Preface to this post: I was digging around in my files this morning and came across a list I put together almost exactly a year ago of things I like about the country I live in. At the time, I was about six months’ returned from Spain and on my way back from yoga when a few things came to mind, but somehow I never got around to posting it and I thought the New Year might be an appropriate time to try again. I’ve updated it a bit, too, to reflect current events. Anyway, happy New Year!
This time last year, I was in the middle of a trek across Central Europe that would take me through seven countries in just under three weeks. Instead of lamenting the fact I’m not travelling the world right now, though, I thought I would make a list of things I like about America (in this case meaning the United States). Not all of these are exclusive properties of here, of course, they’re just things that come to mind:
- Speaking English. I’m sorry if it’s not politically correct, but I just can’t express myself the same way in my second language. Not having my sarcasm when I speak is like missing my left hand.
- (Plus, English is so cool. No it doesn’t follow its own rules, but it’s incredibly creative. And I have a bone to pick with detractors who say agglutinate languages have more words. Anyway.)
- Not getting hit with ATM fees when I withdraw money.
- Cell phone service. Everywhere.
- Fast coffee. I love the café culture in other parts of the world, but sometimes I just need to caffeinate and go.
- Big coffee. 4 oz isn’t enough.
- Large vehicles. They might not get good gas mileage, but at least the possibility exists that you and your seven best friends can all fit legally in one car.
- The relative absence of cigarette smoke in public places.
- Shop tenders and other service sector agents who smile and greet you in the store, even if they don’t offer you tea.
- Freedom of religion and conscience.
- Universities. Really, really good ones. With lots people who think, and who enjoy thinking, especially thinking for the sake of thinking.
- Nature. Goodness. Our country connects two oceans. Please don’t come to visit America for the cities—go see the land.
- Creativity. Not all of it is good, but the scope of American creativity blows me away sometimes, for better or for worse.
- The idea of the bucket list.
- Freedom of expression, ideation, and thought. Freedom to be wrong. Maybe those are two things.
- Being relatively safe. Current wave of protests aside, if you think the Ferguson-related stuff is dangerous try going to a political protest in Ukraine.
- Diversity. Other countries are catching up, but nonetheless.
- Church culture. Now, I know I gripe about this sometimes. But really – I love the fact that it’s not just a place to go on Sundays.
- Being accepted as a Christian. The challenge of forming Christian community in a spiritual desert can be very rewarding, but the fact Christianity is still more or less accepted in this country (for now) is definitely not something to take for granted.
- The smell of cut grass. Hear me out: I’ve been to 18 countries and lived in 3, and I can tell you conclusively that in my experience the concept of a front lawn is distinctly American. And there is almost nothing sweeter to me than strolling down a sidewalk with my husband after people have mowed their lawns.
- This particular sight:
That’s all I can think of for now. If I’ve missed anything, you have a bone to pick, anything, let me know in the comments?