America…What’s to Like?

I left Germany earlier and I’m now in France.  Being away from home reminds me of a recent online conversation I had with a friend who is relocating; she’s leaving the United States for the next few years.  Her impending departure got us talking; I’m relaying here what I said to her about what it feels like to leave this country and what there is to like enough to want to return.

Having lived in and having spent significant amounts of time in other countries, I can honestly say that I still believe America is an incredible nation.  Think about it: just the fact that we can complain about America openly shows that this country has something great that many other countries can’t come anywhere near.  We certainly have our problems and issues in the States but, no matter how ridiculous the political squabbling becomes, America has proven itself to be resilient and able to come through all of its in-fighting and pettiness a little bit stronger and with some of us wondering what was it that got us so worked up.

If we’re talking about aesthetic beauty and people want to learn about beautiful places to visit, I’d tell people to simply look around.  Folks should pay attention once in a while to the words “Oh beautiful for spacious skies and amber waves of grain…for purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain…”.  Maybe thinking about the song ‘America The Beautiful” sounds corny but I have travelled around the States and found that there are parts that are breathtakingly beautiful.  Venturing over to places like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming (to name a few) or, for those of us in New York City, taking a trip to upstate New York has amazed me with all of the beauty that can be found in state parks, the lakes and from mountains views.

When we watch the news it’s easy to think that nearly everything that is good has been damaged beyond repair and nothing but ugliness remains. That simply isn’t true.   I wasn’t born here but I do live here — and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m glad I wasn’t born in nor do I want to live in some other countries.  Screw political correctness:  being in a place where women are treated as something worse than second class citizens who are worthy of contempt —  or living in a country where speaking one’s mind is to risk health and safety is not how I want to live.  I don’t even want to think about how it’s customary to remove parts of women’s sexual organs in the name of ‘tradition’; for the record, I’m rather attached to everything I was born with, thank you very much.

My friends and I ‘joke’ and complain about being ‘volunteer corporate slaves’ but I often consider the fact that in some countries I’d have to take the words ‘volunteer’ and ‘corporate’ out of that complaint.  Yikes… We are far from perfect here but, especially in a pinch, we can find out that despite all of our issues, even more beautiful than any mountaintop are many of America’s people.

I love spending time abroad and I think everyone who is given the opportunity should travel and get to know other people and their cultures…but I still think that there’s no place like America.