oh beautiful for spacious skies

as you've probably noticed if you're an avid blog follower, march has been a little bit of an off month for me.  mostly because i just returned from a 2 week stint back in the US, where i spent some time with family, friends, and attended a few weddings on the glorious beginning of the circuit that is our mid-20s.

i've tried to be pretty good about chronicling my adventures abroad, but it seemed kind of strange to be reporting back on how fun it was playing with my dogs for three hours, or that great peanut butter and jelly sandwich i made myself for lunch, or how i was able to catch up on the full season of "revenge" in a matter of 2 days.  strange isn't even the right word - boring is more like it.

it does sort of seem like a waste to let my two weeks in the US go without mention.  particularly since it was AH-MAY-ZING!  so without further ado, i present the top ten things i miss most about the good old us of a.  this list of course excludes my family/friends/dog in an attempt to make this top ten list as un cheezy as possible. at least as far as top ten lists go.

10. my favorite magazines
there's really not much of an explanation to provide for this one.  i'm a chick. i like to read things like glamour and vogue. and us weekly.

9. target
it's nearly impossible to leave this store without purchasing at least twice what you originally entered the store looking for.  target knows i have needs that i didn't even know i had. and it also knows that i'm cheap.

8. the ability to use my iphone
granted, i can only blame myself for not having a smartphone here in NZ.  but i'm just too cheap to pay $1000 for an additional iphone that is unlocked for this country, and i'm too lazy to track down some hacker who won't say my phone is "too hard" to unlock.  needless to say, i was quite happy to put down the zack morris talk piece for two weeks and get to know my trusty iphone again.

7. chik-fil-a and polynesian sauce
while most would probably just say "chik-fil-a," i feel that polynesian sauce deserves a little shout out here.  the jury's still out on whether or not this sauce is actually the sole reason for my love of this fast food joint.  either way, this chain earns a solid spot on the top ten list.

6. jif peanut butter and ritz crackers
again, this is another inseparable combo for me.  while i can actually get ritz crackers here in NZ, i can't get jif. and the peanut butter here is not the same choice of choosy moms.

5. hulu/pandora/spotify 
i came back to NZ with the good news that spotify will be launching here in two weeks (i actually cheered out loud).  until recently, however, these sites have been blocked in NZ as they are not available yet.  still desperately waiting on hulu, but hopefully spotify will get the ball rolling in this market and we'll see more streaming media sources soon.

4. iced coffee that doesn't come with ice cream
i believe i made a point about this earlier in this blog, so i won't go into too much detail, but man was it good to say "i'll have an iced coffee" with no special instructions and get exactly what i wanted.

3. reasonable prices
NZ is expensive. period.  it was great to finally be able to buy myself a coffee and a muffin in the US for well under $10 - an unfortunate anomaly here that i will likely not stop whining about.  and no i'm sorry i don't believe it has to do with things having to be shipped here (because even NZ made products are pricey) and no i'm sorry "if you use the currency conversion rate to change the price to US dollars it matches" is not an excuse when the people buying these products are making NZ dollars, not US dollars.  and that's my rant.

2. having 294793874983274982 tv channels to choose from at any time
oh how i missed having all the options we have on american television! in NZ, there are only a handful of tv networks, which means when there is "nothing on" there really is nothing on.  while i was home, however, it was comforting to flick on the tv knowing everytime that there would be something mildly watchable in that sea of 500+ channels.  or of course there was always hbo on demand to fall back on. sigh....

1. the extra convenience added to pretty much everything
i could probably make this a whole post on it's own, but when you're away from the US for a long time, you forget how convenient and easy life is there.  particularly for someone like me who is a single female, cooking/cleaning/doing everything for a party of one.  get off work late and need dinner in the US? no problem - just order some sushi to be delivered to you or go to the store and pick up a pre-grilled chicken breast.  get off work in NZ late and need dinner? it's either picking up a chicken breast and grilling it yourself or picking one up and kfc and suffering the consequential nausea.  ok maybe i'm being a tad dramatic, but i definitely took for granted the convenience that was at my fingertips for so long before i moved away.

so that pretty much sums up my new found respect and undying love for my country.  it's kind of nice to take a step back and realize what you have available to you, and really appreciate where you come from.

annnnnd since my return, this is an accurate of portrayal of what's been on replay in my head:

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