Someone asked what I missed most about the US, now that I live in Singapore. It got me thinking about what makes me most excited when I go home. Of course, family and friends are at the top of my list but then there are the other things that you just can’t wait to do. Read on for the list of things I miss from the US.
It’s strange to miss shopping in a country that dedicates so much attention to it but it’s true. Singapore offers up so much great high-end shopping but what I miss is the everyday shopping at places like Target where the quality is good, the design is thoughtful (particularly when it comes to household items), and it doesn’t break the bank.
I miss inexpensive clothes for my children and even myself, like Old Navy. Clothes that hold up to lots of active play and machine-washing but at a price that doesn’t make you cry when it’s outgrown or stained.
I also miss all the good mid-range (and mid-priced) household brands such as T-fal and OXO. These are premium brands in Singapore with prices to match.
Don’t get me started on the aisles and aisles of cosmetics. I’m like a kid in a candy store looking at all the different options. Although, if I were to go back to live in the US I would miss all the great Korean skincare I can find here.
American Grocery Stores
Oh the huge aisles… Where two carts can pass without even thinking about bumping into each other… Aisles where you can just daydream about all the possibilities of what you might do with the ingredients without worrying that you are in someone’s way.
And don’t forget all the meal starters or pre-prepped ingredients. Oh Trader Joe’s, how I miss your menu suggestions and freezer section.
Then there are the snacks… One of our favorite snack flavors is white cheddar. It’s so hard to find unless you order it for an exorbitant price. There’s also seems to be a constant shortage of boxed mac and cheese here. You can get it but buy everything on the shelf if you see it because it may be months before you find it again.
“Have It Your Way”
It’s terribly obnoxious to hear Starbucks orders in the US. “A one-pump pumpkin spice, soy latte, 195 degrees, and ABSOLUTELY NO FOAM,” anyone? But… I miss asking for pasta with butter, parmesan, and nothing else without the waitstaff having to ask the manager. Surely, there’s a middle ground.
I moved from San Francisco, which is located within an hour’s from Napa Valley, the premier wine growing region in the US. Wine is everywhere in California and it’s affordable. You could always find fun, drinkable wines around a $10 price point. Sadly, those days are in the past and even a bottle of Yellow Tail is about $18 (typical US retail is around $5). It’s put a real damper on making sangria but my liver is thanking me.
There is very little agriculture in Singapore. This means that all food needs to be imported, leaving the produce tasting a bit dull and watery. The fruit is not as sweet and the vegetables don’t have the zest you’d expect.
Not only does it lack flavor, produce is expensive. A small pack of blueberries will easily run you $6-8 USD (the same price those big packs sell for in the US). I don’t even think about organic produce, the selection is so small and costly.
After being here for more than 2 years, I realize produce needs to be ordered directly from the people who source it. Thankfully, there are several good options on the island and my favorite so far is avo & co.
Driving Above 55 (mph)
The max speed limit on the expressways in Singapore is 90 kph (~56 mph) but most of the time you don’t have the opportunity. The roads are generally so congested that it’s impossible to go very fast. Combine this with the fact that the longest “road trip” you can take in Singapore is probably about 45 minutes. No cruising with the wind in your hair and listening to your favorite song here…
I’m grew up in the Northeastern part of the US and always dreamed of palm trees and coconuts. Well, the joke’s on me… With the exception of shopping centers and cinemas, it is never sweater weather in Singapore and I miss it. You don’t get that same sense of hygge when it’s 75F/24C even if you do find yourself with a couple of goosebumps.
The next time I go back to the US though, I may find that sweater weather is what everyone else considers to be a beautiful spring day.
I hope you enjoyed this light-hearted post. What are the things you miss most from home when you are away? Drop them in the comments below!