Living in a foreign country makes you appreciate the things you took for granted in your home country.
For example, we used to expect all houses to have central heating and insulation and most to have central air conditioning. Now a warm house on a cold day has turned into a fond memory as we sit in our freezing apartment in the winter months of Japan.
We used to stand in a hot shower for as long as we wanted to, but now the fear of running out of kerosene to heat the water and having to walk 30 minutes to the port and carry 10 liters of kerosene all the way back cuts our shower times to a minimum.
We used to freely lounge around in our house at night, never checking all corners for giant bugs before entering a room, but now the fear of a poisonous centipede walking on our face at night has us huddled in a mesh tent after dark. ***three people we know have had a centipede crawl across their face at night***
We used to eat huge, thick, juicy pieces of steak whenever we wanted to, just pop on down to the store and a whole mess of meats were there for the buying. Now we savor even the thinnest, saddest looking piece of beef.
We used to be able to find almost any vegetable we needed at the grocery store. Now we cultivate our own squash, zucchini, artichokes, red onions, sugar snap peas, and bell peppers because we can’t buy them easily/at all.
We used to have hundreds of restaurants to choose from, thousands if we were willing to drive far away. Now we take trips to the mainland with nothing planned except eating at restaurants.
We found some Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts and Dad’s Root Beer at the foreign foods store during our trip to Matsue.
When we lived in the US, we could go down to the store at any time we wanted to (24 hour supermarkets galore) and buy these two items. Now that any brand of honey roasted peanut and root beer is hard to get, it makes them all the more delicious. Not having the things you’re used to at home can be tough, but it makes you appreciate those things you used to take for granted.
Living in Japan has afforded us very unique opportunities and experiences that we couldn’t have had anywhere else in the world. It has also made us a lot more humble and a lot more appreciative of the things we had in America. Hopefully this experience will cause us to not take even the smallest things for granted once we return to our home country.