What Living Away From America Taught Me About America
By Kaliwood on July 01, 2014
So the funny thing about living in Europe for four months, was the effect it had on my opinion of my country back home. While I appreciated and admired the history, architecture, customs, beauty, and people of all of the countries I visited, one of the biggest takeaways from my semester abroad was how happy I was to be an American.
The Palace at Versailles
I could write a ton of posts about Europe (and I did way back when) but with it being 4th of July week and the big USA game today, I wanted to talk about the ole' Red, White, and Blue.
After I got over the culture shock of packing up and moving across the pond to a country whose language I don't speak, I started to love the adventure of it. I got to visit many cities and countries, and had so many new experiences jam-packed into 120 days.
But for someone who has always lived in the same place, I started to realize that, deep down, I was less of an adventurer than I would have liked to admit. When it was time to go home, I was ready. I missed my family and friends, and most of all, I missed my comfort zone. I missed the familiar feeling of the house I grew up in, driving my car on familiar roads, and being on campus at UK.
Once you get back, you find that you reflect on your journey a LOT. And when I look back on those months after my return to the states, I remember using this phrase frequently, "I never use to think of myself as very patriotic. But living abroad for a time has made me so grateful to be an American."
The Louvre - France
I came back with a new appreciation for my home and for my country. I love that we don't have protests on a nearly daily basis that interrupts travel across the country. I love our fast-paced way of life where things get done quickly. I love that we have stores and restaurants open 24-7. I love that we get free refills on soft drinks, and that soft drinks always come with ice. I love that we eat ketchup with food items that are too good for ketchup.
I love that we are crazy about collegiate sports and that it gives us a loyalty to our institutions. I love that our grocery stores sell macaroni and cheese. I love that no matter where I go in the US, I can still mostly understand everyone. I love that we drive huge SUVs around, even though no one needs a vehicle that large. I love that we can use a public bathroom or a shopping cart without having to deposit a Euro. I love that we see elevators as a necessity in buildings with more than 2 floors.
For all of these downsides to Europe, there are pros, of course. (Our bread can't touch the always-fresh baguettes of the boulongerie. And their train system - genius.) I could write a whole post about all the categories in which Europe takes the cake. But for today, I'm happy to say that I'm 110% proud to be an American.
So let's celebrate this fabulous country we call home!
I'm excited for the game today. (We are going to the same bar we've been going to each game, and going to sit at the same table!) I'm also excited for the long weekend. I love the parties, the food, and most of all...the fireworks!
(One of my fav pictures I've taken!)
I hope everyone has a fabulous 4th of July!
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