Following on from this weeks ‘5 Things I Love about being an Expat in America…Part 2’ post, here’s the opposite to that – ‘5 Things I Hate about being an Expat in America…Part 2.’ Like I said before, hate is a strong word and I don’t particularly hate the things on the list, it’s more a list of things I find different or miss from back home in the UK. Love and Hate just go better together than love and some things I miss/don’t like about life in America! So, without further ado, round 2…here we go:
1. No Local Pubs
A local pub is something I seriously miss about life in America compared to life in the UK. Back in Leeds we had a local pub we would head to at some point every weekend. We could walk there, have a few drinks and some amazing pub food and then stroll home, not having to worry about somebody having to drive. Local pubs are a British tradition, you end up making friends with the people behind the bar, there’s an amazing atmosphere in them, often with open fires, quaint decor and good, traditional food. (You can find out more about our old local in this post.) Here in America everything is a drive away, restaurants aren’t very personal, nobody knows you, the service is always pretty rushed because of America’s convenience culture and there is always a designated driver. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate every restaurant in America, there’s definitely some good food to be had over here but nothing beats the great British pub! Here are some pics from my old local in Leeds, The Cross Keys. If you’re ever in the area make sure you check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
2. The lack of Roundabouts
This is a strange one but America does not do roundabouts, at least not in Atlanta anyway. Instead, you have traffic lights at an intersection, and, if you just miss a light be prepared to sit and wait for a long time. We’re talking at least 5 minutes in some cases, depending which part of the junction you are on. If you’re heading somewhere and you hit every red light, you need to add at least another 15 minutes to your journey. I can’t remember the amount of times I’ve been late because I have forgotten to factor in the amount of red lights on the way and the chance of catching every single one! Roundabouts make life so much simpler, you move when there’s no traffic coming, give way to the right (if you’re in the UK of course, the left over here in America) and traffic moves along much quicker. I don’t know if it’s because of the huge roads here in America (many have at least 4 lanes) or what but the only time you ever spot a small, tiny roundabout in Georgia is tucked away on a housing estate somewhere. Maybe I should start a campaign to bring roundabouts to America? Erm…maybe not. Maybe I’ll just add more time onto my journey instead!
3. Always wondering if it will end.
Being an expat in America on a visa that depends on the German’s job is sometimes a little worrying. His contract is open-ended so right now we have no idea if or when our American journey could end. There’s obviously some stability, the German has a job and our visas are valid for 5 years but at the back of your mind there’s always that little worry that this might end and then what? If the German doesn’t have a job tomorrow (touch wood he does, go on touch some!) then we have to be out of the country in 30 days. Nice, right? At the moment I feel like we have finally got settled in Atlanta, we have a nice group of friends that is ever-expanding and there are so many more things we want to do, not only in Atlanta but in the rest of America. If the plug got pulled tomorrow I wouldn’t want to go back home just yet. I’m not saying I’ll never want to go back but right now I’m happy to stay here for a while longer. The fear will always be there, you just have to try not to think about it too much and experience as many things as you can.
4. The Chocolate
Now I’m not saying American chocolate is bad but British chocolate definitely rules superior! You cannot beat a big chunk of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk or a Cadbury’s Caramel bar. It’s just so much creamier and melt in the mouth than the stuff you get here in America. I think the worst culprit here is Hershey’s, the plain chocolate is so bitter and weird tasting to me I can’t eat the stuff. The cookies and cream version is another story though – that stuff is amazing! Whenever we have visitors over we ask them to bring us some supplies, the last being my brother who stocked us up on huge bars of Dairy Milk in various flavours (milk, fruit and nut, Crunchie and jelly beans and popping candy) along with Creme Eggs, Mini Eggs, Caramel bars and Malteaser Bunnies – it was Easter after all! We’re slowly making our way through it (even the wedding dress diet can’t keep me away from Dairy Milk!) and will be ready for another delivery once Ma Cook comes along in September! I also have to point out that, after opening that huge bar of chocolate in the picture on the left late one Saturday night it took us about 12 minutes to finish the whole bar! Whoops! I only know that because we text my brother to tell him we were going in, then text him to say we’d polished it off, according to him there was around 12 minutes between the 2 text messages. Oh dear.
5. Town/City Centers
I so miss being able to park up my car and walk from shop to shop in a town or city center where every shop I need, no matter what it is, is within walking distance. I can be outside in the fresh air, strolling along, picking up some shopping along the way, stopping off for a drink or some lunch and getting everything on my list in one stop. This just does not happen in America. Here, you have to drive from strip mall to strip mall, stopping off at the actual mall on the way, a lunch spot for some food and then to a CVS or Walgreens on the way home because there isn’t a Boots style chemist shop in the mall, I mean, seriously, it would make things so much easier if CVS and Walgreens opened stores in the mall, it would save loads of time. Things are never close to each other either, you have to drive at least 10 minutes to run each errand and things end up taking a lot longer than you expected to complete. Give me a town center with everything in reach any day!
So there you have it, another installment of ‘5 Things I Hate about being an Expat in America.’ What do you think? Do you agree? Anything for me to add to the next list?