5 Things an American Expat Misses From Home
Newsflash: I moved to Germany in September of 2017. Now working on seven months abroad, I haven't been back to the states since I left an old boyfriend in the airport parking lot. Now, I knew I would miss my family and my friends but I wasn't sure what I would miss about the States or American culture upon my departure. Honestly, I didn't think I would miss much.
A lot of my friends abroad say that I'm not exactly what comes to mind when they think of Americans. I imagine that some of the typical stereotypes come to their minds and I guess I am pleased that I don't seem to fit any of those. However, now that some of the newness of my move has worn off I have begun to miss the comforts and familiarity offered by the US. And some of these may just be...stereotypical. How "American" do I sound right now? Hopefully I'm not the only American abroad that misses these things.
Don't tell my hip European friends.
Oh, Target. In the US I had a love-hate relationship with this monster of a super store. You go into Target looking for milk and come out with curtains, a bathroom organizing set, and two new pairs of pants and no idea how you got back to your car. Target is like a black hole. A cheerful, convenient black hole that I miss nonetheless.
Target has everything. Grocery shopping? Go to Target. Need a new sundress? Target. Auto parts? Target. Garden supplies? You get the idea. You don't have to run to 8 different stores to get your errands done like you do here in Germany.
2. Free Soda Refills
Go ahead and laugh. Laugh until you suck down your soda at a restaurant and realize that another one is not coming. Once you're used to free, automatic refills it is hard to slow down. Savor that soda, my friends. But don't expect any root beer any time soon.
3. Stores Open 24/7
Okay so I realize that if you work for a company or store that is open 24/7 it really isn't ideal for you but I mean, this is the definition of convenience. Drunk at 3am? Go to McDonalds! Having a BBQ on Sunday but forgot hot dog buns? Head to Safeway.0
Here in Germany, you better get your shopping and errands done before 7pm on a week day and definitely don't think about going anywhere on a Sunday. If you don't get your shopping done by Saturday afternoon, forget about it. There are no spur of the moment trips to the store.
4. Mexican Food
Mexican food is all over in the US. In the small town of 5,000 that I grew up in, one of the 3 or 4 restaurants I grew up with was Mexican. Ten minutes away in the next town, with even fewer inhabitants, was another Mexican restaurant. On every side of the town I lived in we had Mexican restaurants lining the way. I ate a lot of enchiladas and tacos, let me tell you.
Well, Germany is a bit farther away from Mexico than Washington State. Mexican food here is a bit harder to come by and when you find it, let me tell you, it's not the same. One of the only places we can get Mexican food here in the town I live in is an Irish Pub. I don't understand it either.
5. Having a car
Europe is a land of (for the most part) great public transportation and of a lot of walking. Many people don't have cars or don't use them quite like Americans do. I mean I would spend about 3 hours a day just in my car, every day, when I lived in the US. Now I don't miss the dreadful commute, but I do miss being able to leave whenever I want and not have to worry about missing the regional bus or the city tram. I don't enjoy standing at the bus stop when it is snowing sideways and man, my car really functioned as a second closet when I suddenly didn't feel my outfit anymore.
Now that I have revealed my American insides, I hope there is at least someone who agrees with me on one of these things.