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Miss you

Mark Mardell | 08:45 UK time, Monday, 11 May 2009

I am off. In more ways than one. German election rally, 10 May 09

First I am going on the campaign trail for what will be a pretty intensive month before the European election results are announced on 7 June, and don't expect to be in Brussels much. Of course my colleague Jonny Dymond has a head start on me and has already "done" France and Ireland.

For me it's first stop France, and there'll be more on the mood there later this week.

But I am also leaving Europe this summer. I've just been appointed the BBC's North America editor, replacing Justin Webb, a hard act to follow indeed. It's why I have been missing for a bit, mugging up and cramming. I am thrilled, excited beyond measure, that I will be covering what is possibly the most important story in the world: how Obama copes with the numerous challenges before him, from the economy to climate change, to the terrorist threat to America's image in the world - challenges that are not only important for the United States but the rest of us as well. All that and a new continent to explore too.

But I will twinge as I travel round Europe for the elections, wondering what I will miss, and what I will miss the most. I surprised myself when I came here four years ago that I really didn't miss much in Britain, apart from friends and family. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised: every reminder of home, from Marmite to the Sunday newspapers, is easily available in Brussels, and it's only a couple of hours on the train to get back to dear old Blighty. But walking round the back streets of Rome, the bustle of Berlin, the ever unfolding glory of the French countryside - these are a few of my favourite things. If you are an expat from either continent, Old World or New, what do you miss from home?


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