Sunday, February 20, 2011

5 Things I Miss About America

Cue the music from West Side story! It's true I am one of those crazy Americans who admits that some countries are superior to us in some ways. But I do love my home nation, and some times I miss things about it! Mainly, I miss my mother but she's only a phone call a way. Here is a list of things that this expat misses about the "home of the free and home of the brave".

1. Ice and Free Refills
We take for granted our massive size beverages and our unlimited refills. Refills are something you have to pay for in other countries. I miss this thing the most! Sometimes you just want an unlimited cup of coffee and although there are certain specialty resteraunts who offer this it's not nearly as awesome as the bottomless coffee at the Waffle House for 99 cents. Water is heated in China at most resteraunts and served warm. It's a throw back to the Victorian Era where all water had to be boiled because of dysentery and people still drink hot water with their meals today because it became traditional. Hot Water also aids in digestion and flushes out bacteria according to Chinese Medicine, so sometimes if you're wanting a cheap eat it's really difficult to get a glass of ice water on a hot day!

2. Large Sizes
Everything in America is bigger. Our cars, our clothes, our asses. So imagine being 6 foot tall in China with a pretty decent set of boobs. It's gets to be difficult to find pants, shoes or bras. I have to have my mother mail me clothes sometimes because it's cheaper and easier to have her buy things at the Sock Shoppe in Griffin, GA for discount and then mail it to me rather than have me go to Marks and Spencers to buy underwear. It's really the only store in HK that carries bras and tights that fit a girl my size. I wish I was tiny asian sized and could shop for clothes in the ladies markets in Mong Kok as the discounts are plentiful. Unfortunately, my boobs and hips don't allow this! My roomie Michael has it much worse, he can't buy shoes at all here due to his size 14 feet. He has to have his shoes custom made.

3. Target- The Super Store
I love and miss the Target Superstore. I miss the act of going to a store and being able to buy everything in one place. In HK everything is separated. If you want clothes you go to Mong Kok, Kitchen stuff you go to Jordan, Computer stuff you go to Sham Shui Po. You can't do a one stop shop any where in HK. For a person who was used to the uber convenience of the super store it can get annoying. Also there is only one place to buy in bulk in HK. I miss being able to buy large things I don't really need in bulk for a discount rate.

4. Coffee
The coffee in HK sucks, period. There are very few locally owned coffee shops and the coffee sold in stores is of poor quality for the most part and expensive. I have had to become a Starbucks patron since moving here despite the fact I prefer to go for locally run businesses. I have my mother ship me coffee from the states because I'm a coffee snob. Coffee creamer here (the small bottle) which runs for 2 dollars in a US grocery store goes for 40HK which is about 8US after exchange. The mark up on coffee related products is huge because they know that 90% of coffee drinkers are expats. The coffee was better in Taiwan!

5. Magazines
English newspaper and magazines are available in Hk, don't get me wrong. But they are more expensive. The South China Morning Post is the best English Newspaper in HK and we have local news magazines: BC, HK magazine and Timeout HK. But I miss being able to cruise down at a coffee shop with a pile of trashy magazines. Tabloid culture is still here in HK but it's done in Chinese and the English tabloids are really expensive here. I only allow myself to buy them when I take an airplane trip- other wise I force myself to use online tabloids. We all have guilty pleasures- Trashy Tabloids and Food Network are MINE!

NEXT: Reasons to live in a foreign country

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