My Newly Found Appreciation for the U.S.

There’s no place like home. Dorothy couldn’t have said it any better. I didn’t think I’d miss the United States at all when getting ready to leave for Europe. I was ready for an adventure. I was ready to embrace a new culture, new language, new food, new people, and overall new surroundings. In fact, I had been itching to leave my hometown and the United States for quite some time. This is a feeling that goes way back, even to middle school. However, as time went by while being away, I started to change how I viewed the U.S. It’s kind of like how you can spend too much time with a person and you don’t start to realize how much you miss them until you are apart from them for some time. Just like traveling has given me a new appreciation for the English language, traveling has also given me a new appreciation for the States.

I do not miss fast food. I do not miss speaking English all the time, because I still have opportunities to do that abroad whether I want to or not. Of course I miss my friends and family, but this appreciation for home goes beyond friends and family.

Going abroad has made me want to travel around the country. I had done some traveling along the East Coast before going to Europe. The United States is huge. It is a lot more difficult and expensive to travel to different states than it is to travel around Europe. Let’s take Pennsylvania for instance. You can drive five hours across the state and still be in the same state. When I recently went to Ireland, I took a three-hour bus ride across the country.

Throughout these past two semesters, I have gotten to see many different cities in Spain and France as well as do some traveling to other countries. Last semester, I went on a trip every single weekend whether it was just a day trip or a weekend trip. It was such a neat experience to visit the places I have been to, but the more I talk to Europeans, the more I realize that they have seen places in the United States that I have never been to. I’m talking about Chicago, California, and more. When I go back home, I would really like to see more of the country that I come from.

One thing I miss about the U.S. are waiters. Waiters have name tags and you don’t have to call them over every time you want a refill, or to order, or to ask for the bill. While Europeans tend to find American dining services to be annoying, I like not having to try to get somebody’s attention every ten minutes.

Another thing I miss are free public restrooms. This could be a little deceiving because not all public restrooms are free in the United States. It’s nice to be able to walk into a department store or a Best Buy and just go to the back and use their bathroom when the time comes. Unfortunately, in Europe you have to pay. I have had to pay in stores, airports, and train and bus stations. They don’t make you pay a lot but you will find it adds up if you drink too much water.

In less than three weeks I will return to the USA. I know for sure I will miss some things about Europe, just as I miss some aspects of the U.S. One thing I can say for sure is that these past two semesters taught me to appreciate what I had, what I have, and what I will have.

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