Ten USA Things I Miss When Abroad
I’m always asked, “What do you miss from home?”
Well I just got back to the USA last week. Somehow it’s easier to think of what you miss when you get back, I think because you start to crave them! The list are the things I miss. (Note: My family and friends are things I always miss, even when I’m in the US and not near them, so they’re excluded from the list.)
10. Snyder’s of HanoverPretzels.
I love these things, and love them even more with an ice-cold coke. I take the box and smash them into bite-sized pieces before eating! Thanks to everyone who knows i love these things: they often hit someone’s shopping list before I arrive (and my sister brought a box to me in Bali!). :)
9. Free Refills on Soda
Can you believe that in the rest of the world you have to pay for each soft drink you consume? Coke has been my favorite since I was about 12 years old, after 3-4 years as a misguided Pespi fan.
Coke isn’t terribly cheap abroad either: it’ll cost between $.50 and $1.00 for a bottle (preferred) or can (becoming more common sadly) of Coke. And no refill! So if you’re thirsty for a McDonalds Super-Sized-like quantity, it might cost ya almost $3.00! Should we really be drinking all that sugar? Probably not, so this might not be so bad.
Abroad Plus: Coke abroad is made with real sugar instead of the diabetic inducing unnatural “high fructose corn syrup.” Some folks say Mexican Coke made with sugar tastes better but it’s failed blind taste tests (the good results are at the end), so it might be a novelty effect. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
8. Unlimited Nights and Weekends on Cell Phone Plans
Doesn’t exist abroad. Calling in most countries is somewhat expensive, and certainly expensive when you consider local incomes. Fifteen cents a minute in the US isn’t terrible but for someone who makes $150 a month? Thats a lot. Then again, to get free ULNWEs here you have to have a contract, which I’m not usually around long enough to get.
Foreign plus: Costs me only 1-cent a minute to call the USA from Indonesia!
7. Hoppy Beer
Unless you’re in Europe, you’re gonna get all pilsner all the time. And hopefully its cold. Sometimes I’d die for a great Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
6. A Good 100% USDA American New York Strip Steak
Just can’t get a good steak on the road. Sure, you can pay $$ and visit an upscale steakhouse but it just isn’t the same. Nothing beats when NY strips are on-sale for $4.99 a pound, and ya can fire up the BBQ with charcoal and enjoy the steaks with a bottle of wine (I didn’t even mention missing cheap USA wine, thank you California!).
5. How Cheap “Stuff” Is in the US
Food abroad at the market is almost always cheaper than at home. But electronics? Appliances? No way. The USA is about as cheap as it gets for anything you’d buy at Target or Walmart. Is it cheaper to bring all this stuff from home? In almost all cases, yes it is! On top of all that, you get a return policy, warranties, and a no-hassle shopping experience.
4. Flushing Toilet Paper
Abroad, ya toss it in the bin. Here, flush away! Stupid and silly? Yup, but I’m an ex-TP engineer, right?
3. Being In The Same Time Zone as the USA
When I’m in Bali, I’m 11 or 12 hours different than the USA. Makes talking with people at home tough. Noon for someone is midnight for the other. 6pm=6am? Not good. 11pm=11am? That works on weekends. You get the idea: it’s always a weird time for someone. Technology is great but it can’t fix time changes.
I love fall. My favorite season. I’m sure it exists elsewhere but not in the tropics. A good excuse to visit home, for sure!
1. NFL Football
Ah football! The internet is getting better and you can stream more games. It wasn’t good enough in Bali last year but was more than good enough in Guatemala. But you’re back to the time difference. A 1pm EST starting game is 1am for ya. 4pm EST = 4am Bali. So it isn’t the same. You can “tape” the games but can’t switch between games and certainly need to avoid the Net and Facebook ’till you’ve watched them.
0. Hot Showers
You want cold showers? You can have them! I miss hot showers more than anything when I’m traveling. Yes hot water can be had, but it’ll cost you, the hotels with hot water are at least double the cheapie cold-water ones.
Cold is a relative term – cold in the tropics is probably water at 80F. We all grew up having “hot” showers at 95F. It’s a tough thing to step down. Sometimes, when it’s 95F out, you don’t mind so much jumping into a “cold” shower. Sometimes. Most of the time, I miss the hot showers. When I’m home, I cherish them. Enjoy your hot showers. It’s one of the pleasures of life. A totally unnecessary, hedonistic, and blissful pleasure.
Other things I miss too: Twizzlers, Subway sandwiches (especially the Cold Cut Combo, which has such wickedly unhealthy processed meat that most other countries don’t sell it!) and sandwiches in general. America, you are the number one sandwich maker in the world!