It’s that time of year again where I take my annual trip home. My mother has a rule that I can do as much traveling as I want, as long as come home for a least a couple of weeks a year. I might be 26 years old but I’m not going to argue with my mom on this issue. After spending most of the year living in China and traveling around bits of Southeast Asia, there are an endless number of things I look forward to in America. Here are the top eight (in no particular order)
- Taco Bell. I’ve run into numerous people who do not understand this but I simply don’t understand them. Sure Taco Bell may not have the highest food quality but if you’ve ever had their creamy jalapeño sauce, I don’t know how this wouldn’t be a top thing you missed abroad.
- Public Toilets. My life in China is spent trying to avoid public restrooms for one reason or another. Either they’re squat toilets, there’s no tissue, there’s no where to wash your hands, or they are just horribly disgusting in general. I use to think public restrooms in America were awful but now I quite look forward to using them.
- Grocery Shopping. I love being able to go into one store and find absolute everything on my grocery list. For a single meal, I might have to go to two or three different stores in China to find all the ingredients. Example: to make breakfast I’d have to go to a foreign food store for sausage and baked beans, a local store for tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, and bread, a side shop for genuine yogurt, and one more store for Muesli. That’s hoping that those stores actually have those things in stock that day as well. I love going home to America, making a grocery list, and only going to one shop to get all of them.
- Trash television. Everything I watch in China is either on Netflix or download. It’s great to come home though, turn on the television, and just flip through the channels and watch whatever is on even if it’s garbage. I could do without the commercials though.
- People following traffic laws. Cars are actually driving on the correct side of the road, parking in parking spots, and obeying the rules of the road instead of ignoring traffic signals, parking on the sidewalk, and occasionally going down the opposite side of the street.
- Communicating with people. It’s nice being able to walk into a restaurant, shop, train station, or anywhere and be able to ask people for help or have a conversation. Although, I do often forget this and spend my first week giving people blank stares when they try to talk to me.
- Seeing my friends. Being away for a year makes it feel like everything has changed and everything has stayed the same at the same time. Some of my friends change relationships, get new jobs, get engaged, have kids, move cities, etc. It’s great showing up for a bit though and feeling like you’re picking up right where you left off no matter what life changes have happened.
- Spending time with my mom. I love that when I come home my mom picks me up from the airport, takes some days off of work, and always has something planned she wants to do. It makes coming home feel even more special.
I absolutely adore living abroad and traveling but there will always be something nice about coming home. Luckily, I’m about 3 hours away. So get ready St. Louis! I’m coming home!