Americans: what would you miss from home if you moved abroad?

I’ve been discussing this with the better half. She’s moving here at some stage in the near future. I was surprised by the kind of things she said she’d miss. Walmart was one, cheap goods in general was another, more understandable answer. Nigh on everything is significantly more expensive here than in the US. What would you miss? What have you missed? If you’ve never lived abroad what do you imagine you might miss about the US?

Foods are probably a key item. Everywhere I lived overseas had something roughly analogous to Wal*Mart (Real, Tesco, Migros), and I don’t like that place anyway, so it was never something I missed. Beyond that, maybe television programs initially, but one soon grows out of that. Probably some other things you can’t really affect, like weather, indoor malls, etc. FWIW, I had a lot more culture shock coming back than leaving. Everyone handles it differently.

The climate. I’d have a hard time finding a climate I’d like. The climate of the Middle East or Northern Africa would be appealing, but I’m not sure I’d like much else about those areas. Parts of Spain, Italy, and Greece would probably be acceptable.

American hamburgers. Actually American bacon cheese burgers. Fast food burgers are not what I mean either.

Southern cuisine, particularly barbecue, fired okra and onion rings.

My wife is originally from the US, and though she finds that many things here in Canada are acceptable substitutes, she still misses some things we just can’t seem to create substitutes for. Candy is often cited; she misses her Red Vines and Mounds candy bars, and Good 'n Plenty. She also misses certain kinds of Pop-Tarts. Fortunately, she gets a “Care Package” of American treats from a friend of hers every Christmas. If I’m lucky, she shares. (I find that I really like $100,000 Bars!)

You don’t have those candies in Calgary? That’s so said for being so close. Now that it’s Halloween I’ve eaten a couple bags of Mounds.

I’ve lived abroad, and I missed Mexican food most of all. Little candy things, the sort of thing you never really think about and then you get a craving for, say, a Peppermint Patty and ARGH there aren’t any Peppermint Pattys in this country! I spent a couple weeks craving Cherry Coke last year. I hardly ever even drink Cherry Coke, but I had got it into my head that I wanted some.

I missed good customer service and food delivery and English-language books and newspapers and reliable internet and insulation and modern heating and washing machines and stationary and Indian food and people who weren’t constantly on my case about getting married hey you should marry my son he’s got a great job he’s a bus driver!

But I suspect you have all of those things in Dublin. It was my own dumb fault for living in the rural Balkans in the first place.

I came home craving sweetened iced tea.

I would miss college football and Maker’s Mark whiskey. I think I could find a suitable substitute for everything else.

I drink Maker’s Mark. It’s expensive enough but not hard to find.

Smoke-free interiors. California outlawed smoking indoors* years ago, I don’t even know how long but more than 13. As newlyweds, my husband and I took a trip to the UK, and we loved it, but people kept smoking inside! Blargh! This happened in New York too, and it was even worse there. CA smoking laws are kind of fascist but at least I can breathe.

Also, drinkable tap water, but that’s because we were in London. Denmark’s tap water is just fine.

Mexican food. I could happily live on Mexican food (with curry once a week or so).

*Of course I mean in public places.

I miss, here in Okinawa, being able to just have friendly conversations with random people. When I go to a store, I can’t have a bit of friendly banter with the cashiers, and it makes me feel un-at-home. I can speak a touch of Japanese, but very few people here speak a word of english (or at least are willing to). I miss being able to read the signs and feeling like part of a community. I’m from the South, what can I say?

I miss being able to find clothes that fit. The average waist size on women’s pants here is 22". I’m a size 6, and NOTHING fits. Plus they have a truly bizarre fashion sense here.

Probably none of this will apply to Ireland, but that’s what I miss.

Edited to add: and Mexican food. It’s a good thing I can cook.

Ireland has been smoke-free indoors for a number of years now. I think the UK has also followed suit as has much of Western Europe. The last place I visited with indoor smoke was Germany but I believe that might have been outlawed by now.

Blueberries seem to be dangerously lacking in many parts of the world.

The American supermarket. Specifically, the 2000 square feet of produce I can buy…any type of fruit or vegetable, in season or out…

I’m never leaving California.

When I lived in Colombia, I missed:

reliable telecommunications
reliable power service
cold water at noon to take a cold shower
good news radio
good Thai, Chinese, Mexican, and Indian food
interesting TV (except for “Betty La Fea”–the inspiration for “Ugly Betty”)
a reliable postal service

But a lot of things made up for these wants.

California outlawed public smoking on January 1, 1998.

Well then, if my Auburn Tigers would move to Ireland, I’d be heading your way. My great grandpa came over here from Ireland, sometime around 1860.

No way. In bars, maybe, but I’m sure smoking in restaurants has been banned longer than that. Maybe it was a local restriction? I guess I’ll look it up…

ETA: Wow, that was easy. Thanks, Wikipedia!