While there are many things about living in America that I don’t enjoy, there are also many pluses. As we prepare to return to the USA later this year, my list of things I’m looking forward to is starting to grow.
You knew I would start with this topic, right? Yes, I am looking forward to Red Vines, good bagels and cream cheese with salmon, but there are other things I love and miss about eating and drinking in the US.
In most places I’ve lived in the US, almost any manner of ethnic foods is available. I don’t have to go out of my way to find sushi, decent Thai, the American version of Chinese food, and dang tasty BBQ. And in a big enough city, they’ll most likely deliver it to my home.
I can find almost anything I’d want, and possibly some things I didn’t know I wanted, in a supermarket. If I can’t, most likely there’s a specialty market nearby that has it.
Free refills of drinks. With ice. It’s easy enough to get ice in your drinks in Mexico. Most of them are served that way, so no biggie. But it’s the exception in many foreign countries. Free refills are practically unheard of outside the US. I love going out to breakfast and being able to get enough coffee that I have to turn the server away. On a hot summer day it’s absolutely lovely to have bottomless iced tea.
While the food quality isn’t always so good, I also do love buffets. So often I’m in the mood for a variety of foods, and those are perfect times to hit a buffet where I can get a little of this, a little of that, and so on.
Even though I mentioned bagels above, I’m going to mention them again. There are places dedicated to making nothing but bagels, and heaven bless them. I’ve missed flavored cream cheese as well. Occasionally while on the road I can find maybe one flavor other than original, but having a plethora to match my mood is something I thoroughly enjoy in the States.
And good ice cream and frozen yogurt. Gelato has a time and a place, and sometimes I really enjoy it. However, to my taste buds nothing will beat the full richness and texture of a good ice cream. Froyo has been almost nonexistent everywhere we’ve been, and the couple of times I have found it . . . well, it hasn’t been a good experience. I look forward to a whole big frozen section full of really delicious ice cream.
I also look forward to microbreweries and craft beers. Prague was pretty much the only place that could satisfy my desire for a craft beer. In the US, I’ll have too many choices to make selection easy. I’m okay with that.
We’re both looking forward to good pizza, too. I’m not into bland cracker crusts and a wimpy amount of toppings.
I may not enjoy losing the strength of the US dollar while we’re in places like Romania, Czech, and Mexico, but it will be nice to not have to constantly do currency conversions every time I want to buy a soft drink or something.
I am also thoroughly looking forward to being able to use my debit card everywhere! I hate having to always have a good amount of cash when I go somewhere and worrying about whether or not I’ll have enough for our meal. It’s so much easier when I can just swipe my card for practically everything.
We love to swim year round. It will be nice to be able to go to a pool that doesn’t require a cap and Speedos. Or that you possess a medical form signed by a physician that includes a fecal and blood exam.
Not being accosted by touts trying to sell me crap. Definitely miss that from Europe. Here (Mexico) and in Asia we stand out, and people tend to see us as a walking dollar sign. That stuff gets really old.
I also won’t miss being asked 5000 times where we’re from. And I won’t have to rely purely on Skype to speak with my friends and loved ones. I’ll be able to actually call them and vice versa!
Grocery stores with self-checkout lanes are also highly enjoyable. While I’m a pretty social guy, I have moments where I’d really not just have meaningless conversations with people. Let me just scan my stuff, pay, and go.
One of the best parts of being back in America, though, is I don’t have to worry about visa restrictions!
When you travel, what do you miss about living in America?