What I miss most about the US

We’ve been living in Greece for nearly six months, and now that I’m back in the States for a visit, I’m suddenly realizing all of the things I’ve missed. I’ve been keeping a tally since I arrived. One trip to the grocery store added half a dozen items to my list! Without further adieu…

  • The toilet paper situation is much improved. Funny enough I catch myself looking for the little bin sometimes — it’s gotten to be such a habit to throw it away instead of flushing.
  • At the airport I ordered iced tea. Black tea! With actual ICE! Not a concept Athenians are familiar with. After I paid the bill, I looked at my empty cup forlornly…until the waiter asked if I wanted a free refill. Sweet.
  • The driving situation has gotten loads better, too. Legal right turns on red (way too dangerous a proposition in Greece), no motorbikes speeding on either side of you, and I haven’t seen a single hazard light on. Driving is actually enjoyable again.
  • Suburban US grocery store, how I missed you! Let me count the ways:

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  • Shopping carts with two fixed wheels! No more haphazard turns around aisles barely wide enough for the cart. And you almost never find seat belts in the child seat in Greece, much less carts with little steering wheels the kids can ride in.

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  • I can’t even find this stuff at the Embassy. So much better than the spreadable margarine that seems to be the only option in Greece. I may have to look into special ordering it.

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  • Eggs behind refrigerated glass. Where they belong.
  • Sample day. A purely American concept.

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  • Children’s consignment shops. I found these adorable, like-new toddler Skechers for $7.

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  • My dad and I had probably the best Kansas City food and drink day ever yesterday. We took an awesome free tour of the Boulevard Brewing Company, learning about the history of beer-making, the founding of the company, how they brew the beer, got a glimpse of the factory floor, and of course had ample free samples. I tried one of their test beers called Schwartz, a lager brewed with chocolate malt — a misnomer in that it doesn’t have any actual chocolate flavor, but the name refers to the color of the malt they used. It had the flavor and color of a stout, but with the light drinkability of a lager. Quite delicious. The lighter beer pictured is their Lemon Ginger Radler, an interesting and refreshing combo of unfiltered wheat and a lemon/ginger soda. Afterward we went to Joe’s Kansas City (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s) for the best BBQ in the city. At 1:45 the line at the original gas station location was still out the door. I waited 35 minutes for a Z-Man, fries and a Dr. Pepper. Totally. Worth it.

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