9 Things I Miss about Living in the USA


I took the leap and moved to Latin America about 5 years ago. I love it here. Don’t regret my decision one bit, but there are a few things I miss about life in the USA. As I finish up a 2 week vacation here in the States visiting my parents I thought I’d mention it.

9. Walmart: God I love that place, you know what they say… if it’s not in Walmart, it probably doesn’t exist. Could there be anything better for consumers in the world today? In Ecuador there are some big box stores, but not as good as Walmart.

8. Driving: I have gone almost 2 straight years without driving even once…in Ecuador, there are so many public transportation options (and cheap!) that driving really is not necessary, even in the countryside. But it is nice to get behind the wheel once in a while.

7. Baby back ribs: Need I say more? They are not that easy to find in Ecuador, you know, the tender ones where the meat falls right off the bone (a specialty here where my parents live in Montana).

6. Peanut Butter: You can find it in Ecuador, but it just tastes better in the States. Not to mention, I thoroughly miss Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

5. Oatmeal cookies: South Americans haven’t really figured this one out yet.

4. Public Golf Courses: The courses in Ecuador (all I have found) are private, you need to know somebody that’s a member to play. Nuts.

3. Snow Skiing: Yes, you can see snow on the tops of some mountains in Ecuador but there is no way to ski it. The nearest places to ski are in Chile and Argentina.

2. The ketchup: the ketchup in Ecuador is almost sweet and a little watery…I love that thick, Heinz any day.

1. American sports, Football, Baseball, Basketball: You can watch games these days in Ecuador streamed online for free at sites like justin.tv , but I still miss going to the NFL, MLB and NBA games. Down here in South America the three top sports are soccer, soccer and soccer.

But all in all, I’m still very glad I made the leap!

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2 thoughts on “9 Things I Miss about Living in the USA”

  1. haha…Bravo!

    Great list – although I can’t say that I miss Wal-Mart. I have been living in Santiago, Chile a little over a month now. I do like to see all the local independently owned stores. And I love their metro system here!!! It is very inexpensive, modern and travels frequently. Coming from DC I have to say that I love the communal aspect of their metro – they have free wi-fi in there, small shops, convenience stores, places to buy cell phones etc. These are some things I wish they would bring to the metro system in the states.

    However, in the category of things I miss:

    Surprisingly, the first thing I missed was clean, fresh air. There is a lot of smog in Santiago and the first week here I had a really bad chronic cough and was very sensitive to it- Although I am adjusting now.

    The other thing was being able to use heating and air conditioning at my convenience. Apparently because energy costs here are so expensive most people do not use it. In the building I live in, although it is relatively ‘modern’, I was surprised they didn’t have it. The nights can get chilly, so we have to pile on the blankets.

    In the schools in the central and south of the country you have to take your own toilet paper. It is my first time visiting Latin America so now idea what was in store for me here. When people say the schools are poorly resourced that is what they mean (you are not likely to find ‘basic’ needs here).

    I miss the Waffle House and other greasy diner type places – Classic American breakfasts. Here you have to go to an American hotel if you want to be able to get that kind of food.

    I am with you on peanut butter. It does taste different here. And I do miss that. My friends are sending me down a shipment of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfingers. If you were closer I would have dropped some off to you πŸ™‚

    Thanksgiving Holiday!!!

    You said baby back ribs – what about hot wings? lol. In the states they are trying to find creative ways to sell other parts of the chicken because everybody wants the wings. On the contrary, I have not seen any hot wings here.

    Pancakes and syrup…they have it here but it is a little different. Their pancake mix is thin because they eat them more like crepes. And they think blueberry pancakes are very strange, go figure.

    Salad dressing – who knew? I guess it is an American thing. The American import aisle in the grocery store is very cute…and also very small. And while there are some foods there that we eat in America – they are not American foods or from American food companies…oy! πŸ™‚ But I did find some Thousand Island salad dressing made in Germany…and some Joghurt Salad Dressing…made in the Netherlands…I think? Anyway, after tasting it I will be sticking with oil and vinegar.

    Dairy products – I have not been able to find sour cream. The Chileans eat mayonnaise and ketchup with oregano for their chip dip but that is not doing it for me. And CHEESE – the Chilean cheese is extremely mild. I have not been able to find Cheddar, American, Muenster, Provolone, Swiss, Parmesan, Manchego – or many of the specialty types we have in the states.

    Fresh fish in the grocery store – I was thinking there would be a lot of that given Chilean sea bass, salmon etc. But it seems that you have to go to a specialty fish market or to port towns. However, the port towns I have visited and eaten fresh seafood there – WOW! Magnifique πŸ™‚

    Thank you for reaffirming my appreciation of the states and the small things that are sometimes easy to take for granted.

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