11 Things I Have Missed While Living Abroad

As we prepare for our trip back to the states for a month, I have been growing anxious to get to see and do all the things I don’t necessarily have while living abroad. Aside from the obvious missing my family and friends, I have started thinking of everything I miss from the states, especially from New Jersey. This prompted me to create a list of all the must sees and dos when I get “home”.

Diet Coke. If you know me, you know I love my Diet Coke. While we have Coca Cola light here, it’s just not the same as diet. Yes, I can tell a difference. My fiancé insists it’s the same but no ones fooling me ! Damn aspartame being bad for you. Of course, the United States hasn’t caught up with this fact yet, but until then, its approved by me.

Free Refills. Along with Diet Coke, I can’t wait to have free refills again. There is no such thing as a free refill on this island.

Chipotle. Oh, Chipotle. You know the way to my heart. Who says it’s the way to just a man’s heart being through their stomach. The food here in Dominican Republic is amazing, but I miss that rice bowl like you wouldn’t believe. I have vowed to myself that the first full day I’m in the states, I will get chipotle. You may be laughing, but this is how much of a love affair I had with Chipotle before moving abroad. I think Bill Withers had it right, “Ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone”. This accurately sums up what I feel without Chipotle. Ok, ok, maybe thats a bit dramatic but you get the point.

Bagels. Fresh, New Jersey bagels. Scratch that, Taylor ham and cheese bagels.  In New Jersey, we take breakfast serious. Our bagels are the best around and you can’t get them anywhere else. I mean, five minutes from where I grew up, we have a 24 hour bagel shop. How much more serious can it get than that?  I have seen one bagel place in Santo Domingo, but my apprehension has stopped me from going in. Maybe one day I’ll try but until then, I will stick to missing Taylor ham and cheese bagels. All you Northern New Jerseyans know what I’m talking about. I can’t wait to have that New Jersey artery clogging breakfast obsession in my hands again.

T.J. Maxx/Marshalls.  Okay so this is a big one for me. I have missed lots of stores I used to shop at and although Santo Domingo boasts many malls and lots of pretty good shopping, I miss T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. I love a good bargain and I have found that many times when you forfeit price here, you are forfeiting the quality. I also miss the vast selection of different clothes and items you can get in the states.

The language. I miss the days of being able to ask questions at a store, or order food and not misunderstand, ending up with the wrong meal. I miss being able to speak and ask questions as easily as they come to my mind and be able to let my language so freely flow off my tongue.

The Fall. Ok, so I have always said I despised the cold months and couldn’t wait to live in a hot place all year round. But, as I get closer to my trip to the states, I can’t wait to be in that hoodie weather. Okay so maybe less hoodies and more jackets?  In any case I can’t wait for that fall weather fashion that I will never be able to wear in the Caribbean. I am definitely looking forward to a break from the scorching sun and heat.

East Coast fast pace. I can’t wait to be back on my turf again, where people are impatiently waiting in a line, rolling their eyes, and remarking with their witty sarcasm. It’s what makes New Jersey great right. Or maybe not. But anyhow, I miss it. I miss the East Coast of the states and the way of life there. I miss how you are able to fit 25 tasks in a day, and still have time to meet up with your friends for drinks. Don’t get me wrong, island time has its benefits, but I am looking forward to being in a fast paced environment again even if its just for a short time.

Water pressure. Oh how I miss that luxurious water pressure in the states while taking a hot shower. Not having to position yourself right, just to rinse the shampoo out of your hair. I have grown so accustomed to the water pressure here that I forgot it’s not that great until I was reminded by houseguests. Then I realized, when I first got here, I complained about the water pressure every time I took a shower. So I’m definitely looking forward to being reminded what great water pressure is.

Pickles. So I have searched far and wide, high and low for good pickles here and haven’t been able to locate them. I have found one jar of pickles, but they don’t taste the same. So for that, I miss good pickles.

The use of turn signals. I miss the use of turn signals and directionals. Hell, I miss cars having break lights and headlights. Although, New Jerseyans can be aggressive drivers, they have nothing on islanders. I can’t wait to be in the car and not have to squint at night-time to see if that’s a black car up ahead with absolutely not one light on it, or just my imagination.

p.s. above is a literal interpretation of what being in the car with my fiancé and I look like !

What do you miss while living abroad ? What are you counting down the days to do or have when you go back “home”?

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  1. I am originally from Hawaii. I was adopted and taken to Southern California at age five. I have also lived in Arizona, Colorado Rocky Mountains, Key West and Punta Gorda, Florida, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

    In between and around all of that I also lived in Europe and Norway for twenty-eight years. I used to miss Mexican food in Norway back in the ’80s before they had it. But other than that I really didn’t miss anything.

    We moved to the north coast of Hispañola this past August. Having lived in many countries and experienced many cultures, I find that I am a real Islander in heart and soul. I don’t need much to be content, but I do tend to bond as much with the physical land and nature of a country itself as much as I do with the people. And as an Islander, I have a uniquely connected relationship with the Island of Hispañola itself.

    There is still much to see and do here before I can get a real feel for and a properly informed and developed understanding of the culture. I’ll need to make a few more local Dominican friends and do a lot more hanging out with them to make a fair assessment of it all. The only things I miss for the time being are as always friends that I left behind and the nature-oriented mentality and aloha spirit of indigenous Island Culture. It’s very inhibiting not being able to be one’s natural self and needing to deny one’s nature.

    It is this aspect of living abroad more than anything else that is the hardest and most challenging part to deal with when it comes to living in a foreign culture as a foreigner.

    1. Oh wow, you have lived a lot of places. That is awesome. My fiancé lived in Hawaii for a little while and he really loved it there. I agree one of the hardest parts of living abroad is leaving my friends and family. I had a hard time with it for a while. I hope you will be able to find what you need and ultimately love the culture here !

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