- Taco Bell. At least that means less fast food on our waistline.
- Chocolate Chips. They are itty bitty and come in itty bitty bags for outrageous prices, if you can find them at all here. But Mommy says it's a little early to start my chocolate addiction now, anyways.
- Berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries. Well, just give us 3 months and we'll be in mango season again, so the lack of berries will be less painful.
- Produce. Noticing a food trend here? We miss the ability to find just about any kind of produce at the grocery store. There were no bananas yesterday - and there are plenty of bananas in this country. Often there is no lettuce. Or no onions. Or something else very basic. And those cool recipes with exotic produce? No chance of trying those. At least we don't have to stress over whether we're buying local or not.
- Michaels (or other craft stores). We've got to look long and hard to find simple things - still haven't found tempera paints here yet. It does make us more creative, and before we throw away trash, we think, "Can we make something out of this?"
- Garage Sales and 2nd Hand Stores. We miss hunting for barely used books, craft materials, educational toys, dressup costumes, etc. It does cut down on clutter, though.
- Smooth Roads. The potholes here are a bit much, not to mention the crazy drivers. It keeps Mommy from driving just for the joy of it, though, - and that conserves fuel (and our pocketbooks).
- Reasonable Cell Phone Companies. Argue with this one if you will, but how many of you have had a phone company turn off all your phones for a bogus $35,000 phone bill? And they insist it's your responsibility that they have no record of your request to cancel the stolen phone's card and that someone forged letters to acquire 8 new phones on your account? At least the company reps don't speak English, so Mommy doesn't have to be the one to deal with them.
- Clean Roads and Beaches. The roads here are completely littered with trash. There are periodic little "official" dumps on the sides of the road, and some smaller roads are overtaken by the dumps. People here are great at sorting through and reusing that trash, though, which has got to be good for the environment in some way.
- TV. Well, we could pay to get cable, but choose not to. And too much TV is bad for little developing minds, they say. Plus we've got Totlol.com . . .
- Sense of Security. Maybe it's a false sense, but there's a feeling of relief upon arriving in the US that not everyone is out to grab your purse/diaper bag or hijack your car. We are reminded here that God is our only sure security, though.
- Libraries. Can't come up with any positive spins on this one.
- Gyms. With day care centers. Or safe walking/jogging trails. No positive spins on this one, either. Well, we do have a pool that will be really nice once hot weather kicks in.
And we do get to meet lots of cool people here, and while we don't like saying goodbye, we'd have to do some of that no matter where we lived. Tuesday we had a farewell dinner for George and Jack, who volunteered for a month on our well project.
And here are the beautiful African place settings my friend K and her family put together for the dinner. They made animal shapes from black "play dough" (using charcoal) for each spot. And they had candles, and a punch bowl, and hibiscus flowers, and everything. The African animal place mats were gifted to the departing men at the end of the dinner. This was my first dinner with my very own place setting!