While studying abroad or spending any extended period of time in a foreign country is an amazing experience and an unforgettable opportunity — sometimes, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
And by "it" I mean the lovely American novelties we so easily take for granted. America is often knocked for our reputation as the land of excess and ungodly amounts of pretty much any materialistic good, but man, it feels good to be back in the land of plenty. Funny how something as simple as an ice cube turns into a valuable necessity once you no longer have easy access to them.
Europe, you were absolutely amazing, but you could use some help in certain departments. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder.
Here's a compilation of the top 10 American things you'll miss when you're out of the country:
1. Free water
As previously stated in one of my past articles, Europeans drink wine like water — if not more than water — and dehydration might as well be a full-blown epidemic. Never have I been so happy to receive free water at a restaurant again in my life.
2. Ice cubes
Speaking of liquids, cubed H20 might as well be nonexistent in other countries as well. Get used to warm tap water, people.
3. Splitting checks at restaurants
Such a simple idea here in America, yet a foreign concept elsewhere. Get those Venmos up and running and always remember to play the "I left my wallet at home" card.
4. Air conditioning
No wonder no one in Europe works out, they burn an absurd amount of calories through simply perspiring. Nothing quite like waking up feeling like you've run a marathon and having the sweat stains to prove it.
5. Functioning washers/dryers
Other American utilities taken for granted. While washer machines are more widely seen than dryers, this duo is hard to come by in some foreign countries. After hang drying my sheets and having birds poop on them repeatedly in the process, I have never been so appreciative of an appliance.
Uber is seen in some major European cities, however, traveling in places without this transportation app can be a nightmare. You try calling a taxi at 2 a.m. for six people who speaks little to no English and only accepts euros.
The food in certain European countries is absolutely exquisite and I most definitely ate my way through Italy, but towards the end of the trip, nothing sounded better than a good Chick-fil-A or McDonald's drive-thru run.
8. Cellular data
Wifi is your number one companion in Europe and on those days when you so desperately need it but it's too hard to come by, utilize every little gigabyte of data available. Still anxiously awaiting this month's Verizon bill, sorry mom and dad.
9. Personal space
For some reason the notion of personal space ceases to exist overseas. I'm most definitely a people person and love interacting with people of all different backgrounds and personalities, but don't touch me.
10. Being in America
This article is not meant to critique other cultures but rather show appreciation for our own. Spending six weeks in Italy was the experience of a lifetime that I will cherish and never forget — but America, you're looking better everyday. Home sweet home.