Things I miss about the States/Things I don't

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It’s been four months since the demise of my American Dream, and now that I’m back here in my native land, in this geographically far-flung outpost, I’ve reached a few conclusions about some things. Like about what I miss about the United States:

Some of the people I knew there.

Starbucks!

ALL the dogs I knew there.

Affordable books, CDs, electronics, travel, etc.

The Salvation Army store where I bought second-hand hard covers for A QUARTER.

Starbucksstarbucksstarbucksstarbucksstarbucks...

Inexpensive, super fast and UNCAPPED (as it should be, by human right) broadband internet.

STARBUCKS!

Reliable, fast, safe public transit in places like D.C., Boston, New York City, Portland, Oregon and San Fran where people really do not need to drive.

S*T*A*R*B*U*C*K*S!

Free local calls, which means hours on dial-up internet (if one really have to) without worrying about the phone bill.

Believe it or not, but Network TV. Here we have to pay for the channels that broadcast the same type of shows that one gets for free on American Network TV. Some things do make it onto our free channels, but overall the pickings are rather slim. NOT that I’m addicted to the telly or anything, no way. Oh, and at least Oprah and Dr. Phil are still on the free channels, even though the shows are months old by the time they get here.

Good ol’e garbage disposals. Sure, I may not have cooked in the States, but man, did I have fun trying to see what can/can’t go down the garbage disposal!!!

Heat inside the houses, ‘cause here in South Africa, houses are built mostly for our long hot summers without much thought left for the winters, which seem to be getting increasingly longer and chillier. Just a few weeks ago, the South African Weather Service announced with what seemed to me way too much glee, that after several years of milder than usual winters (for which I wasn’t here), South Africa is in for years of old-fashioned, ice-cold winters. Of course it’s happening now that I’m back! That’s just so TYPICAL of my bleedin’ luck.

I miss how every state seems like a different country, complete with the residents speaking in different accents and possessing different idiosyncrasies.

The general belief and confidence among the American people that nothing is impossible and that anyone can become anything they want to be.

Free coffee in the grocery store while you shop.

Free coffee refills.

Great live music in the most unlikely places.

I miss having people hanging onto my every word simply because of my accent.

Radio stations devoted solely to jazz.

And just in case you didn’t hear me before: S...T...A...R...B...U...C...K...S!

Things I do NOT miss about the States.

Some of the people I knew there.

Bush.

Snow, sleet, ice and brutally cold winters that never ever seem to end.

Daylight Saving Time. Sure, the extended daylight hours are lovely in summer, but I used to hate that they changed the clocks back again in the fall, causing it to go dark before 5 in the afternoons.

Having to deal with the double combo of US Immigration and my Immigration Liar and feeling that my whole life depended on them. I still can’t decide which of the two was worse to deal with. I’ve since reached the conclusion that I’d rather take on Satan himself with my bare hands than having to go through that pain and anguish again.

Feeling cut off from the world because unless you really make an effort to search for news on the internet or have access to BBC, there generally really isn’t much attention given to what’s going on in the rest of the world by the American media, which I think is in large part to blame for why some Americans seem rather ignorant to outsiders.

7 Comments

miked said:

God bless America.... and Canada too :o)

Actually I missed a lot of things about the united states when I left and moved back North of the border too. America has the greatest junk food in the world lol

Karin said:

I missed Starbucks when I left the US ... thankfully I'm in the UK now and I can once again enjoy the caffeine goodness!

kim said:

uh hello, T*A*R*G*E*T. and all those TJ MAXX like stores where you can get cool shit for, like, nothing... free water [+ lemon when you ask] with your meal at a restaurant... olive garden *sigh* and a decent cesar's salad. there are lots of things i miss even though it's been forever since i lived there. of course what i miss most is my man. and i know there would be TONS of things i would miss from germany if would live there. there's no perfect place, you just have to make wherever you "end up" the perfect place for you. so get DSL, red. seriously! :)

martha said:

oh man do I miss you - and this having a job thing SUCKS for my keeping up with my daily blog reading... it's more like weekly or even further apart now. YIKES! Red, what has become of us?

pylorns said:

two muffins are sitting in the oven, one looks to the other and says "damn its getting hot in here." The 2nd muffin looks over and says "holy shit! a talking muffin!"

TimT said:

'Bush' is Australian for forest. Just imagine what fuss the Americans would make if our Prime Minister was called 'Mr John Savannah'. Yeah, we'd never heard the end of it.

There's really no point to that anecdote.

Anthony said:

two biggest things I miss...Smoking bans in restaurants, free water with my meals, and the assumption that someone will hit you if you park in the middle of the street. (yeah, that crazy german woman was both shocked at upset that we clipped her car even though she was parked completely blocking one lane of the road)

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
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comments
  • Anthony : two biggest things I miss...Smoking bans in restaurants, free water with my meals, and the assumptio... [go]
  • TimT : 'Bush' is Australian for forest. Just imagine what fuss the Americans would make if our Prime Minist... [go]
  • pylorns : two muffins are sitting in the oven, one looks to the other and says "damn its getting hot in here."... [go]
  • martha : oh man do I miss you - and this having a job thing SUCKS for my keeping up with my daily blog readin... [go]
  • kim : uh hello, T*A*R*G*E*T. and all those TJ MAXX like stores where you can get cool shit for, like, noth... [go]
  • Karin : I missed Starbucks when I left the US ... thankfully I'm in the UK now and I can once again enjoy th... [go]
  • miked : God bless America.... and Canada too :o) Actually I missed a lot of things about the united states ... [go]
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