Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Things I Miss about America

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that my pictures haven't been of Shanghai lately. For the past three weeks, I've traded noodles and chopsticks for bagels and beer. That's right, I'm on summer vacation in the good ole U.S. of A.


And while it took me a few days to adjust back to life in the US, I was quickly reminded of why I am proud to call this country home. Sure, it could have been all the fireworks and Independence day fanfare, but I found myself feeling a little more patriotic than usual this visit. So with that feeling of pride still pulsing through my veins, here are five things I miss most about America (other than my family and friends of course).


1. Driving. In Shanghai, it's fairly easy to get around by jumping on the metro, hailing a cab, or calling our driver. (Have I mentioned we have a driver? Before you conjure up images of a white gloved chauffeur opening the door of a town car for me, please know that our driver wears soccer jerseys and drives a minivan.) But I forgot just how convenient it is to have a car. In the US, I can simply walk into the garage and hop in my car (or rather my parents' car since I sold mine) and drive the the short mile to the grocery store instead of walking it. It's an amazing feeling to be able to go where you want, when you want to.


2. The food. Especially the cheesy kind. I made a list of foods I wanted to eat while in the US and have been slowly gnawing away at it. I've also gained an average of .5 lbs per day while here. Whoops. With pizza like this from the legendary Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, I doubt my diet will start anytime soon.


3. Magazines. I am well aware I can get digital subscriptions to almost everything I want to read these days. But there is something so satisfying about flipping through the pages of your favorite rag. Or ripping out a recipe to save for later (which I then shove into a drawer and never look at again until I declare the office is a mess and recycle said recipe from that magazine that I just had to have because I might want to make a goat cheese and leek tort the next time I host Easter brunch). And while there is a small selection of very expensive magazines at the international grocery store in Shanghai, I love being able to walk into even a small gas station and know my addiction to celebrity gossip can be instantly satisfied.

4. Restaurant Service. Tipping doesn't exist in China. At first, this seemed like the best thing ever. When my bill came for 20 rmb, I knew that was exactly what I would be spending. But what I failed to realize at the time is that with tipping comes better service. When a waiter gets paid the same amount even if they ignore you and forget to bring you a drink after asking eight times, tipping starts to seem like a better idea. I haven't even had to ask for my bill once, something I've come to expect at every meal in Shanghai.

5. Blue skies. Thanks to the abundance of pollution and Shanghai's proximity to the sea, I've spent the past 18 months with drab grey skies. But every day in the US, I've been greeted with this

and this

and this

I think it's rather clear that I've had a great few weeks in the US. And while I'll obviously miss all of the things I outlined above, I'm ready to return home to Shanghai. Because sometime over the last year and a half, that is what Shanghai has become. My home. So while I may not love the lack of cheese and table service, there are countless other things I do love about Shanghai. But that's a post for another day. For now, I'm happy to spend one last night with my family, breathing in the fresh air, and reading the latest on the royal baby (of all the names, George?!?!).

1 comment:

  1. I still can't wait until your "home" is 6 hours away by car and not 17 by plane.


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