It feels so good to be back in America! There were so many things we missed during our time abroad so now that I’m home, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I am positively giddy about having the following things at my fingertips again.
Top 10 Things I’m Happy to Have Now That We’re Home
- Clothes Dryer. Nobody knows how to dry clothes like us Americans. Sure we had a tiny clothes dryer in Thailand (in the kitchen which vented into the kitchen) but in Spain, Turkey and the rest of Europe, we had to line dry everything. This meant planning around the weather to get laundry done and only being able to do 1 (small) load a day because it’d take all day (and sometimes overnight) to dry plus there wasn’t enough clothesline to dry more than that. I was astounded to return to the US, put in a monster load of laundry and have the entire thing washed, dried and folded in 2 hours!
- Fast casual food (i.e. Pei Wei, Chipotle, Panera). This is one thing we never really found anywhere abroad. There are fast food places (usually American brands like McDonald’s) or street food stalls and there are sit down restaurants, but we didn’t find many fast casual type places where you order from a counter, get your food within minutes, it’s well priced, tastes good and is overall a fast meal.
- Huge grocery stores. I miss my big grocery stores. I’m always in awe when I visit a Wegman’s near my old house in Virginia. We didn’t even have anything that big, good and comprehensive in Hawaii so it’s always a treat to visit my old shopping grounds and to be able to get everything I could want under 1 roof.
- Food variety. We love variety in our food choices and were very spoiled in Virginia with having every cuisine nearby. This was actually the biggest issue in Spain and Turkey where the variety was pretty much the local food, pizza or McDonald’s. Our first week back was spent eating Thai, Indian, American, Mexican, and pretty much every other genre of cuisine. Yum!
- Showers. Oh how we missed the American showers. They’re big, have great water pressure, there is enough hot water that all 4 of us can shower back to back and not run out! Simply divine. Neither Chuck nor I wanted to get out of the shower our first week back.
- Drinkable tap water that also tastes good. I drink probably close to a gallon of water a day which is a pain in the rear when you can only drink bottled water. In Turkey, we used to walk to the local corner store, and carry home 5 gallon bottles every other day. In Thailand, we couldn’t even use the local tap water to cook so that meant bottles of water for all cooking. At least there it was delivered and cheap. And of course, this also meant paying for bottled water at every meal we ate out. In the US they bring water and refill it for free!
- Free Refills – especially of coffee! To follow on from the water item, it’s nice here that not only is the water free, but you get free refills of it, coffee, and other drinks.
- Decent coffee. I think we got spoiled by living in Kona and drinking so much Kona coffee, but nobody does a morning cup of coffee like us Americans.
- American breakfast. I love American breakfast. Eggs, bacon, pancakes and waffles. That’s what I want when I wake up. However, many places serve something entirely different and I just could never get into bread, lunch meats, smoked salmon and tea for breakfast.
- Toilets. Probably one of the best things about being home: Western toilets. You can sit on them, there is toilet paper, and you can actually flush the toilet paper instead of putting it in a little trash bin. There is no longer a need to carry TP around because you never know when you’ll come across a squat toilet and need some TP. The little things.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the diversity of traveling and doing things a different way. But since I grew up in America, there are some strong American things I’m used to that I missed.
It’s definitely good to be home!