"America's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness,
is our belief in second chances, our belief that we can always start over,
that things can be made better."
Happy Fourth of July, America! Today my country will be celebrating the day it received its independence with barbeques, picnics, red-white-and-blue, fireworks, and a lot of patriotism. I know a lot of people around the world have mixed feelings about the U.S.A. and I completely understand why they would. No place is perfect, no country or leader makes all of the right decisions or does everything right. As James T. Farrell put it, "America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true." There is probably truth in both the good and the bad views of America, but, regardless of the rights and wrongs of this country, it's been a great place for me to live. So today I'm celebrating my freedom and all of the things I think are so great about living in America. Here are a few of my favorite things...
- Soaking up sunshine and spotting celebrities in Hollywood
- Listening to songs inspired by different parts of the country
- Tumbleweeds and cacti in the Southwest
- T-shirts and blue jeans and flip-flops
- The wildness (and strength) of the people of New Orleans
- Everything made by Steve Jobs (yes, I'm an avid Apple fan)
- Ever-increasing vegetarian options (even BK has a veggie burger!)
- Buffalo roaming across open plains (cliche? yes. awesome? definitely)
- Thanksgiving -- a whole day set aside for being grateful
- The music and art scene in Austin, TX
- Seeing a musical production on Broadway in NYC
- The words of amazing American writers (too many to even name!)
- Google, Tumblr, Twitter all other sites that keep productivity low
- DC's National Christmas tree and NYC's Rockefeller Christmas tree
- The Super Bowl (okay, it's really just the commercials I like)
- Seeing movies first (why does it take so long to get them abroad?)
- Sleigh rides in winter and hayrides in autumn
- The trashy, flashy lights of Las Vegas
- Oreos (if you believe the commercial, they're America's favorite)
- Festivities and fireworks on the Fourth of July
- Bagels, pizza, and black-and-white cookies from NYC
- The crazy up and down hills of San Francisco
- Playing a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat game of Scrabble
- The changing of seasons (especially on the East Coast!)
- The Washington, DC monuments lit up at night
- Watching the ball fall on New Year's Eve in Times Square
- Award shows: we honor (and later bash the fashion of) celebrities
- All of the various accents and cultures (think: Jerseyshore vs. the South)
- Cruising down Route 10 on cross country road trips
- The great vastness of the San Diego zoo
- Snacking on seaside salt water taffy and fudge (Candy Kitchen!!)
- Disney movies, Disney TV, Disneyland
- American cowboys -- not sure why, but they just seem so cool
- Lounging poolside in my red and white striped bikini (yay, July 4th!)
There are a great many things to love about America and, though at times I've let my mind wander to the idea of packing it all up and moving to a new and exotic country, I'm happy to be here in this place where so many different cultures swirl together, a place that is still relatively new and striving to stay in the good graces of the rest of the world. It's odd to think that, of all the places I could have been born, this is where I came to be. But, as Aurora Raigne once said -- and I wholeheartedly agree with -- "America, for me, has been the pursuit and catching of happiness."
If you live in America, what do you love about it here?
If you live in another country, what about that place do you love?