As most of you know, I have spent the last four months in Cape Town, South Africa studying abroad at the University of Cape Town. While I have absolutely loved my experience here, there are so many things I never even realized I took for granted at home until I left. Next week, I will depart from this incredible city and board my 15-hour flight home. I know that next week I will be a mess of emotions – excitement, confusion, sadness, and just general overwhelmedness (we’ll pretend that’s a word) – so before I enter the angst that will be next week, I decided this post was necessary (you know, in order to offset the “I hate America, take me back to South Africa” post that is sure to appear in the next month). The following is my list of totally insignificant things I miss about America and am excited to go back to next week. Because #Murica.
- Stick Deodorant – In South Africa, they mostly use roll-on and spray-on deodorant. I decided to “do as the locals do” and buy myself some roll-on deodorant when I ran out of my American-bought deodorant, and I have been less than impressed. I’m also not entirely sure how spray-on deodorant work and I’m 90% sure that if I tried it, everything BUT my armpits would end up perspiration-free. I can’t wait to get home and get myself some Degree Motion-Sense Technology Deodorant with some ridiculous name like “Cherry Blossom” (okay, you’re not fooling anyone, there is no chance my armpits are EVER going to smell like cherry blossoms) that will keep me fresh and clean all day long.
- Water at Restaurants – Apparently getting tap water upon sitting down at restaurants here is not a thing. I’ve come to accept this over the past four months, however, I will be overly grateful for every glass of water I get at home without having to ask for it.
- Reliable Internet – Okay, I know these are all first world problems, but when I am at school and have assignments that require me to do research online, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to expect reliable internet.
- 3G – On a related note, I cannot wait for the moment when the plane lands at JFK and I can switch my phone off of Airplane Mode for the first time since January 27th. Constantly asking “Hi, do you have a wifi password?” has taken its toll on me – I now regularly feel like an eighth grade girl who sleeps with her phone in her hand.
- Customer Service – While hiring 6 people to work during the quiet hours of the frozen yogurt place has its benefits (like giving more people jobs), it doesn’t help when they all stand behind the counter speaking in a language you don’t understand and refusing to acknowledge your presence. I’m excited to come back to America, where the customer is always right.
- A Normal Level of Enthusiasm About KFC – KFC is a really big thing here. Like, a REALLY big thing. I don’t get it. They don’t even have biscuits at KFC here, which is definitely the best part.
- Bagels – “They’re like not sweet donuts right?” WRONG. Why do they have so much damn cream cheese here if there are no bagels to put them on?! I will never understand.
- Kraft Products – No Easy Mac? What’s a college student to do?! I’m surprised that Kraft has not realized what a big market they would have here, but since they’re behind the game, the only logical thing to do was to have my parents bring me six boxes of Mac&Cheese (SpongeBob shapes included).
- Target – I don’t even think I need to explain this one, but I miss Target so much. I miss the Starbucks when you walk in and the $1 section at the front where most things aren’t a dollar but still seem worth it; I miss the familiar red shirts and khakis and the price scanning machine that’s never near you when you need it; I miss being able to buy my clothes and food and DVDs all in the same place and being distracted by the shoe section every time I go in; I miss the sales and the snacks. I could keep going but I’m getting a little teary-eyed over here (kidding… mostly).
- Refrigerated Eggs – They don’t refrigerate eggs here, and while I don’t have a problem with that, seeing as they’ve never caused me any problems, I still just don’t understand how that works. I’m sure I could do more research on their pasteurization process, but that sounds like a lot of work. Similarly, I like only having the option of refrigerated milk – they have “long life milk” here that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, which is a great idea and all, but it just doesn’t taste the same.
- Mexican Food – In its defense, South Africa is very far from Mexico, but the Mexican food here is quite sub-par. Sweet chili sauce does not belong on Mexican food. Nor does BBQ pork. I need my West Coast Mexican food ASAP.
- Real Coffee – South Africans love their instant coffee. So much so that they have to specify when coffee isn’t instant by calling it “filter coffee.” Well, I miss filter coffee.
- Outlets – I have one outlet in my room. For both me and my roommate. The number of times we have almost electrocuted ourselves trying to plug our computer chargers into the outlet extender into the converter into the splitter that also has a light and a fan plugged into it is… really really high. And by “almost” I mean we have. Visible sparks happen every time. It’s janky.
Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE this country. I have just come to the end of my trip and realized I’m excited to come home. Keep reading in the next few weeks for a similar list about things I miss from here, which will probably be much more extensive.