Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10 Things I Miss About the USA

Hate to be a day late and a dollar short, but here it is TUESDAY already and I'm just adding my list to the Monday Listicles fest over at The Good Life. Yesterday was a national holiday here in Italy, so I was on vacation, man! Oh well, better late than never and life's too short to sweat the little stuff (since I'm on a roll with the cliches, might as well go with it), so here I am.

This weeks topic is 10 Things I Miss. Since I'm an American living abroad, I thought I'd tell you about the 10 things I miss about the USA.

1.  Easy access to my mom and dad. It's not ideal to be able to get together only once every two years. Not for me, not for them, but especially not for their relationship with my children.

2.  Speaking English all the time freely and without thinking about it. I do speak English quite a bit here, but if I am talking to students I am modulating my speed, my intonation, my choice of vocabulary so as to help them understand me while, at the same time, not talk down to them, ideally using language that is somewhat challenging (to help them learn something new) without overwhelming or discouraging them . . . see how that quickly gets complicated? It's not just talking anymore, it's work.

3.  Adult education. Very little happening here. If I were in the States I'd be taking courses in all kinds of interesting things.

4.  Old-fashioned doughnuts. Especially chocolate!

5.  The Pacific Ocean. I used to live in San Diego, right on the water. The ocean was always an awesome and awe-inspiring source of personal inspiration.

6.  Vast choice of foods from different countries. Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese are the first that come to mind. Italian food is great and all, but variety is the spice of life (today has been officially declared Cliche Day).

7.  California. All of it. From top to bottom. Coast, both north and south. Mountains. Forests. Deserts. Rivers. Lakes. Cities. Small towns. Valleys, both north and south.
All of it.

8.  Ethnic diversity. Where diversity means more than just being from the next town over.

9.  Dressing however I choose. Beautifully, sloppily, vintage, with an odd hat. However I like. Theoretically I could do that here, but I would be quickly labelled "that crazy American lady" and have a hard time keeping friends.

10.  Knowing what to expect and how to do things. Life on auto-pilot. Not having to start from zero all the time or ask someone to help you. This is obviously less of a problem for me now, after having lived here for 19 years, but in the beginning I sometimes felt like I had taken all my "adult" knowledge of how to get around and get things done, which I had acquired over a lifetime, and thrown it out the window, wiped the slate clean and was starting over again as a child who had to learn everything one step at a time.

Of course, there could be equal, or longer, lists of "things I do not miss about the US" or "things that are wonderful about living in Italy" - don't get me wrong!

To see other fun lists like this, head on over to The Good Life. Why not add your own list while you're there?