Things I like about the country I live in

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:

  1. 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.
    1. (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.)
  2. Not getting hit with ATM fees when I withdraw money.
  3. Cell phone service. Everywhere.
  4. Fast coffee. I love the café culture in other parts of the world, but sometimes I just need to caffeinate and go.
  5. Big coffee. 4 oz isn’t enough.
  6. 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.
  7. The relative absence of cigarette smoke in public places.
  8. Shop tenders and other service sector agents who smile and greet you in the store, even if they don’t offer you tea.
  9. Freedom of religion and conscience.
  10. Universities. Really, really good ones. With lots people who think, and who enjoy thinking, especially thinking for the sake of thinking.
  11. Nature. Goodness. Our country connects two oceans. Please don’t come to visit America for the cities—go see the land.
  12. Creativity. Not all of it is good, but the scope of American creativity blows me away sometimes, for better or for worse.
  13. The idea of the bucket list.
  14. Freedom of expression, ideation, and thought. Freedom to be wrong. Maybe those are two things.
  15. 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.
  16. Diversity. Other countries are catching up, but nonetheless.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. This particular sight: Tractor

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?


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