When I envisioned what I would eat during study abroad in Florence, I imagined delicious pizzas, delectable pasta dishes, and lots of wine. I definitely did not picture weekly McDonald’s trips that included french fries, cheeseburgers, and milkshakes (btw you have to try the McD’s shakes abroad-so good!).
Ever since watching Super Size Me in high school health class, I have religiously avoided McDonald’s. Something really disturbed me about how they unnaturally fattened up the animals and how those fries he kept in a jar on his kitchen counter mysteriously didn’t decompose for months. As a child who grew up with McDonald’s (remember when they had teenie beenie babies?!) I completely stopped going. I seriously didn’t touch the stuff for years.
Then all of a sudden, I’m getting off the train in Florence and I can smell the McDonald’s across from the station. I start thinking, “how convenient, how cheap, how tired I am, how late it is, how good it smells, how I don’t feel like cooking or buying food. Guess I’ll stop in, just once.” Woops, that started a trend for the semester! On a Sunday night when I got back from traveling, at the airport, at the train station, with friends in Prague, when I started to run out of money, when I just felt like one of those bomb milkshakes, McDonald’s was my go-to.
Yes, I had many fantastic authentic Italian dishes but I find it kind of funny that I re-embraced McDonald’s and fast food when I was abroad. It makes sense, the franchise is actually everywhere and its dirt cheap but since when is it okay that you can see a McDonald’s and the Pantheon at the same time? And should a corporation really be allowed to get that big? How is this affecting global health?
Sometimes I pondered these questions but usually I just downed my Happy Meal and milkshake and went on my merry study abroad way. Side note: Don’t judge, a Happy Meal is the way to go for a few reasons. 1. It seems to be less acceptable to super size outside of America. 2. It’s cheaper. 3. The food, the alcohol, and the serious lack of working out that comes with studying abroad will not lead your body in a good direction (so worth it though!). You probably will gain 5-10 or you will be paranoid about gaining 5-10…but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
Did any of you guys have this experience with fast food when you were abroad? What do you think about it?