While I love traveling the world, sometimes I miss the little things that make America unique and special. It’s not that I want to move back to America. I still love moving around the world and experiencing new things, but there’s a lot I think America does better than other places:
Shopping Hours – I love convenience. I like knowing that if it’s 8pm at night on a Sunday I can go shopping or do a quick errand. This is one of the reasons I love Asia so much. There’s no such thing as closing time. I love how that happens in America too. Late dinner? Forgot the olive oil? No problem! The supermarket’s still open. It’s Sunday at 7pm and your computer breaks? No problem! Best Buy is still open. In so many parts of the world, shops and services close at 6pm and on Sundays. It’s inconvenient, especially if you work a regular job. I don’t need 24 hours, just shops that adjust to working hours.
Service – I like being waited on and having attentive servers and people in stores who are friendly and helpful. I like having people who say hello, please, and thank you. It’s nice, especially when you’re not looked at funny for saying it yourself. People have this impression that Americans are loud and obnoxious but American politeness is grossly unappreciated by the world.
Taco Bell – It may be awful food, but I love it. You can only find it in America, and when I come back home, I gorge on it. I just hope Taco Bell realizes the untapped market of American expats they have and starts to expand overseas. My kingdom for a gordita!
Good Sushi – I could never live in a place without good sushi, and I’m always sad to find bad sushi when I travel. Many people say America has the best sushi outside Japan. I agree. While I’ve found good sushi in London, Paris, and Melbourne, the menu is never as extensive as in America, and it’s usually very expensive. I miss being able to eat fresh, mouthwatering fish from an extensive menu. Even in places like Denver, you can find amazing sushi. When I return to America in June, sushi will be the first meal I have off the plane.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – In all my travels, New Zealand is the only country I’ve found this chocolate and peanut butter goodness in. Whoever invented this should win a Nobel Prize. They’re so good, my mouth waters just thinking about them. I have no idea why I can’t find them in other countries, but I can’t wait to eat them. I was so excited to find them in New Zealand, I ate five packets in a row.
Independent Films – As a film buff, I miss watching good independent films. While overseas, I always hear about good movies that I’ll never get to see. I’m still waiting for Up in the Air, and I’m now also going to miss Youth in Revolt. If I’m lucky, iTunes will have one or two but mostly, I miss out on all the good Fox Searchlight and Focus Features movies that remind me the future of Hollywood isn’t lost yet.
24-Hour Cable News – I miss cable news, because when I watch it, I’m reminded of how much better my life is when I travel and don’t watch it.
Hulu – Once in a while, Saturday Night Live has a good skit, which you can watch on Hulu. I can’t watch since I’m not in the US and am far too lazy to set up a proxy server. Surf The Channel meets all my TV needs, but having Hulu to watch these clips would be nice. I’m still behind on all the good Sarah Palin spoof clips.
Diversity – I miss the diversity of America. I like being able to hear a million different languages from a million different people as I walk through cities. I like being able to get food from all over the world. In Asia, getting good Mexican is not impossible but pretty hard. In Europe, finding good Japanese or Korean food is the same. I’ve yet to be impressed with the Japanese food in New Zealand. Or the Mexican. And what I’d give for some Ethiopian food or a good falafel! Say what you want about America, but the diversity in culture, food, and people is lacking in many parts of the world. We’re a melting pot, and it’s beautiful.
I like going home. It gives me a renewed appreciation for the little things in America I miss. It refreshes my batteries and gives me a break from everything. These things aren’t enough to keep me home forever. No, there’s still too much to see out there—but I sure could use a good movie and some sushi right about now.
For more information on the United States, visit my country and city guides to US travel.