Living Abroad

Things You Are Going to Miss If You Leave the United States

By Magalí Zaslabsky

If you’ve read my previous post, “Thing You Are Going to Miss If You Move to the United States,” you know I shared some of the things that I miss right now as I’m living in the U.S. But despite being natural that I would miss things that I’m used to, there are also some great things about this country that I will definitely miss if I ever leave:

  • Comfort and Convenience

I know I have complained about the car culture, but sometimes it can be quite nice and convenient being able to drive somewhere in your pajamas without having to leave the car. 

I’m not a fan of not having any option but to drive to a place, but it’s quite convenient to be able to use a “drive-thru” or driving your own car home after work. I am an advocate of public transportation, but cars are very comfortable, aren’t they?

And convenience is not just about cars. You can do many things from home, by phone or with the internet. In Spain, where I lived (or even South Korea where I was limited because of the language) services like the bank or mail were things that I had to do in person. Here there are many easy ways to do a lot of things from the comfort of your own home. 

And, of course, 24-hour shops! This is also very convenient. Imagine it’s 2 am and you run out of flour for the cupcakes you are making… okay, that doesn’t happen very often to most of us, but how wonderful is it to always have a 24-hour supermarket that sells everything you can possibly need?

  • Road Trips

If I ever leave the U.S. I will most certainly miss the road trip culture. You can travel by car in other places, but if you have done a road trip here, you know what I mean when I say this is a unique experience. 

This country’s infrastructure is designed for people to be able to drive everywhere. And also, the distances are so huge, that there are very few places that can compare. Last spring break, we did a road trip from Alabama to Texas, and on the way back I noticed that the Interstate Highway 10, that goes from El Paso to the Louisiana border in Texas, has an exit number 880. Each exit marks the mile you are on that state’s strip of the highway. That means, that ONLY in the state of Texas, Highway I-10 has 880 miles (1400 km)!! 

That gives you an idea of how huge this country is. You can be driving for hours without seeing anyone, or find yourself in an extreme other-worldly landscape. It’s truly a wonderful experience! 

Dairy Queen

During my first trip to the U.S. we drove from Austin, TX to Yellowstone National Park and tried every hamburger chain possible (or almost). There were many motels, fast food chains and road-side attractions. It was three full days on the road on the way there. 

  • Positivity

In general, it’s nice to live in a place where people are friendly and positive. This is mostly something positive about Americans (sorry for the redundancy). What I don’t like is how people can be so positive that they are unable to say when something bothers them or they disagree with you. When you ask an American, ‘how are you doing?’ they will always (or almost always) say “good,” even when they aren’t (at least here in the South). 

Having a positive mind is something that I have learned to appreciate in the U.S., at least compared to continental Europeans, who love to complain. 

  • Initiatives & Opportunities

This is something that I think that helps explain the myth of the American dream. Americans have initiative, and that makes them innovative, open to change, and always looking for a better opportunity. 

Everything that I’m writing here is probably exaggerated, but as a generalization they are true. Americans do have initiative, as well as resources in many cases to pursue those initiatives. This can take the form of business entrepreneurship, creating a job opportunity, or opening your own club at the university. There is room for initiative and original ideas. 

And this brings me to the opportunities. This is the land of opportunities, isn’t it? That doesn’t mean that you are going to get that opportunity, or even that it’s good for you, but there are many opportunities for everyone here! From jobs to volunteer experiences, this is definitely something to appreciate here. 

  • Everything is Available

Abundance. That’s the word I would use to describe the United States. There is a lot of everything, and that can be really overwhelming. I remember the first time I went to an American supermarket in 2016, and I was very overwhelmed by all the options. 

And I think I am still not used to it now. I handle it better. Sometimes I like to go to the supermarket and find something that I didn’t even know existed. 

Here you can find everything you can possibly want (or almost). If I want to bake, Michael’s has every Wilton baking product that I could possibly need. If I want to throw a party, Party City has every color and themed balloon/confetti/paper cup you can possibly imagine, and more. And so on! 

If I ever leave, I will make sure to come back often enough to get the best out of this country, to do a road trip, to buy things that I can only find here and enjoy the opportunities available.  

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