We’re only in the States for a precious few weeks this summer, so I’m packing the time full with all the stuff I miss while we’re in China. Since the theme at Velvet Ashes is “Top 10” this week, I put together a Top 10 list of my own.
Forgive me when I get way too excited when dealing with the following things (not in a well thought-through order):
10. Driving a vehicle.
ALL BY MYSELF. WHEREVER I WANT TO GO. Not that I’m going anywhere spectacular, but, oh, that freedom.
Zero people care that I have entered the grocery store. Zero people mob me to take my picture at the park. Zero shopkeepers will gossip about what I bought from them this week.
8. Giant glasses of iced tea.
Sweet mother (or, rather, unsweetened mother) of iced beverages, do you know how big the cups are at restaurants here? And that they have different flavors of tea? And that the tea comes with tons of ice? And that there are unlimited refills? For all the tea in China…
If you know, you know.
6. Mexican food.
This could be a Top 10 list all on its its own, friends. Real refried beans, made with lard, as they should be. Real tortillas, also made with lard. Carnitas, tamales, guacamole, carne asada, carne seca, tacos al pastor, chilaquiles, posole…there are just not enough meals for me to get my fill, and not enough room in the customs restrictions for me to bring it across the Pacific.
Let’s be clear: I normally hate shopping. I’m apparently one of the only six females on the planet who do. And yet, there is so much happiness in walking into Target, Walmart, or even a grocery store and getting exactly what I am looking for, the first time. I don’t need to spend days shopping for a light bulb, or take my chances ordering online. Plus, they don’t laugh at my shoe size here.
4. Public amenities.
Public libraries with classes and activities for kids, public parks and playgrounds, community concerts and performances, art exhibitions, historical sites, hiking trails, and on and on. The U.S. does public amenities really well.
You might not like the taste, you might complain about whatever the municipal government puts in it, you might shun it in favor of bottled, but the fact is, U.S. tap water will not give you giardia. As I like to point out to people in the States, you have so much access to clean water that you actually flush your toilet with drinking water. (This is a really effective, awkward way to end any conversation, by the way.)
2. The sky.
I can see the sky! All over the place!
I know this is the one that is supposed to stay off the list (“What do you miss most about the States – besides people?”) but it’s so true. I get very happy about seeing friends and family, and am always so sad when our time is limited. All the more reason to look forward to eternity, right?
Why it’s so hard to answer the question, “How many times have you moved?”
The top 5 questions I get asked on both sides of the Pacific
June 20, 2015 at 12:24 am
YES! To every single one. And that picture of the QT iced tea was just CRUEL and so delicious looking. But you sure gave me something to look forward to when we go back to visit the next time. 🙂
June 20, 2015 at 12:45 am
Sorry, Diane! (But not totally sorry. It black mango, unsweetened, and it was fantastic. Feel free to post revenge photos of you with iced, tea and tacos when you’re in the U.S. next! Hee hee. :))
June 20, 2015 at 5:35 pm
Great list…glad you are enjoying your #1 at the moment! I don’t care to go shopping either, so there are only four more out there.
Sky? I’m confused. Granted, I just assumed, but I was always under the impression that sky came with every location on the planet.
June 22, 2015 at 7:28 am
Glad to find one of the other six. 🙂
Our view of the sky is normally blocked by a lot of buildings, and I’m sure it’s blocked by pollution for many folks in China. It’s amazing to be able to see sky anywhere I look while we drive around Arizona!
June 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm
Giant Glasses of ice tea….when we first came to Russia, folks here didn’t drink anything cold…and certainly not tea. They do now, but for years I drank hot tea while sweating and wishing for a big glass of ice tea – sweetened or not!
June 22, 2015 at 7:30 am
Yup, I can relate to tea so hot you can barely touch the glass, served in the middle of sweltering summer humidity. I’m appreciating the ice while we’re in the States!
June 22, 2015 at 1:44 am
yes, yes, yes, yes … um, you get the point :). I am so taken with blue skies to this day. Love them. And water. and well, everything on this list except cheese. I love that I never have to special order food in China. (I am the one non-cheese person in all the U.S. of non Cheese A!!)
June 22, 2015 at 7:32 am
Glad you liked this list! And glad the lack of cheese in China is good for at least one expat. 😉
June 22, 2015 at 7:03 am
I do so get that list. It was a great reminder of all I have to be thankful for all the time. ENJOY YOUR TIME!!!!!
Prayers and Hugs.
June 22, 2015 at 7:32 am
June 23, 2015 at 10:13 am
Yes and Amen and I get all ten. Especially the last one. China ain’t Chiang Mai, and even that was a stretch for a woman on an NGO trip from City of Grace who couldn’t handle the bathrooms ( which weren’t even the slit trenches in China !!!). I can’t tell enough of my friends whst all y’all go without and put up with for the sake of….love.
June 23, 2015 at 10:31 pm
Glad you can relate, even if it was only a short trip.
June 23, 2015 at 3:26 pm
Maybe this point is moot, but when I came to China, MANY things were always lurking in the back of my mind (stomach?!)… cravings that were far too strong sometimes. Now that I have kiddos here, and it’s much easier to cook and stay at home to eat, I’ve learned to make lots of things… things I crave like crazy, and apparently you do too!
Case in point: Every once in a while, I buy the cheapest ground pork, the opposite of lean. When I cook it for tacos, I drain out the grease, and wham-o: I have lard. Amazing lard that would be heinous to eat alone, but is oh-so-good in tortillas. Which I was afraid to make last year. Which I make almost every week this year. I’m a dud of sorts in the kitchen, so give it a try! Email me and I’ll send you a can’t-mess-it-up recipe 🙂
P.S. I think I am addicted to iced beverages. NINE DAYS!!! But, who’s counting?! 😉
June 23, 2015 at 10:27 pm
Thanks for sharing that tip, Amanda. I always thought you had to render lard or it would have a strong pork taste. I’ll email you for the recipe. Nine days. You can do it! 加油！
July 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm
You wouldn’t want to use the strained fat for cookies but it should be really good in tortillas. Rendering lard is pretty easily done in a crock pot and I love to use it as a butter substitute (SO MUCH CHEAPER!) I use it cookies, pies, almost anything that calls for butter but you don’t need the specific butter taste (so not sugar cookies – although I will do half and half sometimes.) You can buy the correct fat at most meat markets.
June 23, 2015 at 11:49 pm
Ok, now I’m intrigued…I make lots from scratch, but tortillas I’ve never tried…can you please share how you make tortillas?!
May 24, 2016 at 10:54 pm
Haha! Love this article! I am a missionary and live overseas. But this is crazy funny…the only time I have ever gotten giardia is in America…from public drinking water in the mountains of Colorado.
May 24, 2016 at 10:57 pm
That’s really funny, Lynn! Well, sad that you got giardia at all, but ironic that it was in the States.