I am drooping like spinach in a frying pan right now due to jet lag… but I haven’t missed a single day of blogging since that night I was ill on Ko Phi Phi in Thailand, seven months ago (and before that, even longer) so the show will go on! Commitment feels good.
I am OVERJOYED to be back home in Boston with loved ones, after nine great months abroad. Now, as you already predicted would happen, you smart thing you, being away has given me rabid appreciation for things that I never noticed before in my natal country. Today let us examine two of them.
1.) America is great because it has abundant healthy food and drinks you can WALK with!
I have been told that eating while walking is extremely rude in other cultures and countries… but frankly, I don’t give a hoot. Striding while slurping is one of my favorite activities on earth. Full body eating! It’s life to the extreme.
America is the capital of eating on the move, and so healthy sandwich wraps and delicious iced coffee To Go cups abound, hallelujah! Alas, the rest of the world is the ANTI-capital of ambulatory eating. Boo! I spent some ridiculous hours in lovely Spain grumbling like a brat about how I wished I had a salad wrap to grasp but could find none. Spanish-style, four hour seated meals with friends are fantastic, but sometimes a gal’s gotta do food things quickly, alone, and with movement… and it’s even better if this can be done with minimal fried content.
The stereotype of Americans is that we’re lardos with hamburgers and hot dogs pouring, greasily, out of our ears. But after traveling around the world, I confidently declare: America has more fast, portable, healthy food options than anywhere else I’ve been!
2.) America is awesome because of its racial and ethnic diversity.
What a joy it was to get on the “T” today (Boston’s subway system… the oldest in America) and see a rainbow of hues and shapes! Listen: Continental Europe is getting increasingly diverse thanks to immigration, but to be honest, the majority of West African and Indian and North African immigrants I observed in Spain and Italy seemed to be employed in street sales of sunglasses and scarves rather than integrated into the fabric of society.
For sure, America has profound racial problems, but this country remains one of the best on earth at embracing EVERYONE, and encouraging advancement and integration. I always thought this cliche was a myth, but after looking around the globe, I’m proud to embrace it as true.
To summarize: from little things like salad wraps, to massive elements like multiculturalism, I love my country. Thanks, rest of the world, for teaching me this!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!