You can go home again: Pt. 1

I’ve officially been back on US soil for two weeks. It’s been pretty surreal. Like everything here feels the same yet it can’t possibly be.

Regardless, it’s good to be home.

A couple of people have accused me of being anti-American since spending so much time abroad. This would not be surprising because frankly I endured a lot of America-bashing and as I’m sure is obvious, I fell in love with Europe.

Yes, I have become more aware of problems that exist in America since being displaced, including obesity, waste, and gun control. However, being so far away ultimately gave me a lot more confidence in saying that the USA is in fact the best country in the entire world.

Here’s a few of the many things I missed when I was away from home:

  1. Pride: Americans love being American. More so than any other nationality that I’ve ever encountered. There are American flags EVERYWHERE. Independence Day preparation had already begun when my feet hit American soil in early June. Being American is a blessing, and everyone here knows it.
    1. My pets: I think I spent more time FaceTiming my pets than I did my parents, to be honest. On most days I like animals more than I like people so it was tough to spend a semester merely admiring other people’s dogs. On several occasions I had to resist the urge to snatch a sweater-clad pug off the sidewalk and run away because I missed this cutie so much:
      IMG_2744Now every morning when my obnoxious, senile cat wakes me up by meowing kibble-breath into my face, I remember those five long, pawless months and resist the urge to push him off the bed.  12828559_10208475839195646_9222731178017058388_o
  2. Smoke-free air- Europeans smoke. A lot. It felt like a couple of my coworkers spent more time outside smoking than they did in the office. Enough people asked me for a light that it’s one of the few French phrases I know. Now whenever I smell smoke I enjoy the nostalgia but certainly don’t miss the carcinogens.
  1. FREE WATER- Can someone please explain to me why it was impossible to get tap water at European restaurants? I don’t get it. Is it an environmental thing? A fiscal thing? I was dehydrated for quite literally the entire time I was there despite carrying a water bottle everywhere. Now that I’m home, I instinctively still fill up my water bottle in the bathroom sink at work instead of going to the cooler. Maybe that’s weird?
  2. FREE BATHROOMS- I was getting pretty tired of shelling out a euro every time I needed to relieve myself at a public venue. I think it’d be much more of a nuisance if I urinated on the floor of your establishment without paying, idk (sorry for the vulgarity, just keeping it real).
  3. Looking like a scrub in public- Compared to the stylish European masses, I felt like I belonged in a dumpster whenever I wore a T-shirt outside my apartment in Brussels. Now when I want to make a Wal Mart run I feel perfectly comfortable in Nike shorts and an oversized tank that says “Camo: America’s Away Colors” (yes I own this tank).
  4. Food Network- Chopped, DDD, Barefoot Contessa, need I say more?
  5. My people- Home is where the heart is, and my heart was always back here on American soil with all the people I love.

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