It was my birthday.
Maybe my 24th or 25th birthday.
One of the two.
I got onto a purple bus departing from Cuatro Caminos metro in Mexico City with a Mexican gal I was dating named Brenda.
Once the bus took us to whatever part of the city nearby, she took me to some long sidewalk going up towards a plaza.
But before we could get to the plaza, she wanted to blindfold my eyes.
Then we proceed.
In the moment, I somehow kinda knew what I was going to see but it wasn't 100% obvious.
Once we got to the top to the plaza, she took the blindfold off.
Immediately, I see a Wendys in front of me.
Given I kinda half knew what the surprise was going to be for my birthday, I had built up the appropriate reaction before she took the blindfold off.
I immediately yelled out in the most exaggerated fashion....
While trying to make my face as red as possible from the yelling.
We had a good Wendys meal.
Soon after, we went to some jazz club called Zinco Jazz.
But what was the big deal about Wendys being so important?
Well, it reminds me of a similar moment when I was back in Ohio after taking a break from traveling South America.
Gas Station Tea
After taking a break from traveling South America, I went back to Ohio to finish my senior year of college.
However, I was leaving the airport after having finished whatever trip to wherever (I forgot -- could've been Iowa to see family, Europe, Dominican Republic or wherever I was that year).
Anyway, I'm leaving Columbus airport in Ohio.
My roommate at the time named Chris -- who was autistic as fuck and always ate with his mouth open -- was nice enough to pick me up from the airport if I bought him some beer (he wasn't 21 yet).
So I did.
Got into his car.
And, along the way back to the college dorm, we get to the gas station.
For whatever reason, I was stunned by something I saw.
Even though I shouldn't have been because it wasn't like I was away for a decade and I have seen this elsewhere in the midwest (including the small gas station near my parents house in Iowa).
That "surprising thing" being 99 cent iced tea at some random gas station.
And the size of the tea was HUGE for the price!
A full liter of tea for just 99 FUCKING CENTS!
Now, to be fair, yes Latin America can be cheap as fuck with many things.
But after spending a year away, I guess I was just SO FUCKING HAPPY to see so much iced tea available at such little cost!
In Latin America, they don't do non-sugar black iced tea specifically very well.
They just fucking don't.
Don't you fucking argue with me as some insecure little bitch from Latin America saying "NO MATTHEW NO WE DO HAVE IT!"
FUCK YOU NO YOU DON'T!
Trust me, I've been raised on non-sugar black iced tea.
I hunt it down.
I literally (no joke) drink 4 to 6 liters of it a day.
I know where the non sugar black iced tea of Latin America is and how to find it.
And I say that like a crack addict who claims to know where to find the best crack.
And you all don't have gas stations offering one liter of non sugar black iced tea for 99 cents.
It doesn't fucking exist.
One thing I'd LOVE to easily find down here but you all prefer your lipton tea or fuze tea.
Outside of going to the supermarket to buy bags of black tea, you typically might find it in a Starbucks or hot as fuck black tea offered in local cafes (remind them for the ice).
Anyway, it is what it is.
Another thing -- outside of Wendys -- that I miss from home.
That god damn 99 cent non sugar black iced tea in gas stations of Iowa and Ohio.
"Henry, Bring Back Milk!"
Above all, the point is this: when you move to another country, you sometimes miss the simple things from back home.
I was reminded of the topic when I was watching the movie Goodfellas where Henry is told to "bring back milk" by his immigrant mother who he claims was happy as fuck to find shit from Italy in America as you can see here.
And I always find that funny when I see that scene -- makes me think of the shit I miss from back home and know how she feels.
Obviously, those things might not exist down here or not exist in as high of abundance as they are back home.
Perhaps they have even been modified to the local tastes and aren't like how you enjoy them back home.
Those "things" you miss can be whatever!
It's different for everyone.
And so that's ultimately what this is all about.
Similar to how much I like Wendys and, despite Mexico City having a few, they just don't have that many.
In fact, the one Brenda found was located in some plaza in some obscure part of Mexico City that has no metro nearby.
So it literally is a pain in the ass to get to unless you live nearby.
They had another one on Reforma Avenue in 2017 when I first began living here but I was always basically the only one visiting and they soon shut down after a year or whatever of me first being here.
So it was nice to finally have some fucking Wendys.
Among other things I miss and don't always get as often when I'm abroad.
They can be and often are extremely basic shit that don't matter that much but are just so god damn nice to have.
But sometimes they can be big shit too!
Anyway, if you got anything to add or your own shit you miss when living abroad in Latin America or in any part of the world-- no matter how small or big it might be -- drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.