Posted: 01/18/10 | January 18th, 2010
While I love traveling the world, sometimes I miss the little things that make the United States unique and special.
It’s my home and there’s a certain nostogalia for the way you grew up doing things. For the things you get used to doing.
It’s not as if I can’t appreciate cultural differences. That’s why I travel. I love seeing how other cultures do the mundane things I do back at home.
I still love moving around the world and experiencing new things, but, sometimes, I get homsick or frustrated and I long for a little sense of home. Something to make the world seem a bit more comforting.
Here are some of the things I miss about America:
1. 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. I like knowing if I have a cold that somewhere is open for me to get medicine. 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. his is one of the reasons I love Asia so much. There’s no such thing as closing time. Some place is always open for you. 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.
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.
3. 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!
4. 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 (we’re a big market and have a lot of direct flights to 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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.
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.
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