USA: 50 Things I Miss & Love

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AndyLouis - Certified Professional
Rank: Human | banana points 17,788

With all the negative light on our country this week I thought there would be no better time to get this post up. And also probably good to write all this before the election, and before I return to spend more time in the US.. So for simplicity sake I'm writing these in generalizations as obviously there are many exceptions. Yes I could definitely do a list of things I dislike / don't miss about the USA, but that's for another day mis queridos Yanquis...

I'm from Seattle, I've lived outside the US since 2010, I've traveled all over the world, I've lived 4.5 years in S.America (Buenos Aires), these are the things I miss and/or love (in no order:)

  1. baseball games, last summer i was home i just enjoyed sitting at a beautiful park watching some random tournament
  2. national parks (thank you Roosevelt) - WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY,
  3. geographic diversity, we are so lucky to have tropical beaches, the most beautiful mountains, the most beautiful rainforest (washington), glaciers,
  4. municipal parks & beaches are so nice & clean (in most places i've been)
  5. the melting pot of culture and diversity
  6. the food... pizza in chicago/nyc, new orleans cuisine, asian/seafood/coffee in seattle, memphis bbq (plenty of other great spots as well, i see you texas), santa fe cuisine, tex mex, cape cod lobster roll, american brunch & maple syrup, BACON,... and SO MANY MORE
  7. Microbreweries and wine country
  8. Things are organized, compared to most other countries i've spent time in (northern europe / parts of asia put us to shame in some regards to this)
  9. live entertainment events: festivals, comedy, theater, music, spoken word, open mics, list goes on and on
  10. ESPN, live sports and college football / nfl tail gating.
  11. silicon valley and all its innovations
  12. YOU HAVE A LOT MORE FREEDOM THAN YOU THINK YOU DO
  13. We encourage innovation, i'm so excited for the future of AI, Eddie is doing a great job of hitting on these topics
  14. The talent of our greatest minds: scientists, doctors, artists, entrepreneurs, financiers (WSO shout out!!!) etc
  15. the research being done by M.A.P.S. http://maps.org
  16. (for most people) we recycle, we compost, we don't litter, we pick up our dog's shit from the sidewalk
  17. The ease of being an entrepreneur (and starting your own business) compared to most other countries, trust me
  18. Most of our constitution. considering its age, it's still fairly relevant today
  19. FREEDOM OF SPEECH, underrated, e.g. comedians in canada can get arrested for things they say on stage...unbelievable, look it up
  20. not having the fear of being mugged and feeling safe traveling around town with my laptop, it's relatively safe here but it is possible at any time in any neighborhood. more likely here by motochorro (on a motorbike) or held up with a knife, rather than a gun. i've only been robbed once (toca madera), guy on a bike snatched it from behind while i had it out looking up directions on the sidewalk, 8pm, fairly safe neighborhood
  21. the gradual legalization of marijuana, what a drain on our police force it's been
  22. it's cheap and fun to be a consumer, it's almost like a sport. electronics, clothes, furniture, you name it...
  23. if I had a heart attack or similar serious emergency, there is no other country I would safer in
  24. (some cities/cultures more than others) our attitude to "be the best", i think it's one of our best (and worst) traits
  25. great dental care, girls here love my teeth, who wouldve thought. finally found a great private dentist here for cheap, but took awhile
  26. cheap domestic airfare
  27. the flow of money, you saw how big a factor this was during our recession, money NEEDS to be able to move, loans etc
  28. ease to get credit / loans, and credit unions
  29. we strive for equality, actual equality is so so complicated, but honestly i think we do a pretty good job compared to many countries, the USA is such large/diverse/complicated country, it's harder than we think, and sometimes we try too hard...
  30. online communities like WSO exist and thrive :-)
  31. property rights... you don't see many squatters in the US... i've heard stories of people buying property in costa rica but the government allowing squatters to remain on their property
  32. if you want to become a fat unhealthy f*** and eat fast food for every meal, you have the right to do it
  33. Burning Man and the Cacophony Society (they started burning man)
  34. the ease and access to find like minded individuals /groups. specific to me would love to find groups related to stand up, a baseball league, digital marketing, travel & more
  35. gas is cheap
  36. the effort and quality of our troops, police, firemen, national guard
  37. the effort and quality of our teachers
  38. freedom of religion, or to not be religious at all
  39. the ugrad college experience
  40. accessibility to use debit cards (or pay with your phone) in so many places... in argentina you have to pay for cash for almost everything, i HATE this
  41. the volunteer spirit, and the non-profits that actually help people and don't take a fat cut
  42. in general, most people are nice (to me at least!)
  43. higher speed wifi, particularly noticeable when uploading, streaming here is fine
  44. cheap rental cars, ROADTRIPS, highway 1 on the California coast ftw, and the accessability of our highways / interstates, and just driving in general (w/out traffic)
  45. our support for alternative lifestyles
  46. small town usa "americana"
  47. our support of the arts
  48. west coast sunsets
  49. summer in June-Sept and winter Dec-February (it really does f with my equilibrium)
  50. the power of a USA passport (i expand more on this in the comments)
  51. somewhat related to this, (and yes sadly a big part of this is because I am blonde with blue eyes), is the trust I immediately receive from people here because they know I am a foreigner from either North America or Northern Europe. Not to mention Argentines love asking me questions about the US, many love our culture/music/movies/tv shows, ask if Halloween parties are just like what they see in the movies, ask if I know their cousin in Miami, etc etc -it's a great conversation starter / ice breaker
  52. Canada and Mexico are our friendly neighbors, Montreal/Vancouver are incredible and I may even move to Guadalajara...
  53. the quality of entertainment produced by the hollywood / the entertainment industry (tv/movies/video games etc)
  54. New York City, but only as a tourist
  55. American confidence, gets us in trouble a lot though...
  56. i truly believe, for most people, IF you are hard working and intelligent, you will have the opportunity to be successful
  57. our minimum infrastructure, in most places. through my travels around the world i've seen the poorest of poor, the most broken down shanty towns, the hungriest of the hungry...and nothing i've seen in the USA compares
  58. (This one is difficult to explain but bear with me) The "american dream" does still exist in some form, in the sense that I am lucky enough and have the freedom to live my "american dream" of being an american living abroad... to earn dollars, to return whenever I want, to have the strong network of other expat Americans.
  59. Lastly, for now, I'm still optimistic about our country... but haha I haven't read @Eddie Bravermans latest post yet ("America: We Had a Good Run"), nor have spent much time there for awhile... I'll be back next year though!

a couple trends I notice in this list
-i was lucky to grow up in progressive/clean/beautiful seattle
-i love sports
-american consumerism
-USA is a diverse, complicated country with a large population, IT'S DIFFICULT TO MANAGE

More to come as I get inspired, (or some to remove as I get corrected ;-).

Feel free to add your own...

Comments (53)

Best Response
Nov 8, 2016

51. In-N-Out

    • 13
    • 1
Nov 8, 2016

Dammit, I went to TX over the summer and wanted to get some but never got the chance. My mouth foams at the thought of animal fries.

"This world, it is a tempest sometimes. But remember, the sun always rises again."
-- Brandon Sanderson

Nov 8, 2016

From TX, never heard of in & out until last summer when I moved to Dallas. Still haven't had it.

Nov 8, 2016

we all know whataburger is the king in TX

    • 2
Nov 11, 2016

truth.

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Nov 8, 2016

IN N OUT IS SO OVER HYPED THO
-Oregonian, tried IN N OUT maaaaaaaaaany many times.

    • 2
    • 3
Nov 13, 2016

still only had it once in my life in SLC

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 8, 2016

That's what America is all about!

How is my grammar? Drop me a note with any errors you see!

Nov 8, 2016

52. Can own one gun or seventeen

    • 2
Nov 13, 2016

no idea what you're talking about

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 8, 2016

think he meant to say "own" not "one" as in "own one gun or seventeen"

Nov 8, 2016

Fixed it. My bad

Nov 8, 2016

bump

Nov 8, 2016

bravo Andy, this is timely.

53: we have the best capital markets system in the world, this is taken for granted I believe.

    • 1
Nov 13, 2016

thanks man

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Nov 8, 2016

+SB

Replying just to thank you for putting your background in bold. Your background is the first thing I looked for, haha.

Nov 13, 2016

thanks, yeah thought was important, obviously my perspective is going to be quite different than most.

i've been to the usa as a tourist during the last 6 years. much of what i have written may just be memories now... i'll be spending at least a few months there next year and will really get to experience more of the culture (i feel like an outsider now), i'm excited (and nervous) to see how much has changed

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 8, 2016

As someone who was born abroad, albeit in a Western European country, I personally think that what you say is fairly accurate.

Nov 8, 2016

@AndyLouis can you comment more on # 43 The Power of a U.S. Passport?

...

Nov 13, 2016

good question, i meant in the sense that it's quite easy (relative to travelers from many other countries) to obtain a Visa if necessary

what else.. customs/immigrations are much easier/trusting of USA travelers, from my experience at least. i've been roughed up coming back much more than traveling around

i'll think of more and i'm sure you may have a couple thoughts

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 8, 2016

While I don't necessarily disagree with you on ease of obtaining a Visa, I will say that I do believe the holy grail of passports is most likely the UK. My dad has dual citizenship with the US & UK, and his ease of travel on the UK passport is quite obvious.

...

Nov 8, 2016

54. monster truck rallies

Nov 8, 2016

Why did you move to Argentina anyway?

Nov 13, 2016

was gunning for Spain in 2007ish but then the recession hit, so stayed in the US for a few more years. I wanted to live in Europe, and Buenos Aires has that feel since there are so many Italian/Spanish immigrant familes here mixed with beautiful Parisian architecture, cafe culture, etc. Additionally:
-it's VERY easy to stay here on a tourist Visa (i'm still on one), though they've tightened up restrictions a bit
-it used to be very cheap if you had access to dollars, before Macri was elected when dollars were restricted, bad for Argentines, good for foreigners. Now the exchange rate is just a bit above where it was 2 years ago while we've had 30% inflation per year... big reason i'm moving
-the people have been so kind to me, and the expat community is strong, + the community of people like me (working online earning foreign currency) is a great network
-the women are stunningly beautiful, words can't express
i don't get homesick here like i would imagine i might in other latin american countries
-it's FUN, so many times where you would never know where the night would take you
-modern enough, but still has a very "vintage" feel, which I enjoy
-one of the most diverse cities in s.america
-so many activities going on here in regards to the arts, sports, expat meet ups, language exchanges, etc
-spring and fall are perfect here, winter doesnt typically get colder than 50 during the day, summer can be rough but as long as you have access to a pool you're fine
-it's relatively safe compared to many places in latin america
-Argentina is a VERY underrated country in terms of travel. Mendoza for wine country, Calafate for Perito Moreno glacier and straight to the west is Torres del Paine national Park, what you think of when you imagine Patagonia, ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, Bariloche (northern Patagonia) is really pleasant, Iguazu falls in the north - one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, ocean is 5 hours away, + easy access to Uruguay (by boat / plane), 3 hour flight to Rio, and though the flights can be expensive, it's a good base to travel to other spots in the lower half of s.america (peru / anywhere in brazil / bolivia)

Plenty of downsides, like any place, but it's really been a magical place for me

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 4
Nov 11, 2016

every time I here Argentina I think of the Libertad... Paul Singer is an OG

http://www.businessinsider.com/hedge-fund-elliott-...

Nov 8, 2016

Didn't know that you live in Buenos Aires. Thats awesome, my grandmother lives near Don Torcuato which is like an hour away.

Nov 13, 2016

oh wow, never been, but I see San Isidro is very close, been there many times

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 11, 2016

I have the sneaky suspicion Green is trying to set Andy up with his grandmother .. don't knock it till you try it

Nov 8, 2016

Climate! You can go north if you want cold, and you can go south if you want to fry your balls off. And some places get the best of both worlds.

    • 1
Nov 8, 2016

55: Relatively clean bathrooms in most places you go. Believe me, we take this for granted. As well as toilet seats. You ever seen the squatter toilets they have in Asia, Africa, parts of Europe, etc.? They are not fun and your knees take a beating.

    • 2
Nov 8, 2016
Mark Hanna:

#55: Relatively clean bathrooms in most places you go. Believe me, we take this for granted. As well as toilet seats. You ever seen the squatter toilets they have in Asia, Africa, parts of Europe, etc.? They are not fun and your knees take a beating.

The "splashback" part has my sides hurting.

Nov 8, 2016
Mark Hanna:

#55: Relatively clean bathrooms in most places you go. Believe me, we take this for granted. As well as toilet seats. You ever seen the squatter toilets they have in Asia, Africa, parts of Europe, etc.? They are not fun and your knees take a beating.

F*cking this.

Nov 8, 2016

Great post @AndyLouis...definitely needed this today. Made this expat a bit homesick and crave a NYC pizza.

Nov 8, 2016

Burning Man.

    • 1
Nov 13, 2016

thanks adding this to the list

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 8, 2016

Good post. Having lived outside of the US for a good bit, I agree on most things.

Except:
"Canada and Mexico are our friendly neighbors, Montreal/Vancouver are incredible and I may even move to Guadalajara..."

I don't know about that one. Been there and it's dangerous as hell.

Nov 13, 2016

your idea of dangerous and my idea of dangerous are probably completely different. i'm sure it's no worse then places i've been in brazil or colombia

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Nov 8, 2016

Ehhh, I've been to a lot of crapholes. And you're right that Guadalajara is probably no worse (or even better) than some places in Brazil and Colombia. I wouldn't settle there either though.

Anyway. Good post.

Nov 13, 2016

can you give me some more specifics on it being "dangerous as hell" ? what you heard / saw?

talked to people that have been there recently and said that it's fine and as long as you're in the right neighborhood you're fine, just like any other big city in latin america. Medellin would be my other option, and this is definitely the case.

in my spectrum, Venezuela currently is "dangerous as hell", but would still go if I were with a local and avoid Caracas.

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 17, 2016

Not dangerous by any standard (especially for Latin America). There are a bunch of big U.S. cities that are more dangerous than Guadalajara.

    • 1
Nov 8, 2016

memba the 80's?

    • 1
Nov 8, 2016

Memba Luke? Oh, memba chewbacca?

Nov 8, 2016

Ohhhhh I memba!

    • 1
Nov 13, 2016

Shut up Mimsyyy!

Nov 8, 2016

i second the consumerism part. I hate myself for it but I absolutely love buying stuff. I get so into it in terms of research, customer loyalty, and so on. It's so pathetic but I just feel so accomplished after I make a good purchase that is useful. For instance I have some expensive Patagonia stuff that I bought upwards of six years ago and it still functions flawlessly, and every time i wear it i am so happy that i bought it.

    • 1
Nov 8, 2016

Fuck, I'm craving for some cornbread and Memphis BBQ.

    • 1
Nov 13, 2016

yeah i forgot to mention cornbread...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 11, 2016

I started to enjoy your list but then came across "so cal tex mex". Let's all stop and let that sink in a little bit . . .

I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

Nov 13, 2016

Hahaha, was thinking about that at the gym today, meant to just say "tex mex", will update

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Nov 11, 2016

you could (should?) have meant both. There's some great Mexican food in SoCal and you can't find that in most foreign countries. Best of luck in your travels.

Nov 13, 2016

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 13, 2016

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin