If you've lived abroad or if you've spent significant time traveling to other countries, you've probably noticed some major differences from life back home. So, I rounded up some responses from the subreddit r/expats. Here are some things that Americans living abroad seriously miss about the US.
1."As an American living in Australia, I miss the huge variety in the supermarkets and other shops. It's not that there's no variety here, but it's just not on the scale of the US. We went to the US recently, and the kids had a blast just walking through a grocery store and seeing the choices."
2."American cinema. In the states, movies are available to watch as soon as they are released. But living abroad, I have to wait three to six months to see them."
3."American dining hours. When I was working in Spain, it really annoyed me that there were so few restaurants open before 8 p.m. or so for dinner. I was hungry and didn’t like finishing dinner at 11 p.m. Also, very few stores were open on Sunday."
4."I miss the directness of American relationships. In the US, there's a general attitude that if you don’t like something, it’s okay to say so. I live in Mauritius now, which is an island in the Indian Ocean. If I'm hosting a dinner and ask my guests if beef is okay, my friends will say yes regardless of whether or not they eat beef, and then, I’ve got to figure out if it's true based on a lot of intuitive cues that I don’t know how to read properly. I know they’re trying to avoid offending me, but I wish they’d believe me when I tell them I just want an honest answer so I can cook something they'll enjoy."
5."IHOP, where you can get a good breakfast anytime of day. I live in Australia, and places here might do eggs and toast (and maybe some bacon if you're lucky), but hash browns, pancakes, waffles, and sausage are pretty much unknown here."
6."Taco Bell. I finally found one in Bangkok, and I almost exploded with joy. Turns out, they don't have refried beans here, which was weird, but I still ordered $40 worth of food."
7."Costco. I live in Paris, and I have been dreaming of going to the one Costco here for over a year now. I can't wait to get my gallon-size anything and those hot dogs!"
8."I moved to England, and I desperately miss Kraft mac & cheese. You've never lived abroad if you haven't smuggled a whole suitcase of the stuff home with you."
9."Americanized Chinese food, and specifically east coast Chinese food. Stuff like General Tso's chicken, egg rolls, egg drop soup, oily, soy-sauce-laden lo mein, beef and broccoli, and fortune cookies. Funny enough, this stuff doesn't exist in Asia. I was so happy to see that an American Chinese restaurant opened in Shanghai, but it closed down."
10."I’m from Connecticut and have been living in England for a couple of years. For me, it’s classic New England fall foods like apple cider donuts and pumpkin-flavored everything. That stuff is a very American concept."
11.I missed the ambition. In the US, people work so hard compared to people in some parts of the world. We get knocked for it, but Americans want to do a job well, earn more money, and rise in their status or profession. And while that can have all kinds of negative effects, it can also have amazing ones. When I lived in the Caribbean, I noticed society suffered from a lack of ambition. Bus drivers wouldn’t show up to work, workers wouldn’t do a thing all day, the lights would go out, the cars wouldn’t get fixed, and on and on and on. I missed the feeling of a hustle."
12."As an American living in Japan, I miss wide open spaces. Japan has parks and nature, but there’s something about the vast untouched wildness of the US that I miss greatly. I want a nice big American house with a yard for my pets, a long driveway away from the street, and trees — I miss my giant oak trees.
13."American fast food. I live in Switzerland, and I can hop in a car, and within an hour, I'll find ridiculously good and authentic Italian food in Italy or French food in France. But I never thought I'd miss random fast food items so much. I'm always triggered when I see TV ads. For example: I love Burger King's Angry Whopper, so when it was being offered, I had an urge to fly to the US just to try it. Luckily, it eventually made its way to Europe, but the majority of these fast food items never do."
14."Being able to watch live sports at a reasonable hour. All Super Bowls, playoff games, and big title games start after 2 a.m. local time for me. I've watched only one Super Bowl real-time since I've moved to Europe (which is when my Eagles won). On the flip-side, I get to watch all the Champions League matches at a reasonable hour, so that's pretty cool."
15."American junk food, like the millions of flavors of Lays chips available in the US and Hot Cheetos. I miss sugary drinks and cereals, though I rarely consumed them back when I lived in the states. Now, I would love to have all the options again. The international section at my local grocery store just started selling boxes of Lucky Charms...for $15."
16."When I was living in Eastern Europe for nine months, one of the things I missed most was authentic Mexican food. I craved good rice, beans, guacamole, and all that stuff. It was impossible to find a decent version of it."
17."Just the whole American culture of convenience. In the states, it feels like everything happens so quickly. Checkout lines are seldom full, I can pick up a new bank card on the same day I order it, stores are open every day for long hours, and there are quite a few 24-hour options. In Germany, things are very different. For instance, of course grocery stores aren’t open every day because people need days off. But when I realize I'm out of something on a Sunday, I really wish I could pop into the closest Walmart."
18."Access to all types of produce, even when it's out of season. In the states, you can get almost any fruits or vegetables you want at any time of year. You don't have to think of seasons. Things are obviously higher quality and slightly less expensive in season, but if I want something specific, I can get it 365 days a year. This was not the case when I lived in Japan, where the selection was strictly seasonal."
19."Spicy food. French people freak out at the hint of cayenne in a sauce or something. I'm not even talking about extremely spicy stuff, but they don't even enjoy a little kick to make dishes interesting. Even the sub-par 'Mexican' food here lacks the slightest bit of heat to it. It's depressing."
20."American urgency. I lived in southeast Asia for close to a year. The biggest thing I missed was American efficiency. There was no sense that jobs required any urgency or speed whatsoever, particularly customer service jobs. I missed this!"
21."I lived in London for a couple of months, and what I missed most was good 'ol greasy, fatty food. Nothing compares to a juicy American burger with a big side of fries smothered in ketchup or BBQ sauce with a large drink. Or, even better, nice BBQ chicken wings with tater tots. You just can't find the same level of greasy food here."
22."Walmart. Outside of the US, it's impossible to find the miscellaneous things I might need (sewing tape, swim bottoms, paint, sandals, etc.) all in one place. I never, ever thought I'd say I want to go to Walmart, but right now, I'd give anything to walk into a 24-hour Wally World, pick up my few items, and walk out with them all within 10 minutes."
23."24-hour diners. I moved to Iceland from Chicago, and this is what I miss most. Diners may not have the best food, but it doesn't matter because they're always open, and the coffee is always flowing."
24."American optimism. It's not a physical thing, but America has a sense of optimism you don't often feel in Europe. I've lived in both Europe and North America, and there is something in the air in the US that instills a 'go for it' attitude in people. I found that in the EU, the idea of doing something risky on your own immediately leads people to think there's no way it will work out."
25."Great international food. Most mid-size towns in the middle of nowhere USA boast better Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern food than what you'll find in most European capitals."
26."Dipping sauce and condiments. We are spoiled by so many kinds in the US. I went to a burger place in Italy, and they didn’t even have ketchup — only olive oil and balsamic everywhere I went. I was really looking forward to going home to some good ol' BBQ, ranch, honey mustard, and buffalo sauces."
If you're an American who has lived or spent significant time abroad, what's something you have really missed about the US? Tell us in the comments.