Obviously I miss family and friends, no one needs to hear about that kind of thing but what might be interesting is hearing what differences have made me wish for the American way of doing things. Then there are the things we’ve run into that we are going to miss when we get back to the states.
- 24 hour stores – Here in Switzerland grocery stores close at 6 or 7pm most nights, 5pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays. It has bitten us a couple times. We have learned that the grocery stores in the train stations stay open a bit later (and are also more expensive).
- BBQ – This is more about missing Memphis than the US in general I guess but I have had a few dreams about Central BBQ’s yumminess and Nick’s mouthwatering creations.
- Beer – Ok, Germany makes good beer, England has some decent brews (and the craft brew movement as we know and love it in the US is starting to take off there) and of course Belgium has amazing stuff, but when we walked into an old train station that had been turned into brewery in Berne I felt right at home, until the beer list had 3 permanent beers and 1 seasonal. Nor were these unique creations, they were titled “Helles”, “Marzen”, “Weizen” and the seasonal was “Pils”. Good beer, but try an IPA or a beer with some fruit in it or a stout or something! Goodness..
- The dollar menu – We have mostly been buying food at grocery stores, but a few times we have wanted the quick convenience of fast food and nowhere (not even the golden arches) has a dollar (or pound or euro or frank) menu. I suppose it’s good that the unhealthiest options are not the cheapest ones though.
- Tap water – It can be difficult to get tap water here, not just at restaurants but in England, Amsterdam and Germany drinking fountains were practically nonexistant. Switzerland on the other hand has them everywhere!
- Top sheets – Duvets are nice, but when the weather is hot all I want covering me is a sheet thank you very much. Down comforter in July in London? Why?
- Big mattresses – No, two single mattresses on a bigger frame or two single beds pushed together is not the same as a double bed.
- Free wifi for customers or the public – some cities have it in abundance, others have practically none. The most reliable places to get it are Starbuck’s so thanks America.
- My commute – I no longer get 20 minutes of news every morning and afternoon, I have felt very out of touch.
Ok, now for the things we’ve run into here that we want to bring home with us…
- Tilty windows – Want some airflow but don’t want the window (or door) completely open? No problem, tilt it!
- Inline water heaters – Never run out of hot water and don’t waste energy keeping a tank of water hot whether or not it’s needed.
- Public transit – Only in two places did we want a car. Both very out of the way, never have we felt the need for one in a city here.
- Better quick takeaway meals in grocery stores. Decent sandwich, soft drink of your choice and an apple (or some chips) for 3 pounds within two blocks of anywhere? Thanks London, I’d like to see more of that.
- Cheers and “Enjoy your meal”. It’s been rare here to start a round of drinks or a meal without a “Cheers”, “Prost”, “To your health (or language equivilant)”, or “Bon apetit (adjusted for language)”. It’s nice.