What I Didn’t Know I Love About America

It’s very uncharacteristic of me, but I’ve kept the XM station “The Highway” tuned in my mom’s car, which she’s letting me drive while I’m here. What’s “The Highway,” you ask? It’s country music. ‘Merican country music. Many of the songs are about fishing and/or drinking beer, every third song drops the name of at least Hank, Willie or Cash, and these men sure do love their women. There’s no house music (I’m looking at you, BBC Radio 1), and it’s refreshing. Just twangy folks singing songs with lyrics that mean what they say.

I had never expected to miss country music, which I never listened to anyway. And there seem to be many other things that I never knew I’d miss about America.

I’ll ‘fess up that, yes, I have missed Target since the day we moved into our England house. But you probably knew that. Here are ten additional things I’ve discovered that I love about America now that I’m back for a spell:

  1. Food. Quick service restaurants, Mexican food, Chinese food, variety in food, and vegetables.
  2. Variety. In everything.
  3. Space. Holy moly, there is SO much space here. In the roads, in the parking lots, at each house, at the stores. I will make you get out of the car and let me parallel park if you think you can’t fit.
  4. Order. Here, you stick to the right side of the grocery aisle. There, it’s a big CF, as someone can steer a cart sideways across an aisle to end up exactly in front of the mature cheddar cheese you were aimed for, just like that.
  5. Convenience. 24-hour stores and drive-throughs. Need I say more?
  6. Excessiveness. My mother’s refrigerator is 3x the size of ours. And it’s glorious.
  7. Efficiency. I can fit the equivalent of 6 loads of English laundry into her washer. And the clothes come out of the dryer DRY, in the amount of time it takes my washer/dryer to wash one English load of laundry.
  8. Food samples. A little more specific than “food,” but I had an entire slice of fresh-baked cake at the grocery store the other day. Donut holes. Veggie crisps. Deli meat. Cheese. Wine. Who says it’s a bad idea to grocery shop hungry?
  9. Business-mindedness. As in, I never thought it would be challenging to get someone to take my money as in England. I’ve had people try to talk me out of buying things, stores close early, and I’ve once had a store manager tell me that if something had been tried on before purchase, it’s not their problem if we want to return it. As a marketer by training, I’m regularly baffled.
  10. The land. I grew up next to some dense woods of scraggly trees. The trickle of the creek and the mottled bark of sycamores just feel like home. There are lovely woods and walks where we are in England; they just don’t feel the same. I even miss the sad winter grayish-tan of naked trees, dead grass and long-harvested fields. But only just a little.

It’s hard not to miss what is comfortable and familiar, but I’m really enjoying our time in England so far. Stay tuned to see what I’m discovering I miss most about it now that I’ve been away for a week.

And, tell me: what do you miss most about the last place you lived?

4 thoughts on “What I Didn’t Know I Love About America

  1. That is a nice list.

    I lived in Ames, IA for 4 (ok 5 and a half) years for college. I miss the “small town” feel of <50,000 people when class is in session. It might not feel like a small town to most who go there, but coming from Omaha, it is. (Ames is about as small town as I could tolerate as it still has big town conveniences like not having to drive "into town" for groceries or gas.) Walking just about anywhere you needed to go was a great perk, no worrying about gas, parking or if I had locked my keys in the car.

    I also enjoyed all the free activities that were so readily available as a student. Probably 2-3 times a week I could eat or snack for free, which was great on a student's budget. These are more features of the college than the town, but since the college is half the town's population, they cater to the students pretty well.

  2. Candy, it sounds like Ames is a lot like my hometown. Except I’ve decided my home town is too small to tolerate!

    And, Jenn… I always duck when driving our 4Runner under those max height signs!

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