1. Eggo Waffles.
And Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix. And Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. And Domino’s. And Dunkin’ Donuts. And being able to ask for extra butter popcorn when you go to the movies… (The list of unhealthy, high calories foods I miss is endless.)
2. Barnes and Noble
Yes, this is without a doubt what heaven looks like. I could spend an eternity in there and never get bored. I wouldn’t even have to worry about food, because they even come with a Starbucks.
3. Public libraries with all kinds of books
I read all the Sweet Valley High and The Baby-sitters Club books thanks to my local public library, which probably saved my parents a lot of money.
4. European stores like Sephora and Ikea
Instead of Sephora, all we have here in Argentina are beauty department-esque stores with sale ladies whose eyebrows go higher and higher with each new fragrance you ask to try on. If looks could kill… what a nasty glare you get when you tell them you won’t be purchasing anything (in the meantime, you’re thinking about which one of your acquaintances will be traveling soon and will be able to buy the chosen perfume for you at a much cheaper price).
And I bet you didn’t know that fashionable furniture stores in some parts of the world where Ikea doesn’t exist actually sell copies of the Lack table at shocking lyhigh prices, as if it were God’s send to mankind. Come on, you can’t fool me; I know that piece of garbage costs $6 somewhere else.
5. BBQ Ribs and Cheeseburgers
We have great meat in Argentina, but Americans definitely kick our asses when it comes to marinating and saucing it. I also miss ordering a milkshake to drink with my cheeseburger and not seeing judgment in the waiter’s eyes.
6. Free tap water at restaurants
If you want water in other countries, you’re going to have to pay for mineral water, even if you’ve already ordered wine and sodas.
7. Cherry Blossoms and Fall Foliage
No explanation needed here.
8. American highways
And the sound the cement makes. You don’t hear it when your routes are paved with tar.
9. Jeans that come in different lengths and bras that have different cup sizes
You have no idea how difficult your life becomes when (i) you can’t use your brand new jeans until you’ve paid someone to shorten them for you because you’re useless with a needle and thread, and (ii) you have to buy bras made by sadists who only consider band sizes and not cup sizes.
10. Holiday and the “it’s not a holiday but let’s celebrate anyway” festivities, décor, merchandise
New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s, Easter, Arrival of Spring, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, you name it. There’s always something to celebrate and marketing geniuses make the most of it.
11. End of the year and mid-year sales, final clearances, BOGO Free, BOGO 50% Off, etc.
Ahhh, American consumerism at its best. When you live in a country where 50% off is a rarity, you really can’t understand why Americans would buy anything at full-price when they always have some sort of sale just around the corner.
12. Return policies that include refunds
I think the only store that has a refund policy in Argentina is Zara, and it’s not even from here.
13. Houses with gardens and no fences
We don’t have that, unless it’s a gated community, but it’s just not the same. It gives the suburbs a totally different look.
14. The Good Humor Ice Cream Truck
All we have are these dudes walking around with carts shouting out “helado, helaaadoooooo!” (helado is ice cream in Spanish). There’s no magical song. And I really miss ice cream sandwiches.
15. Supersize everything and free refills.
This makes me feel like Harry Potter, but if I could, I’d be shouting “engorgio!” and “aguamenti!” all over the place.