5 Things We Miss From America
Comfort foods? Cereal? Costco? Here are the things we crave most from home that you probably wouldn't expect.
Truthfully? There is not a whole lot we miss about America! Living overseas, we have been able to experience so many unique adventures, try delicious international food, and live on about half of the budget we had in the U.S.. We wouldn't trade it for the world!
That said, as Fourth of July draws near, we can't help think of a few of the things we wished we had here in Asia that many Americans simply take for granted...
Says the book lover, of course. But truly, libraries are something I definitely took for granted back at home. Not only do you have so. many. books. and DVD's available (for free...and in English!), but libraries usually have such wonderful activities for kids. You'd better believe that one of the first things we'll do when we come back to the States to visit family is take my toddler to Story Time at the library! And while we're there, we'll stock up on NEW books to read. (There are no public libraries in our city and books in English are not widely available in stores, so we've been reading my daughter the same two dozen books for the last few months. We can't wait to add some different stories into the mix. And of course, in actual book form...kids books on Kindle just aren't the same #limitscreentime).
Again, something I've always taken for granted - a clean, green, public park with a playground for kids. Simple enough, right? Well, here in Asia, nice parks seem to be a rarity. Don't get me wrong...there ARE parks here, but in our city, they tend to be pretty...um...gross. I wouldn't dare let my daughter play on the playground, as the swings and jungle gyms are always rusty and often missing rungs. Sandboxes, if there are any, tend to be a hangout for snakes (we just saw a warning sign posted on a sandbox here last week!). And in general, these parks just aren't very pretty - the grass is brown, they aren't well maintained, and often there is no place to sit (sometimes there are benches, but these too are often rickety to the point where they just don't feel safe to sit on). What I CAN say about Asia is that there are suprisingly many indoor play spaces for kids (in malls, and even in restaurants...think similar to a McDonalds playplace, but usually bigger). While those are fun, you also have to spend money every time you want to go to one (whereas parks are generally free back at home!). Needless to say, we'll be going to a lot of parks on our next visit to the U.S. too!
3. Clothes That Actually Fit Us
Hubby and I are both pretty tall (he's 6' 2" and I'm 5'10") and here in Thailand, people generally...aren't. Believe it or not, there are MANY Western stores here (our local mall has stores like H&M, Addidas, LaCoste, etc), but the problem is, the sizes they stock are still too small for us. While I'm a size 8 in the U.S., here, I nearly burst into tears as I tried on a pair of XXL shorts that were too tight on me! Thankfully, having traveled and lived in Asia in the past, I knew that this would be a thing. We stocked up on lots of summer shoes and clothing before our move here, so that helped. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to gain a little weight and not be able to fit into some of the pieces I brought! So now I'm a little stuck as far as getting new clothing goes. Thankfully, I have been able to buy a few pieces second-hand from others in the expat community here. I've made a note to buy lots of extra summer clothes (in various sizes) the next time I get to Target!
4. Amusement Parks
Growing up, one of the main things my family did on vacation every summer was go to amusement parks. Disney, Universal, Six Flags, Hershey Park...you name it. It's probably no secret that 'Merica knows how to do amusement parks - big, flashy attractions and adventures for thrill-seekers of all ages. Since it feels perpetually like summer here in Thailand, it feels weird to be without the opportunity for a little holiday of riding roller coasters. There are water parks here in Thailand (I'll review a few when we visit), but nothing compares with a U.S. water or amusement park #alreadyplanningaDisneytrip
Speaking of perpetual summer, seems like a good thing, doesn't it? Personally, I think my Mom would love it (she'd move to Florida in a heartbeat if my Dad were to agree...). But the reality of living here is that having just one season gets pretty old pretty quickly. About a month after we arrived, there was a day that was 112 degrees fareinheit! Although it isn't that hot all the time, it is typically in the 90's every. single. day. And as people who love outdoor activities (we'd be hiking, swimming, boating, etc if we were at home for Fourth of July weekend), it's not so fun to feel like you can't even enjoy going outside because it's just too hot. I know that this feeling will probably intensify as we move into autumn and winter, and celebrate holidays without beautiful foliage and deliciously cold snow. Sigh...
So, there you go...our "Miss America" list (cheesy Mom joke, sorry!). Thankfully, we're already planning to come back to the States about once a year to visit friends and family, so missing out on these few things is definitely not something we stress/grieve over often. And of course, there are sooooo many amazing things about living here in Thailand and I'm grateful that we have such an amazing opportunity to raise our daughter in a place like this. I'll be writing about all the "Pros" of living cross-culturally in upcoming posts. #ExpatLife really is wonderful :)