The US holds a special place in my heart. Like most people over here, I grew up watching American tv shows like Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You see Chandler and Joey hanging out in Manhattan, sipping coffee, and you get a sense that America is cool. But this is not the America I know and love. I’ve never been to New York, I’m not particularly cool and hip, and I don’t even drink coffee.
I love the America where you can wear socks and sandals, khaki shorts and a fanny pack and it’s OK.
I’ve visited the US three times so far; twice in Minnesota (and surrounding states) visiting my lovely family and once on an awesome road trip with Frank through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. It’s amazing how similar, yet different the culture can be over there across the pond. Even your Chinese food is unique. I thought I knew it all from tv, but the culture shock was evident when I got there.
Europeans hear a lot about the US through the news, and as is the nature of news, much of it is negative. I’m not here to talk about any of that right now, there’s enough of that elsewhere. This is my love letter to you Americans and your crazy country.
I love your giant supermarkets and your amazingly ridiculous selection of cereals and sodas and cookies. I love how you confuse me with your polite “excuse me” when you walk by from over an arm’s distance away. I love how you think a hundred year old building is old. To the waiter who served me at Denny’s: thank you for giving me better service than I’ve ever had in fancy restaurants in my home country. The food was absolute horseshit, but that’s not your fault. You were fantastic.
I love the smell of Cinnabon at the mall. Thank you for macaroni and cheese, chicken fried steak and New York cheesecake, but not for boiled peanuts, which are nasty. Thank you for giving us Breaking Bad. I even had a good laugh about the highway billboards telling me that atheists are going to hell. I guess I’m going to hell, but at least you gave me a heads up.
And finally, I love your optimism. I’ll try my best to be more like that too.