5 Things I Miss About America…And 5 Things I Don’t

University of Limerick Student Ambassador, Angie, lists the 5 things she misses about home and the 5 she doesn’t. 

I am very happy that I am back in Ireland to do a postgrad. I’ve lived in three different countries in my life and one thing I learnt from those experiences is that no country is perfect. It’s an adjustment going from Limerick to Chicago and Chicago to Limerick. The two cities are totally different places and they’re both great in different ways.

Here are five things I miss about the US and five things I don’t miss about the US.

  1. The variety of restaurants and cuisines

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I was quite spoiled, living in Chicago (or if you live in a big city in general, this applies too). It’s a very diverse city and a foodie city, a city of two million people. You can find any cuisine in Chicago and no doubt you will find a good restaurant that serves the cuisine you like. I miss the usual restaurants I would go to. There’s some good food in Limerick, but it’s nothing like Chicago.

2. Being able to do my shopping late at night.

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Sometimes I am in class all day and I’m really busy studying late at night and I want to buy groceries. In America, a lot of supermarkets are open late and some are even open 24 hours. Sure there are convenience stores, but they are expensive and they don’t carry very many products, which leads me to the next thing I miss about America.

3. The variety and size of shops.

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America is the home of superstores. Health foods? You got Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Want a one stop shop? You can go to Target or Walmart. Want to bulk buy stuff? Costco to the rescue! There’s a shop for everything and the shops carry a variety of products.

4. Girl Scout Cookies, ‘nuff said.

I’m begging my parents to send me a couple of boxes of Peanut Butter Sandwich and Thin Mints.

5. The variety of climates and landscapes

Granted America is pretty much the size of Europe, but it’s still really cool to have one country with a diversity of landscapes and climates. I love beaches and I love the mountains. You can get both sun and snow. America really has something for everyone.

What I don’t miss about America:

  1. The cost of a mobile phone plan

Back in the States, if you want to buy a smartphone and you want service for it, you won’t find any plans for less than $50. On top of that you can’t pick what you want in your plan. If you’re not much of a talker or texter, you can’t get a data only plan. Here, with top up credit, you have flexibility to build your own plan and you pay for what you use. I pay €20 a month for unlimited data and texting, just what I want!

2. How long it takes to get from one place to another

It takes ages to get from one state to the next and it’s three hours or more by plane if you want to go from one part of the country to another. Flights in America aren’t cheap either! Meanwhile in Ireland, in a two-hour flight, I can be in a choice of different countries.

3. Tax not being included in prices

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Nothing sucks more than counting out your money and then you realise when you get to the till to pay for your items that you don’t have enough money. What’s the point of a price tag if the price is different when you pay for the item?

4. The chocolate

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I can’t stand the chocolate back in the States. It’s too sweet. Often sugar is the first ingredient in a chocolate bar. I like dark chocolate and the best chocolate I’ve had is definitely from this side of the Atlantic. My favourite chocolate is the dark orange chocolate from Marks and Spencer. It’s dairy free, so that means no stomach aches!

5. The fast paced lifestyle

I’m anxious a lot of the time and I need to calm down. The lifestyle in the US, especially in the big cities, is very fast paced and mechanical. Not conducive to relaxation. Everything is so rushed and there is not much patience there if you can’t keep up.

Overall, I’m happy to be in Limerick. As with any move, it takes adjustment and exploring the new place to find your new favourite places. I look forward to learning even more about Limerick and Ireland.

Angie Weisgal is a postgraduate student pursuing an MA in Journalism at the University of Limerick. Read her Vegetarian and Vegan Survival Guide to Limerick and UL. 
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