I miss the sound of sirens: Home for the Holidays by True New Yorker Karishma Jobanputra

Home for the holidays

Leaving New York behind for the motherland that is England for the Christmas holidays should have incited a deep euphoria in my heart. Should. After all, I have been pining for real tea for quite some time. And yet, after a cancelled flight and watching Home Alone 2 at the airport (which resulted in me telling strangers I had been in that exact spot at Rockefeller Centre (yes, I still haven’t changed my language settings) a mere twenty-four hours earlier I was sad to leave behind the blue corn chips, the bagels, and my American bedroom which is the size of a postage stamp.

And now, having been home for a few weeks, I have come to the irrefutable realisation that I have become, for better or worse, a New Yorker. As a result I have had a few epiphanies. The main epiphany is that I am unprepared to live in a country in which most people have the same accent as me. I am much less interesting. Then again, it has been heartening to hear people say “bloody” if only to reassure myself that I really haven’t been making it up or misremembering how we speak on this side of the Atlantic.

My full list of over-privileged epiphanies below. Please read in Michael Bublé’s voice, because who else has a voice that embodies Christmas so completely?

1. I cannot live somewhere that isn’t opposite a 24/7 supermarket

Not being able to buy a vegan brownie at 11pm by walking across the road has proven to make life extraordinarily difficult. I’ll say no more on that, because I can already imagine you wondering just how privileged I can sound. Even I’m quoting Friends to myself (“My wallet’s too small for my fifties and my diamond shows are too tight!”) Regardless, the pain is real. No, seriously. I miss you, Westside Market.

2. Light switches, socket switches…all the switches

The sockets in England have switches. (My editor says they’re called outlets here and I should really know that as a self-professed New Yorker. Apparently people feel strongly when other people call themselves New Yorkers.) Anyway, in England you have to turn them on, otherwise your phone won’t actually charge. I forget that’s how things work here.

Also in England, the switches are also much smaller and actually need to be flipped, rather than the huge push button light switches across the pond. I feel like I’m living in a miniature doll house and am often left staring at my fingers, wondering if they are huge. ARE THEY? (I’m trying to lay off the mushrooms.) Editor’s note: to editor’s knowledge, the author is not actually using illegal drugs.

3. Netflix

Every time I want to binge watch something I open up Netflix only to be disappointed. The British Netflix is a joke in comparison to its American counterpart. I think God must have heard me, though, because today they added Whiplash. Even so, I’m nicknaming it Not-Flix for the until we get some more of the good stuff.

4. I miss the sound of sirens

Clarification: I don’t like emergencies, just the sound of sirens. It turns out I can’t sleep when it’s quiet. Who knew double glazing could be considered a negative.

5. Bagels

I have decided I will be marrying the owner of Nussbaum and Wu. I’m hoping for a mini bagel as a wedding ring. Cinnamon and raisin preferable, everything or sesame seed acceptable.

Counteracting reasons to stay in England

1. Biscuits and chips

Not the name of a double act, but the two loves of my life.

Oh how I’ve missed Hobnobs and Digestives and Bourbons and Custard Creams and Jammie Dodgers (the chocolate ones) and Rich Teas and Nice biscuits and Jaffa Cakes and Fingers and Mr Kipling and Maryland Cookies and…I could go on.

On chips: not fries, or tortilla chips or crisp I am talking about the mighty British chip. If I don’t marry into Nussbaum and Wu, I’ll be marrying into the McCain family.

2. The Inbetweeners, Gavin and Stacey, Sherlock, The Great British Bakeoff

We do good TV. Mary Berry is number one bae. You’re missing out, America. You’ll never know how to bake the perfect Victoria sponge.


My bedroom at home is not the size of a postage stamp in England. We have a dishwasher. We even have a kitchen with actual worktop space. I feel like the queen.

4. Avocados are cheaper. Like, much

I feel cheated, Westside.

5. Driving on the left

This makes sense. Don’t tell me we’re the only country in Europe doing this. Everyone else is wrong. Full stop. (Yes, I mean full stop, not period).

6. The lack of Donald Trump


Karisham Jobanputra Headshot
Karisham Jobanputra

Karishma Jobanputra (good luck trying to pronounce that) is a first year MFA fiction student from London. She graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Law and, realising it was nothing like Suits, decided to pursue writing. Although primarily a fiction writer, she also attempts to write poetry and has had articles published online at The Guardian, KettleMag UK and The Boar (University of Warwick).

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