Someone recently asked me if I miss living in the USA. My answer was, “no, I don’t.” I don’t miss living in a country where work and money come first and wellbeing is an afterthought. But I definitely do miss some things about the USA. This doesn’t mean I don’t love my life in the Netherlands; I do. I feel so much more at peace and happier living here. But no matter who you are and where you live, there will always be some things you miss about the place where you grew up. These are some of mine:
1. The Obvious: My Family and Friends
No matter how many times I go back to visit or they come here, I still miss my family and friends. I come from a family of 15 children (including me) and two foster siblings. Being around them my whole life, I miss them a lot. Of course, we video call and such, but it is not the same. I miss hanging out with them and doing things like going to the beach, bowling, family gatherings, etc. I am super lucky that my friends and/or family visit me multiple times a year. But I miss all the time in between.
I know this is a super random one, but I miss the avocados in the USA. In the Netherlands, avocados are quite light in color and don’t taste the same. They either taste like rubber bands or water. I’ve tried them so many times, hoping they might start tasting better, but they always taste the same. So now I just don’t buy them. The ones in the USA have a darker green color and taste super rich and creamy, almost like vegetable butter but with a different flavor. The flavor is just so far off from the ones they sell in the Netherlands. I don’t know if it’s because of the different varieties they sell here, but they are not worth the price.
3. The People
I miss how Americans interact and treat people. No matter where you meet people in the USA, people will be extremely kind and friendly toward you. Of course, people in some states are nicer than others, but even then, the meanest people in the USA are still friendlier than the Dutch. And when Dutch people say it’s because we must tip everyone, they sound stupid. Sorry, but that’s the truth. Even untipped workers (there are many such workers) are so friendly and kind. The attitude of the American people is to treat people with kindness and human dignity.
4. The Healthcare Approach
Dutch healthcare may appear affordable, but you get what you pay for. By the way, I pay way more for healthcare here than I ever did in the USA. If you’ve lived here for a while, you may have encountered doctors who refuse to test and don’t believe your symptoms. I was never treated like that in the USA. American healthcare is all about collaborating with other medical professionals and administrating tests when necessary. It’s better to be sure than to live in pain for months or even years.
5. Trader Joe’s
Need I say more? By the way, if you’re reading this Trader Joe’s, many Americans would love to be able to shop at Trader Joe’s abroad. So please open some stores abroad. Thanks! Trader Joe’s is a normal grocery store in the USA. Except they have special kinds of products that you won’t normally find in other grocery stores. For example, I’m a big fan of their dried mango, chocolates, nuts go on a date bar, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and much more.
I miss going to the bakery and getting a freshly made bagel slathered in cream cheese and piled high with tomatoes, spinach, and smoked salmon. What a dream!!! Bagels & Beans should be ashamed of themselves. Calling those bread things bagels is an abomination. Yes, I know bagels aren’t that serious. But have you had one??
I know they are banned in the Netherlands because of the chemicals they contain or whatever. But it’s not like you eat them every day. The Netherlands does have Cheetos puffs, but those aren’t the good Cheetos. The crunchy cheesy orange Cheetos are the best ones. I know people like the spicy ones, but I’m not a fan. My friend just visited me from the USA and brought me a big bag. I’m in heaven.
As you may know, the Netherlands is very densely populated and crowded. I’m extremely lucky to live in a very small city, so it’s not that crowded. But it still is to me. All the houses in my area are attached to the neighbors, and the yards are pretty small. I miss the space and not hearing my neighbors.
See You Soon USA!
I’m actually headed back to the USA very soon to visit my family. So I’m going to stuff my face with bagels and avocados, soak in the space and friendly people, and just enjoy my time there with my family and friends. Let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to know about life in the USA and such. I love writing blog posts and making videos about my experiences and thoughts for all of you.
What do you miss about the country you were born and raised in?