The patriotic ‘MURICA frenzy that this time of year always whips up is quickly getting on my nerves. I love our country just as much as the next person but I can only take so much red, white, and blue, beating our chests, hooray for the founding fathers, firetrucks and tractors, backyard barbeque turmoil. All of a sudden its like everyone in the country fought the American Revolution themselves. Rather than pump out just another ra-ra-ra-America post I decided to take a different angle. This time of year always makes me miss my time in Europe (the reserved, tea-drinking Brits would be a welcome change from the 4th of July crazies right now) but while in Europe there were things I missed about the US (incredibly enough). Though I don’t like to admit it, there are some things that the US does better than Europe so good on you America and happy birthday.
1. Free, Unlimited, Slightly Disgusting Coffee Most likely one of the things Americans take for granted the most is our twenty four hour diners. It really doesn’t get more quintessentially American than breakfast food at a counter at two in the morning with a waitress constantly refilling your coffee mug with stale, watery coffee. I never really was a fan before Engalnd but there are some days when you just need to drink coffee until you’re vibrating and eat pancakes until you just can’t eat anymore and what else would college students do with all that time we have to fill after midnight? It’s much too early to go to bed and there’s nothing better than going out for a meal with your friends on a Tuesday just because. American diners will always hold a warm, fuzzy place in my heart from now on. So pull up a chair, grab a mug, and celebrate what it is to be truly American.
2. An Appreciation of Sports other than Football (not the American kind) I feel like this one is sacrilege after all the World Cup hype but I’ve never been a one sport girl. Baseball, American football, hockey, volleyball, swimming…I love them all. My favorite time of year is when baseball and football season overlap briefly. The only language Europeans know how to speak is football. The only time I heard my two male British roommates mention anything other than football was while the Rugby World Cup was on. There’s nothing that beats baseball on a hot summer afternoon, football on a crisp fall night (or during a blizzard if you’re a Buffalo fan), casual backyard basketball, beach volleyball… Let it never be said that America isn’t fanatic about sports! And I say, the more the merrier.
3. Portions of Epic Sizes The people of Europe love to make fun of us for how much we eat…which we rightly deserve. America loves to eat and we have perfected the art. From food challenges at restaurants to food TV shows to food on wheels we have done it all. Though Europe may be able to boast better food, higher quality food, and more authentic ethnic food we most definitely are champions of more food. Sometimes you just want to pig out and eat until you drift into a slightly uncomfortable but epitome of happiness food coma.
4. Shamrock Shakes Need I say more? They’re delicious and we can’t get enough of them. However, Europe does not know the magic that is Shamrock Shakes.
5. Free Restrooms and Free WiFi Yup, never take free restrooms or wifi for granted again. In Europe you have to pay to use most bathrooms and to use the wifi. ALWAYS keep extra change on you because you never know when you’re going to need an emergency pee or an emergency google maps check.
6. Grocery Stores More Magical Then Disney World So perhaps it is because I now live in Rochester and every Rochesterian must have an obsession with Wegmans but the grocery stores of Europe do not measure up. I think the pictures will do all the explaining.
8. Blue Jeans The people of Europe just do not appreciate good denim like we do but the American love affair with denim has been long and loyal. No one makes jeans like we do and no one looks good in jeans like we do. If you every travel abroad, take your Levis with you. You will be instantly identifiable as American and most likely derided as a cowboy but what would any American be without blue jeans?
9. Summer – America Style We most definitely take the cake for this one. From street festivals to food trucks to baseball games to fairs to road trips to hiking trips to fireworks to hot dog eating contests we’ve got it all. Europe may be all about fancy trips to the beaches of France and the Maghreb but we’ve got the good old fashioned summer covered. So grab an ice cream, throw on your cutoff shorts, and head over the county fair for the biggest dose of American culture to be found. Enjoy your 4th and enjoy everything it means to be quintessentially American!