Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Friday, December 25, 2015

13 Things This American Misses About The US

People always ask me (read: ONE person ONCE asked me) what I miss most about the US. I usually struggled to answer this question, since I hadn't been to US in quite some time. Now that I've come back to the US to visit my parents for Christmas, I can finally put a list together. 

13 Things I miss about the US

Things I miss about the US

1. Parking in front of stores - if you are lucky in Europe, you will get one of the three parking spaces in front of whatever store you like. If not, you need to plan on walking... a lot. Add insult to injury, you have to pay for parking! In the US, almost every store has massive dedicated parking within 100ft of the store's entrance, and it's always free. 

2. Turning right on red - I can't tell you how joyous it makes me to come to a red light, with no one coming in the other direction, and I can make a right-hand turn. Ingenious

 How a rest stop in Europe looks compared to one in the US
How a rest stop in Europe looks compared to one in the US
3. Rest stops on the highway - when you find a nice rest stop in Europe, there is a restaurant/hotel combo, a gas station, and a convenience store. When you find a mediocre rest stop in the US, there are 17 restaurants, three gas stations, a 5-store strip mall, and at least two hotels. 

4. The ability to make a u-turn from a highway - without having to go 120km, before you can make a u-turn, or having to drive in another direction before making a u-turn to come back 120km to take a right hand turn to complete the initial desired u-turn. The point is that you can make an immediate u-turn in the US.

5. Able to turn left at traffic lights - keeping in theme with #4, you have a 95% possibility in the US (except New Jersey) to turn left at a light, and, optimistically, a 12% possibility in Europe. 

6. Gas is cheap - when I hear Americans complaining about $4 per gallon gas, I chuckle, as the cheapest I've seen in Europe is roughly $5 per gallon, and the Europeans are grateful for that.

7. Better Business Bureau – that reassurance that you are going to have good customer service. At a store the other day, someone asked me “Have you been helped, sir?” By reflex, I couldn't think of how to respond, since that sentence doesn’t exist in Europe.

8. No siesta hours for stores - now that I live in Spain, I pretty much just plan to not be able to do anything from 2-4pm. So, being able to go to the store, bank, or hospital, is such a nice thing.

9. Economy sized products in stores - being able to stock up on the high frequency foods that you eat, not only saves you time, but also money. A 240 gram jar of mexican salsa, or any heavily used condiment, is going to be consumed quickly and require another trip to the store; but in the US, I can buy a 7 gallon jar and be happy for months. 

10. $1 menu at fast food - I don't eat very much fast food, and so when I do, I don't like paying a lot of money for it. But, in Europe, it is likely you will pay more than in America, furthermore because of the lack-of, or limitedness, of 1€ menus.

11. Matinee movies - not only do I want to watch a movie earlier in the day, but I'd also like to pay a cheaper price, which is exactly what a matinee is. You have to wait until 4pm to see a movie in Spain, and 6pm in Belgium (from what I remember), and there are no differences in prices.

12. Not bombarded by smoke when leaving the airport (or any building for that matter) - For those who really know me, you'll know this is the most important item on this list. It's like a breath of fresh air... literally! 

13. Over the counter drugs in every store and they’re cheaper - I recently paid 5€ for cough drops in a pharmacy in Spain, since they don't sell them, or any drugs, in normal stores. If you have a headache in Walmart, you can relieve that headache in Walmart. 


14. Sales, discounts, clearance, and saving money is a common thing in the US, especially around holidays. I just bought two pairs of shoes, which normally cost between $99-$130 per pair, for $65 together! In Europe, you have to wait for the special government sanctioned sale period, and the discounts are still not even close to the level in the US.

15. All-in-one stores abound. Again, with the shopping, you can buy everything in one store. Carrefour and a few other stores, try to do the all-in-one, but they just don't do it the way the stores in America do. 

16. Free samples. I've had free samples in Europe and even in Africa. But not like in America. You can literally go into CostCo or a similar store, and eat a full meal, thanks to the many different samples available.

Many of these things I didn't realize I missed until I came back to the US. These items aren't going to make me want to leave Europe to come back to the US, but they will keep me nostalgic. But, of course, after having come back to the US, I have noticed a few things that I don't miss. 

Things I don’t miss from the US

1. Bugs - There are so many bugs in the US, especially in the south. So many bugs! Europe has like 12 bugs on the whole continent. Not 12 types, just 12 in total, and they migrate around so the Europeans can see what an actually bug looks like.

2. People in stores in pajamas - I understand being comfortable, but some pajamas just don't belong outside of the house.

3. People of walmart - this goes inline with the previous one, but NEEDED it's own point. 

What do you think? 

This list is based on my experiences and I'm curious if you agree of disagree. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks for reading! For more fun lists, check out Lists Are Awesome.

(some of the images/videos used in this post are from other sources and not my own)



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