I was born in the US, and lived there for 48 years. I have lived mostly in Sweden for the past 2 years. I also have a bad habit of mouthing off in political debates all across the Internet. This leads people to the misconception that I hate the US. I do not. I hate what it is becoming. I love what it is supposed to be, what it tries to claim to be. I love the idea of America… I despise what politicians have done to it, and what the people have allowed to be done to it. How the hell the Patriot Act ever got passed… man. That was the last straw for any perceived freedom I had left there.
Still, I do not hate America. I simply have found a place that is what it claims to be. Sweden. Is it perfect? Well no. DUH. No government on Earth is perfect. It is hella better than the US, though. I’m sorry, but it is. And yet, there are many things I miss about the US.
I miss the myriad of Renaissance Festivals each summer. We have Riddarspelan and the Viking Market over here, but in the US I could visit a RenFest any weekend from April through October if I wished. Both Riddarspelan and the Viking Market are the end of June, beginning of July… and that is it for South Sweden. bummer, that.
I miss Arbys and KFC. Sweden is much healthier because of it not being a Fast Food Nation. Burger King and McDonalds are infiltrating, but only for the lunch crowd while shopping. People here mostly prefer to cook their own food at home. That is a good thing… except I am a spoiled American and I sometimes crave that special chicken recipe or a Giant roast beef sandwich. I have heard that KFC is now over in Copenhagen, though, so perhaps it is only a matter of time before I can have that mouth watering chicken again.
I miss the beaches. Yes, we do have beaches here. Malmo and Ystad both have very nice beaches. however, I am a tourist at heart and like touristified beaches. The Swedish beaches are for swimming and sunbathing. I want tourist crap, damn it. So yes, although I do like Malmo and Ystad, I prefer places like Venice Beach in California, and the beaches at Miami and Ft Lauderdale.
I miss real Amusement Parks. Oh man do I miss amusement parks. We have them over here, but they are nothing compared to places like Busch Gardens in Virginia, or Magic Mountain in California… and certainly not even close to Cedar Point in Ohio. I am a roller coaster fanatic. The amusement parks here are geared towards the kids, not adults who refuse to grow up like me.
I miss Midnight shopping. The truth is, I probably would never go shopping in the middle of the night over here even if there was a 24 hour place. I used to do that quite a bit before I met my husband though, and I miss having that option just in case the mood were to strike me.
I miss Times Square. London is a very short and cheap flight for me, but Piccadilly Circus is just not the same as Times Square no matter what you’ve been told. Times Square took the Piccadilly Circus idea and magnified it 10 fold. I love the crowds, the hustle & bustle, the touristy schlock vendors, the singing naked cowboy… Don’t get me wrong, I also do love London, but it is for different reasons. I have heard there is something similar in Stockholm, but I am quite a ways from there. some day I’ll have to go check that out though and see how it compares.
I miss delivery. Nobody over here delivers. We have pizza joints galore, but you have to go pick it up yourself. I am a lazy American. I want food delivered if I am not in the mood to cook. I am slowly adapting, but I still miss it.
I miss lower gas prices. You heard me. I always griped about the price of gas when I lived in the US, just like every one of you do. The truth is, it costs half as much to fill your vehicle in America as it does in Europe. Be grateful for that. Seriously. You Americans have no idea how good you actually have it on that score.
So. Because I was raised in the US, I still have some habits from there that I cannot indulge in Sweden. Not in South Sweden, anyway. Still, when balanced against the quality of life here, the excellent health care, the pristine roads free of litter… and a myriad of other things, I made the right choice to live here. And yet… right this minute I would sell my soul for an Arbys.