I spent yesterday trying to buy toilets online - in French, a language I am very far from having mastered. Things got particularly interesting when I discovered that French toilets are not sold as pictured, at least in my experience. Instead, all of their constituent parts are sold individually, with delivery times that vary by weeks, or even months.
After having little success (though I did acquire a few French plumbing terms to add to my repertoire), I started to feel pangs of longing for the joys of online shopping in America. It got me thinking about other things I miss about living in the States...
1. Online shopping
The range of options! The value for money! The speedy delivery times! Sorry Europe, you're no competition.
2. Friendly and helpful customer service
The grand saga of getting our Internet connected was a good example of customer service you wouldn't find in America. Customer service representatives in America generally make you feel like they genuinely want to help you. They problem-solve, seem to care, and try to help. Outside of America, this sort of customer service is disturbingly hard to find.
3. You can get wine delivered in 20 minutes
I'll never forget when we threw an impromptu party in San Francisco and ran out of wine. Whoops! But the problem was easy to solve. We logged onto an app called Saucey (such a great name for a booze delivery service!) and they came to the rescue with wine delivered to our front door before anyone noticed we'd run out.
4. The price of gas
Gasolene is more than twice the price here! Around $7.00 per gallon versus $3.30 in America ($1.75/L versus $0.83/L). It adds up quickly, and explains why everyone in France drives tiny cars.
5. Big appliances, especially big washing machines
Once you go big it's hard to go back...
6. Lots of ice in drinks
I don't understand why big glasses with lots of big ice cubes hasn't caught on in France - or the UK for that matter. A gin and tonic just doesn't taste the same in a spindly glass with a sliver of ice, especially on a hot summer's day!
7. San Francisco's quirkiness
Of all the cities in America we could have ended up, we were very lucky to have made a home in San Francisco - a city whose open-mindedness, inclusiveness, and quirkiness will always be dear to my heart. We had the chance to experience Burning Man, San Francisco Pride, Bay to Breakers, and the Folsom Street Fair, among many other awesome parties, events and celebrations. I hope San Fran stays forever colorful.
8. Unabashed Enthusiasm
Different cities and countries seem to cultivate, or prioritize, different traits - whether it be style consciousness, artistic creativity, academic intellectualism, a sense of humor, or adventurousness. It varies a bit from state to state, but on the whole, Americans tend to cherish and encourage enthusiasm. In America, you "let your poppies grow tall", and I love that.
9. Holiday decorations and celebrations, especially Halloween and Thanksgiving
I love entertaining, and decorating, and no country does it with more enthusiasm (see point 8), and gusto than America. From the beginning of October, a quarter of the year is spent planning and preparing for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas alone!
10. Our friends
In part because folks are so friendly in America, it's easy to meet people, strike up a conversation, and make friends. But we really did make some very special friends during our time in San Francisco, and I miss them :-) You know who you are. X
P.S. An Ode to Thanksgiving, our new Home in France, the Joys of South West France, and before & after photos of our Home in San Francisco.