I love almost everything about the United States.
I love how varied it is, how you have desert plains, tropical weather and snow-capped mountains all in the same country. How each of its coasts has its own culture. How its short history plays such a major role in the shape of today’s world. How everything happens there first: trends, movies, Apple products. How in parts of it you feel as if you’re walking around a gigantic movie set, how some of its landmarks are more familiar to you than the ones in your own country’s cities, how everything is bigger, better, brasher.
How two of my favorite places in the world – Kennedy Space Center and the town of Celebration, Florida – are there.
When I was seventeen, a friend of mine went to spend a summer with her sister in one of the Carolinas. She brought me back a large American flag she’d got on sale after the 4th, and I hung it proudly in my bedroom. She also brought me back a tube of cookie-dough: a wondrous, magical thing I’d thought only existed in sitcoms. I first visited the U.S. in 2002, landing in New York on the sixth month anniversary of 9/11, and was almost overwhelmed by 3-D Americana: Central Park, the Empire State Building, Dunkin’ Doughnuts. (This was before Ireland had a Starbucks or a Gap, I should add.) And when, in September 2006, the chance came for me to actually live there for a year and a half, I figured just waking up in the United States every morning would be happiness enough.
The one thing I don’t like about it is how now they’ll only let me stay there for 90 days at a time.
If anyone has some American citizenship lying around, send it my way won’t you?
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