective plate surrounding a keyhole, light switch, door handle, etc."
- used in the phrase: blot on one's escutcheon (a stain on one's reputation).
- "a shield or shield-shaped surface bearing a coat of arms."
The buildings look naked without the usual crust of escutcheons to mark their history, ownership, and affiliation.