This is a paragraph I copied (with her permission) from my friend's blog. This is exactly how I feel, and I really can't say it any better:
'when B was in the states I had him pick up a few things for me and last night as he was unpacking I marveled at what he'd done. He drove a car to an all-purpose store- parked in a parking spot very close to the store. Walked in the store perhaps got a shopping cart w/o having to insert money - maybe even a shopping cart with a child basket and straps then he browsed the wide, well lit, organized aisles for the things he needed. He didn't even have to go up any escalators and when he couldn't find what he needed, he simply asked someone in English and the associate helped him. Then he checked out w/o having to pay for a bag to place his items in and walked casually out to his car or perhaps and even better pushed his cart out to his car, placed his items in and left w/o having to pay for parking! Amazing. I'm sorry I was almost flabbergasted at this thought when it hit me last night how easy it must have been for him. Don't get me wrong I am grateful for the chance we've had to live here and experience Taiwan and its nuances but it makes me grateful for America and really how easy our lives were there..."
Let me just add that since I don't have a car here, my shopping trips also include waiting for a cab on the street with all my purchases and a 200 pound 2 year old in my arms, then doing my best not to vomit from the stench inside the cab on the way home (usually garlic and pickles, but sometimes severe body odor and grease with an undertone of urine) and then having my purchases unloaded at the gate of our apartment, and having to carry them up a flight of stairs in several trips.
The wide open parking lots and shopping isles of the states is like a distant dream to me...